Michael Depp

Date of Award


First Advisor

Nancy Yanoshak

Second Advisor

Walter Mead


My thesis is an exploration of the term modern warfare through the use of the specific example of the Second World War. I posit that this war is the archetypal modern war and therefore it can be used to glean its most important aspects and in turn provide a definition for the term. My work builds heavily on the thought of Quincy Wright, who attempted a similar project on the eve of the war. He believed that distinction between premodern and modern conflicts could be broken down into six component parts: mechanization, increased size of armies, militarization of the populace, nationalization of the war effort, total war, and intensification of military operations. In my thesis I reorder these into a hierarchy, to provide a more comprehensive way of looking at conflicts, and update them slightly to fit new realities. I also attempt to show that military maneuvers are subordinate to political affairs as a result of this new order, which should be reflected in any thought on the subject of warfare. The thesis then wraps up with battle studies to showcase the manner in which all of these components fit together into a framework of modern warfare, with nationalization, which I placed at the top of the hierarchy, as the defining feature of the term.

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