Military Medicine and Military Effectiveness

Discussant: Faye Curtis
Conveners: John de Bhal, Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, Duncan Snidal

Are militaries with better medicine more effective on the battlefield? The relationship between military medicine and military effectiveness has been largely overlooked by scholars of military effectiveness. We aim to draw out this relationship in several ways. First, we outline a set of mechanisms linking military medicine to military effectiveness. Second, we report on the results of a cross-national analysis of all interstate wars since 1900, based on an original data collection effort on military medicine. And third, we examine the relationship between two medical interventions – the introduction of penicillin and whole blood – and military effectiveness during a series of battles in World War II. We find, consistently, that investments in military medicine can significantly improve military effectiveness.