ERIC Number: ED223823
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Perspectives in the History of Military Education and Professionalism. The Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History, Number Twenty-two.
Preston, Richard A.
Military professionalism began developing with the creation of professional officer corps in Prussia, France, and Britain during the 19th century. Prussia had a system that focused on practical military qualifications and promoted social discrimination. In contrast, the French system placed heavy emphasis on competition and had officials that recruited more widely. A noticeable difference from Prussian military education was that the education virtually ended when one was commissioned. Lacking the impetus for chanqe (the Revolution in France and Prussian military disasters in the Napoleonic wars), Britain retained its 18th century military system longer. Officer production was built around the concept that military leadership naturally developed from social status. Only in the second half of the 19th century was the purchase system abolished. Discrimination in favor of the classes continued, since only the upper classes could afford to keep sons in schools when the entrance age to military academies was raised. Acceleration in the rate of technological and social change in the 20th century complicated the fundamental problems that 19th century military educators never completely solved. American academies have taken steps to improve the quality and to eliminate discrimination. They have maintained the principle of a common pre-commissioning education and have introduced specialization in the sciences and social and humanistic studies. (YLB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.
Identifiers: Military History
Note: Some of the research for this paper was made possible by a Nuffield Foundation Summer Travel Grant.