Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Prepared for the Next War? U.S. Attachés Reports, Military Innovation and the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War was a theatre of political tension where democracy, communism, and fascism clashed during the interwar period, starting in July 1936 and ending in April 1939. The war defied the traditional concept of a civil war as Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union became involved. All three saw Spain as a testing ground for new military technologies. Meanwhile the United States government stayed steadfast in its isolationist approach to foreign conflict and sent no aid to either side. American military attachés, who are military observers to foreign nations, in Spain witnessed the ongoing conflict, creating detailed reports of their observations before, during, and after the war. This thesis argues that the reports, which contained valuable information regarding military technology and doctrine, had little impact on American military innovation during the interwar period. This was due to both politically dictated neglect and doctrine prejudice regarding European conflicts. Based on the attaché reports, this thesis will explain what Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union learned about aviation, tanks, and artillery from their participation in Spain. This will be contrasted with the state of the United States’ military at the same time to demonstrate not only the little impact the attaché reports had on the trajectory of the American military, but how the military lagged behind those in Spain upon the beginning of the Second World War. Author Keywords: American military attachés, Germany, Italy, Military Intelligence Division, Soviet Union, Spanish Civil War

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