Gold, Blood, and Power: Finance and War Through the Ages

Gold, Blood, and Power: Finance and War Through the Ages
Gold, Blood, and Power: Finance and War Through the Ages
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This monograph presents a survey of the crucial link between state (national) power, finance, and the capacity to wage war from the ancient era through to the present day.  As such, it demonstrates the crucial importance of economic power as the basic underpinning of all strategic considerations and plans. Embedded within this survey, Dr. Lacey provides in-depth case studies that present new debate-sparking insights, such as:

  • how a military Lilliputian such as Greece defeated the might of the Persian Empire;
  • how Rome’s decision to defeat the Huns proved to be an epic strategic blunder;
  • how Britain’s preparations for hugely increased social spending helped win World War I; and
  • how the Federal Reserve’s inexhaustible money spigot turned the tide of World War II.

This publication concludes with some thoughts about the potential problems the United States will face in financing military power in the first-half of the 21st century, as well as the prospects for funding a major increase in military spending in the event of a future military crisis. The Strategic Studies Institute hopes this historical survey will draw attention to an aspect of military power that is too often neglected.


JAMES LACEY is the Professor of Strategy at the Marine Corps War College. Prior to that, he was a widely published senior analyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, DC. He also teaches graduate level courses in Military History and Global Issues at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. Mr. Lacey has written extensively for many other magazines, and his opinion columns have been published in National Review, The Weekly Standard, the New York Post, the New York Sun, Foreign Affairs, and many other publications. He is also regularly published in Military History Magazine, Military History Quarterly, and the Journal of Military History. He is the author of Moment of Battle (Bantam), The First Clash (Bantam), Takedown: The 3rd Infantry Division’s 21-Day Assault on Baghdad (Naval Institute Press), Pershing (Palgrave-Macmillan), The Making of Peace (Cambridge University Press), The Making of Grand Strategy (Cambridge University Press), and Keep from All Thoughtful Men (USNI, 2010).  Mr. Lacey also has a trilogy of works on global terrorism published in 2008 (Naval Institute Press). He is currently working on a book about the relationship between President Franklin Roosevelt, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the War Cabinet during World War II.


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Today’s military strategists, policymakers, and Federal financial managers may benefit from this historical resource about funding war, national disasters, and international conflicts.  Military historians, military personnel, and veterans may also have an interest in this work.   Additionally, students preparing assignments for global issues, war and politics, military science, international security, and public finance coursework may find this monograph helpful with their research and studies.

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Defense Dept., Army, Strategic Studies Institute
  • Lacey, James
Key Phrases:
  • Finance and War Through the Ages
  • War finance, History
  • War, Economic aspects, History
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