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The war reinforced the national mobilisation, resource-based approach to warfare as the US command relied upon tons of munitions ‘to compensate for the enemy’s superiority in manpower and to hold down its loses’,85 To counter the entry of the Chinese, and its ability to mobilise more people to fight, the US relied upon its advantage in monies and material to substitute for the lack of numbers. It was an approach that brought the war to a stalemate, but fulfilled its aim of stopping the incursion of communism into the south of the country.

Mobilisation, as with the militia tradition it came from, explicitly linked the use of the Army to the wider society, which meant that the nation’s interests had to be at stake for the Army to be used. Therefore, the use of the Army coincided with the activation of the resources and technology of the nation to prosecute the war. 50 As the contemporary journalist and historian Chester Wilmot put it, during the war Americans ‘proceeded on the theory that, if they made their military machine big enough, they could drive it where they willed.

31 The air campaign against the North is the clearest example of the policy of escalation and its weaknesses. 32 The difficulty for the US was that for the North the war was a war of nationalism, not a limited war, and thus the break in the bombing did not make it reconsider its position and open negotiations. It shored up its position instead. 33 The US was not able to escalate the costs high enough. 34 However, whilst bargaining with air power the administration had to address the military problems on the ground in the South.

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