Introduction to Military History What is War? • How do we define war? • What distinguishes it from other forms of armed conflict? Definition of War 1. Substantial degree of organization on both sides 2. Significant degree of fighting 3. Engagement must be sustained over an extended period The Nature of War • Application of political, psychological, economic and physical pressure by a state or a group of states against another state or by a segment of the population of a state against the established government of a state. Objectives of War • Impose your will upon the enemy. – Aggressive states enter war by a means and at a time of their own choosing – Peaceful states are forced into war to protect their legitimate interests. How do you achieve this objective??? What are the Principles of War? • Fundamental ideas underlying the conduct of war – Weapons, organization, transportation and tactics change – Fundamental principles never change. Principles of War • United States military generally recognizes nine key principles of war – Essential for effective command – Successful conduct of military operations – Apply to decisions on all levels of command from squad leader to Commander in Chief Principles of War – Don’t all apply with equal force – Factors will shape significance • Nature of terrain • Strength of opposing forces • Weather • Mission of the Command Key Terms • Strategy-- Application of Principles of War to a lengthy campaign • Tactics—Application of Principles of War to a single battle. The 9 Principles of War • • • • • • • • • Objective Offensive Simplicity Unity of Command Mass (Concentration) Economy of Force Maneuver Surprise Security National Military Policy Every nation adopts a system it believes will most effectively support its particular national policy. Remember—Military operations on a national level are an extension of its foreign policy! Role of War in American History • Historically, U.S. took advantage of several factors in constructing a military policy – Favorable geographic position behind ocean barriers, – Militarily weak neighbors – Balance of power in Europe. • After World War II, this situation changes. Historical Status of the Military RESULT FOR MOST OF AMERICAN HISTORY— • Small standing army with citizen soldiers • Small navy emphasizing protection of commerce • Willing to consider temporary alliances in times of extreme emergency. • Military should place a minimum burden on the people providing defense without sacrificing values. • • This is the situation at the start of this class We will examine why it changes over the 20th century. Traditional American Attitude toward War • War is an unusual situation • Goal of the military is to deal with the “bully” who has disturbed the peace quickly and decisively. • Once completed, society can rapidly return to normal • War tends to take on the characteristics of a moral crusade.