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Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the U.S. military’s interest in planning for war has increased exponentially, as has its ability to do so, often in response to lessons learned from past military actions. From early plans aimed at fighting a single enemy determined to violate the Monroe Doctrine or threaten the Open Door, a U.S. policy that supported open trade in China and discouraged further colonization of the weakened Chinese Empire, to more recent plans to defend vital interests in far-flung regions, war planners have labored to develop proposals to defend the nation’s interests. In some cases, including the Pacific War against Japan, existing plans were put into practice, while other, elaborately detailed plans, including those to wage atomic war against the Soviet Union, ...

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