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The Strategy Makers: Thoughts on War and Society from Machiavelli to Clausewitz

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Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Similar Items War of the worlds : what about peace? Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Politics has to construct a peace settlement in which all sides have a vested interest. Only then is military victory the true end of war and the foundation of peace, not a prelude to the next war.

The Strategy Makers by Beatrice Heuser - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

The issue was how to approach this from the military point of view, and here Clausewitz struck out on his own, arguing that the basic centres of gravity a state could have were its army, its capital, its king, its allies if it had any that were stronger than it, and even public opinion. His contemporary von Lilienstern had matured his thoughts at a faster rate, and in a broader pattern.

He examined not simply the nature of war as Clausewitz did, but also how war affected the peace to follow, and noted how unstable peaces could lead to further war. As already noted, the pursuit of victory dominated strategic parlance and planning until the end of the Second World War and into the Cold War, rendering those who spoke of moderate war and measured peace lonely voices from the wilderness. As opposed to the American naval theorist Mahan, who belonged to the school of victory, the British maritime theorist Julian Corbett was one such voice.

Basil Liddell Hart, aghast at the slaughter of the First World War during the interwar period, absorbed the examples of British war-making in what came to be thought of as the quintessential era of limited war, the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, and the writing of men such as Lawrence, Fuller and Corbett. If such a result was obtained, there was no real advantage to be gained by winning a battle…while the attempt would incur a needless risk of defeat.

Hence it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire. A State which expends its strength to the point of exhaustion bankrupts its own policy, and future. This was the major reason he became so isolated both intellectually and from public life during the Second World War: he could not accept that Nazi Germany was fundamentally different from Bourbon France, and that the Second World War was of a different character than the many wars between Britain and France.

He preached a moderate war against Germany and could not afterwards accept that victory had been necessary to preserve and unite the West. During the Cold War two strands of limited war theory were developed, primarily in the United States: limited conventional war under a nuclear umbrella, and limited nuclear war.

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Robert Osgood was one of the pioneers of the concept of limited conventional war. Other states, such as the French in Indochina and Algeria and the British in places stretching from Aden and Kenya to Malaya and Borneo, also encountered difficulties whose management by the old European powers was erratic in performance. More novel than the theorizing of limited conventional war in the nuclear age was theorizing of limited nuclear war.

After avoiding nuclear war, his next concern was how to survive it, rather than how to win it. In service of this goal he developed his famous model of the escalation ladder, and dissected what each rung meant, in the hopes that such detail would be of use during decision-making processes during crisis situations.


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Schelling, on the other hand, did make the mistake of assuming both parties would interpret events in the same way. Of course, this is a fitting epitaph for a large swath of limited nuclear war fighting theory, a genre of strategic thought that of necessity flourished during the Cold War.

Proyecto del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (2013-2015), HAR2012-36884-C02-01.

Thus there are two basic strands within this measured school of thought. The concepts of measured war and peace, however, remain largely unsatisfactory as they tend to be much more difficult and delicate to implement than a simple pursuit of decisive battle and victory. However, the challenges that currently face established states are such that cannot be defeated by those unsubtle methods.

Concepts of limited war must have a place in modern strategic theory. Where strategists went wrong: The missing piece If traced back to Machiavelli, the history of modern strategic theory is nearly five hundred years long. In that span of time hundreds of men and women have written about war and strategy. This literature tends to fall into three different categories. How to conduct war—the means and ways of strategy—is the largest single category. Given that strategy must be a practical discipline, this is unsurprising: practitioners must understand the tools that they use to be able to match their means at hand to the ends they wish to achieve or, vice versa, to limit their aims to the capabilities of the instruments at their disposal.

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The second category, which seems typically to be a reaction to the great wars of any one time, is on the origins and causes of war. Thus the study of why wars start is a necessary prerequisite in the quest of preventing wars from starting. The third category is on the ends of war: what is war for, and how should wars end? Of the three categories identified, this is the least studied. Blainey made the intuitive and instructive point, also largely neglected, that For every one thousand pages published on the causes of wars there is less than one page directly on the causes of peace.

And yet the causes of war and peace, logically, should dovetail into one another. A weak explanation of why Europe was at peace will lead to a weak explanation of why Europe was at war. A valid diagnosis of war will be reflected in a valid diagnosis of peace. Nevertheless the conditions and processes of war termination are slowly being explored and, since the new millennium, have become of greater interest to scholars. Tenuous theoretical connections are finally being made between the origins and causes of war and the processes of war termination.

This gap comprises the concept of strategic effect. Due to the very nature of decision-making, it is difficult to explore and judge strategic effect as there will always be innumerable factors influencing each decision.

Beatrice Heuser

Despite this difficulty, a few theorists have touched upon it. As he matured intellectually, Clausewitz came to understand as well that there was more to strategic effect than simply battle. His concept of strategic effect was wrapped up in his discussion of the previously mentioned centres of gravity. His contemporary von Lilienstern profited by a broader outlook on war and peace to understand that unsatisfactory peaces were but unstable intervals between wars, and for strategic effect to be truly effective, it had to guide war to result in a stable peace.

In the actual practice of strategy, Napoleon was undeniably a master of a certain aspect of strategic effect, the decisive battle, although his opponents had adapted to his capabilities by the last years of the Napoleonic Wars. As noted, Frederick the Great was also effective at practicing the full scope of strategy, which necessarily includes having an actual effect. The Allies were finally beginning to achieve strategic effect in the First World War on a potentially significant scale when the war ended. During the Second World War, of course, the Grand Alliance achieved all the strategic effect for which they had hoped.

This leads to an interesting situation in which, in terms of theory, the school of thought that aimed to limit war tended to understand strategic effect better, but in practice strategic effect seems to have been more widely achieved by the adherents of the school of victory. This is primarily due to the evolving character of war; most decisive victories in history have been achieved against foes that waged war within the same intellectual framework.

The pursuit of victory in practice has remained so alluring because it is simpler, more linear, and allows for mirror imaging in terms of strategic thought. Decisive battles are not possible to inflict on strategic actors which do not weigh the tactical results of battle as being of overriding importance. The persistent allure of victory in strategic culture meant that practical implementations of limited war theory have usually resulted in disappointment with the results, even if policy objectives were achieved. One potential reason for this discrepancy between theory and fact may be that, while those practitioners who advocate victory focus on defeating the enemy, those who advocate limited war and moderate peace focus more on moderating their own actions rather than on achieving success.

Practitioners who advocate victory understand effect, but only in the context of decisive battle, and if that does not work they are at a loss. Strategic effect properly conceived goes beyond isolated concepts of victory or of limited war and moderate peace and would be flexible enough to be able to accommodate either one of the two in theory and, properly understood and implemented, even in practice.

Defining the purpose of war as effect in dissuading an opponent from continuing the conflict at once allows for any number of war ends. This is a truth that the American admiral and strategic theorist J. Wylie understood. Wylie did not even acknowledge victory at all, even as an illegitimate war aim. To do otherwise seems absurd, for the point is intuitive that the conduct of war would be influenced by its aim.

These strategists have tended to fall into one of the two identified broad schools of thought: they either advocate victory, usually through decisive battle, or they aim to wage a more moderate war with more limited aims. In actual strategic practice, both schools of thought have been implemented at various times, either explicitly following theoretical lines or more instinctively.

However, strategists still have much work to do since neither the pursuit of decisive battle and victory nor the quest for moderate war and peace have endured the challenges of history with ease.

There exist threats and strategic circumstances with which neither school of thought can adequately deal. The former cannot quash the non-state actors that currently abound on the strategic landscape and the latter cannot withstand ideologues determined to apply force in pursuit of their own policies, to note but two examples.

It may be instructive to think of war as a journey of four steps. Strategic theorists have focused primarily on two of them, with one more increasingly gaining the attention it needs in recent years. The two most studied steps are the causes of war and the conduct of war. These are the first two steps to war. The step receiving increasing attention is the last step, the ending of the war. However, the third step has been neglected and remains so even now. It is undeniably a very difficult step both to understand and to implement.

This step is strategic effect. Of all the steps of war, however, this third step is the most important. It is strategic effect that determines the actual course a war will take, and getting it wrong will likely mean that the actor taking this four-step journey may not end up at the desired destination. Thus, the mistake the vast majority of strategists have made is to believe that the purpose of war is defined by the end goal they wish to attain, whether it is victory or peace. Wylie avoids this mistake.

The purpose of war should be defined in terms of strategic effect—his personal choice of effect was control—because it is strategic effect that gains the strategic actor the objectives he set out to achieve. If strategic effect is successfully emphasized, then strategy as a discipline may finally reach a watershed in strategic practice as important as that of the Napoleonic Wars. War in an Age of Revolution, On War. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, eds. The Art of War. Mendell and W. Craighill trans. Westport, RI: Greenwood Press , Reading Clausewitz. London, GB: Pimlico , Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought.

Portland OR: Frank Cass , Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century. On War, 75, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings.

Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice. Echevarria II. Der Totale Krieg. Rapoport trans as The Nation at War. London, GB: Hutchinson Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill; , respectively. The Command of the Air. Dino Ferrari trans. Washington, D. Strategy in the Missile Age.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Art of War. Christopher Lynch trans. The Prince and the Discourses. Max Lerner ed. Liddell Hart. The Causes of War and other Essays. New York, NY: Longman , Frederick the Great on the Art of War. Praeger, forthcoming , ch9. Page numbers unknown on all references to this book. Some Principles of Maritime Strategy. Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar , , , , ch New York, NY: Meridian , Makers of Nuclear Strategy. London, GB: Pinter Publishers , On Escalation. Baltimore, MD: Pelican Books Arms and Influence. The Causes of War.

London, GB: Profile Books , 6. How Wars End. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP as one of the most recent and robust examples of the burgeoning interest on war termination. An Introduction to Strategy. Barry trans. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press; , 15,