HY 480, Week 1 Notes
HY 480, Week 1 Notes HY 480
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Thursday January 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 480 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Harold Selesky in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 66 views. For similar materials see Survey of Military History in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 01/21/16
1/16/16 Keegan Chapter 1 Notes There is a fundamental difference between the sort of sporadic, smallscale fighting which is the small change of soldiering and the sort we characterize as a battle. Battle must obey the dramatic unities of time, place and action. He discusses how little he understands of battle and how battle involves fear and dark animal instinct. Military schools desensitize war because they have to. It’s already so emotional that to treat it emotionally would “hinder, if not indeed altogether defeat, the aim of officer training” Military schools reduce the conduct of war to a set of rules and a system of procedures— and thereby make orderly and rational what is essentially chaotic and instinctive. The most obvious manifestation of the procedural approach to war is in the rotelearning and repeated practice of standard drills. Giving labels to acts, such as “airstrike”, “incoming fire”, helps to avert the onset of fear. The military historian ought not to be persuaded that, because the course of battles fought 2000 years apart can be represented in the same cartographic shorthand, that the victor in each case was obeying the rules of some universal Higher Logic of War. o Basically you can’t generalize Military History deficiencies o For many, the study of military history is no more than the study of generals and generalship. Military history is also more than the study of weapons and weapon systems, of naval power, the study of institutions (regiments, staff colleges, strategic doctrines, etc.) o History strategic doctrine suffers from a weakness endemic to the study of ideas, the failure to demonstrate connection between thought and action. War forces the historian, who wants to generalize and dissect, to combine analysis with narrative. “Military history, we may infer, must in the last resort be about battle” Battle history, or campaign history, deserves a similar primacy over all other branches of military historiography. The right to inflict suffering must always be purchased by, or at the risk of, combat— ultimately of combat corps à corps. o Combat corps à corps is not a subject which historians can be accused of ignoring. Historians are expected to keep their emotions to themselves, regarding particular battles or wars with no emotion at all. o Exploring combatant’s emotions, however, seems an essential ingredient to th military history, but there is no narrative for the common soldier before the 19 century, so in this regard military history is lacking. There is danger in reconstructing events solely or largely on the evidence of those whose reputations may gain or lose by the account they give. o This type of evidence leads to anecdotal history Keegan argues that military historians should spend as much time as they can with soldiers because of the chance observation of trivial incidents which may illuminate his private understanding of all sorts of problems from the past. The insight which intimacy with soldiers can bring to the military historian enormously enhances his surety of touch in feeling his way through the inanimate landscape. “For if to propagate understanding of, not merely knowledge about, the past is the historian’s highest duty, making up his own mind is the essential precondition to that end.” Historians have to balance the soldier’s perspective with the facts of battle “The battle piece” is often a highly over simplified depiction of human behavior on the battlefield. o No explanation of the dead and the wounded o Uniformity of human behavior o Ruthlessly stratified characterization When one turns from drill and logistics to the battle descriptions of even the best trained modern historians, it is to find Napierism (heroworshipping) as alive as ever. One cannot simply be interested in the outcome of the battle, the events and characters are of equal importance. Battle, for the ordinary soldier, is a very smallscale situation which will throw up its own leaders and will be fought by its own rules—alas, often by its own ethics. Ordinary soldiers do not think of themselves, in life and death situations, as subordinate members of whatever formal military organization it is to which authority has assigned them, but as equals within a very tiny group. Soldiers fight not because they are commanded, but for personal survival and for fear of showing cowardly conduct and incurring the group’s contempt. o Everything ultimately rests with the ordinary soldier’s ‘motivation to combat’ “Small group dynamics” Without a measure of intellectual detachment, of course, any historian is bound to become either an obscurantist or a publicist. “How, in these intellectual and moral circumstances, were scholars to justify to themselves or their readers any discussion of war which did not condemn it outright as an aberration on the face of human history?” o War had a purpose; it had made the nineteenth century. Creasy’s formula argues that battles are important. They decide things and improve things. o This dispensation justifies an endless, repetitive examination of battles which can be said to have done nothing but make the world worse. For the majority the Decisive Battle idea persists, both for the reader and the writer, and it is in this form which all modern writing about battle takes. If soldiers did not learn to fight their battles from reading books, neither is it likely that military historians learned to write their books from watching battles. Roman military practices are dominant in the European soldier’s world. Antiquity yielded an alternative tradition in military historiography, a great deal richer, more subtle, more psychological, and more frank. o Greek style of military history Soldiers die in largest numbers when they run. It is their rational acceptance of the dangers of running that make civilized soldiers so formidable. Men fight from fear, fear of the consequences of not fighting (punishment) and then not fighting well (slaughter). When a soldier is known to the men that are around him, he has reason to fear losing the one thing he is likely to value more highly than life—his reputation as a man among other men. Marshall has two basic assumptions of battle: that all men are afraid on the battlefield, yet that most, despite their fear, remain products of their culture and its valuesystem 1/19/15 Keegan Chapter 1 In Class Notes I. Introduction a. Socially sanctioned armed violence is a means to an end, not an end in itself. b. The goal is to use violence to achieve “peace”, or rather a condition of nonwar better referred to as “political stability” i. Attempt to use war as leverage to attain political goals that you have defined c. War is one of many tools used to promote and or maintain political stability. II. Analytical Categories a. The following are vocabulary that will come up repeatedly in the course: b. Symmetrical 1. Traditional, conventional warfare where parties of equal means and similar resource bases fight each other 2. Symmetrical warfare is more common and equally important c. Asymmetrical 1. Dissimilar, unconventional where combatants are armed dissimilarly, different resource bases d. “Ways of War” 1. What constitutes a way of war? 2. Typically “nationstate” based 1. The particular way in which each nationstate wages war 3. Eg. “American Way of War”=Russell Weigly 1. Particular way of warfare depending on the country 2. Every war college hands out a copy of this book to incoming students. 4. Has broader analytical potential 1. Selesky argues that “the way of war” does have analytical potential beyond the nation state 2. There are similar ways in which societies (such as tribes) organize military activity regardless of whether they are a “nationstate” III. Levels of Engagement a. “Grand” or national strategy 1. “What do you want to try to achieve?” 2. What’s the position in the world you think you can attain? b. Military Strategy 1. The forces and materials you will use to attain the goals set before you in national strategy c. Operational Art 1. How you maneuver and use the materials you will use on the battlefield d. Tactical 1. How, in the midst of battle, you get things done. IV. From John Keegan, Face of Battle a. Sir Edward Creasy (18121878) b. Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo 1. Marathon, 490 BC 1. Athenians versus Persians 2. Defeat of Athenians at Syracuse, 413 BC 1. Athenians versus Syracusians 3. Arbela, 331 BC 1. Alexander of Macedon versus Darius the Persian 4. Metaurus, 207 BC 1. Rome vs. Carthage 5. Arminius over Roman Legions, 9 AD 1. Germanic peoples versus RomeTeutoburger Wald 6. Chalons, 451 AD 1. Romans and Visigoths versus Huns 7. Tours, 732 AD 1. Franks under Charles Martel versus Muslim Arabs 8. Hastings, 1066 AD 1. William the Norman versus Harold the Saxon 9. All these battles occur when the West tries to maintain its empire. c. “The delicate hypocrisy of Creasy’s formula argued that battles are important. They decide and improve things. d. Alfred H. Burne and “Inherent Military Probability” 1. The solution of an obscurity by an estimate of what a trained soldier would have done in the circumstances. 2. In battles and campaigns where there is some doubt over what action was taken, Burne believed that that the action taken would be one that a trained officer of the 20 century would take. V. “Decisive Battle” a. Cannae215 BC 1. Apart from being one of the greatest defeats inflicted on Roman arms, Cannae represents the archetypical battle of annihilation, operational concept that has almost never been successfully applied subsequently. 2. The totality of Hannibal’s victory has made the name “Cannae” a byword for military success. 3. The notion that an entire army could be encircled and annihilated in a single encounter led to fascination among Western historians. 4. The Romans still won the war, because they decided not to give up. 1. Thus, decisive battles don’t necessarily lead to military success. VI. Keegan Notes a. Notice the extent to which the historian (Keegan) places himself in his books. 1. He gives the reader a piece of his biography in order to point out that he is a historian and not a former participant. 2. Clearly written for a British audience b. “There is a fundamental difference between the sort of sporadic, smallscale fighting which is the small change of soldiering and the sort we characterize as a battle.” 1. In saying that skirmishes are not the same as battles and are not significant, he seems to underestimate the place they have in the larger picture. 1. His differentiation emphasizes the topic he wants to talk about, but also restricts the importance of fights on smaller scales. 2. The battle is large scale, intense, and has a specific timeline, whereas small changes in soldiering are, well, small changes. 1. An example of asymmetrical warfare c. “The aim, which Western armies have achieved with remarkable consistent success during the zoo years in which formal military education has been carried on, is to reduce the conduct of war to a set of rules and as system of procedures— and thereby to make orderly and rational what is essentially chaotic and instinctive” 1. The purpose of the staff college is to create order so that acceptable rules and procedures are obeyed. 2. The staff college assumes officers are interchangeable parts, but that if one is to rise to command, suddenly they will be able to leave their training and become innovative (know how to deal with unexpected situations) d. “School solution” 1. The approved solution by the government, procedural approach to war. 2. Historians need to recognize that there is no approved solution—there isn’t just one way to think about a situation. Historians stand outside the soldier’s shoes and have to consider all the options. 3. School solution obverts the onset of fear or panic and encourages smooth operation under extreme stress e. Battle history, or campaign history, deserves a similar primacy over all other branches of military historiography. 1. That’s the book he’s writing f. You have to understand combatants’ emotions in order to write true military history. g. Essential ingredient: allowing a combatant to speak for himself about his emotions in battle. 1. S.L.A Marshall is famous for pioneering the “afteraction” interview. 2. This does have some problems: the person who speaks first will set the tenor for what’s going on, no one’s going to contradict their superior, if a superior speaks to the interviewee before the interview, the opinion will already be tainted. 3. The almost universal illiteracy, however, of the common soldier of any century before the nineteenth makes it a technique difficult to employ. h. Inherent Military Probability 1. The solution of an obscurity by an estimate of what at rained soldier would have done in the circumstances. i. The extreme uniformity of human behavior, discontinuous movement, ruthlessly stratified characterization, highly oversimplified depiction of human behavior on the battlefield, and no explanation of what happened to the dead and wounded. 1. How do you incorporate this information into your overall understanding in achieving success or failure on a battlefield? j. Napier is pathologically a hero worshipper 1. he sacrificed to the general grand effect all minor and apparently trifling things. 2. Limited stock of assumptions and assertions about the behavior of human beings in extremehigh stress situations. k. There is a “code of military justice” put on to sanctioned killing that supposedly limits how one is supposed to act when he kills (and how he kills). 1. Can one kills those who have surrendered? Should one kill someone who is not an immediate threat? How do you actually subscribe to the “code of military justice” when you’re in the midst of battle? l. “Shell shock” what PTSD was called in WWI. When you see something that the mind doesn’t want to recall. m. In Victorian England the idea of “decision in battle” is introduced 1. This is the idea that battles can be decisive, they can decide things. n. Caesar sets the standard narrative for battle 1. he tells us nothing about his army. o. Thucydides’ army, however, is one of a species of institutions interesting in themselves. 1. Caesar writes particular history, Thucydides is writing general history, and is by every test more useful, difficult, and illuminating form of art. p. S.L.A. Marshall believes the suppression of fear chiefly as a responsibility which falls upon everybody in the firing line. 1/19/16 Kennedy, Introduction, Chapter 1 Part 4, Chapter 2 Parts 2& 4 Notes Introduction I. Kennedy’s book concerns itself largely with great wars, especially those major, drawnout conflicts fought by coalitions of Great Powers which had such an impact upon the international order. II. The book concentrates upon the interaction between economics and strategy III. The “military conflict” referred to in the book’s subtitle is therefore always examined in the context of “economic change” IV. Wealth is usually needed to underpin military power, and military power needed to acquire and protect wealth. V. If too large a portion of the state’s resources is diverted from wealth creation and allocated to military purposes, it is likely to weaken the national power in the long term. VI. Chief theme of this chapter is that despite the great resources possessed by the Habsburg monarchs, they steadily overextended themselves in the course of repeated conflicts and became militarily topheavy for their weakening economic base. VII. Since the cost of standing armies and national fleets had become horrendously great by the early eighteenth century, a country which could create an advanced system of banking and credit (as Britain did) enjoyed many advantages over financially backward rivals. a. The factor of geographical position was also of great importance in deciding the fate of the Powers in their contests VIII. “This book is heavily Eurocentric” IX. The book is not dealing with the theory that major wars can be related to cycles of economic upturn and downturn. X. It’s also not centrally concerned with general theories about the causes of war XI. There is detectable a causal relationship between the shifts which have occurred over time in the general economic and productive balances and the position occupied by individual powers in the international system. XII. There is a very clear connection in the long run between an individual Great Power’s economic rise and fall and its growth and decline as an important military power. a. This doesn’t mean that a nation’s relative economic and military power will rise and fall in parallel. There is a noticeable lag time. XIII. There is a very strong correlation between the eventual outcome of the major coalition wars for global European mastery, and the amount of productive resources mobilized by each side. XIV. One can make these generalizations without falling into the trap of crude economic determinism. XV. This book is NOT arguing that economics determine every event. Chapter 1 Part 4: European Miracle XVI. Why was it among the scattered and relatively unsophisticated peoples inhabiting the western parts of the Eurasian landmass that there occurred an unstoppable process of economic development and technological innovation which would steadily make it the commercial and military leader in world affairs? a. There was a dynamic involved, driven chiefly by economic and technological advances. XVII. For this political diversity Europe had largely to thank its geography. a. There were no enormous plains over which an empire could impost its swift dominion. b. The variegated landscape encouraged the growth, and the continued existence, of decentralized power. c. Europe’s differentiated climate led to differentiated products. XVIII. The existence of mercantile credit pointed to a basic predictability of economic conditions. XIX. The political and social consequences of this decentralized, largely unsupervised growth of commerce and merchants and ports and markets were of the greatest significance. a. There was no uniform authority in Europe that could’ve halted commercial development XX. Most of Europe’s regimes entered into a symbiotic relationship with the market economy. XXI. The more general reason why it was impossible to impose unity across the continent can be briefly stated as: a. The existence of a variety of economic and military centers of power was fundamental. XXII. Each rival force in Europe was able to gain access to the new military techniques, so that no single power ever possessed the decisive edge. XXIII. Decentralization of power in Europe led to a primitive arms race. a. Only in Europe did the impetus exist for constant improvements in military weaponry. b. Two consequences to the armaments spiral: i. One ensured the political plurality of Europe, the other its eventual maritime mastery. XXIV. What distinguished the captains, crews, and explorers of Europe was that they possessed the ships and the firepower with which to achieve their ambitions, and that they came from a political environment in which competition, risk, and entrepreneurship were prevalent. XXV. The greatest reason why the dynamic continued to operate as it did was the manifold rivalries of the European states spilling over into transoceanic spheres. XXVI. Unique European traits that made it superior for warfare: a. The existence of a market economy b. the existence of a plurality of power centers c. lack of economic and political rigidity lends to a lack of cultural and ideological orthodoxy—that is, freedom to inquire, dispute, and a belief in improvement. XXVII. In most cases, it was not so much positive elements but rather the reduction in the number of hindrances which checked economic growth and political diversity. a. Europe’s greatest advantage was that it had fewer disadvantages than other societies. Chapter 2 Part 2: Habsburg Bloc XXVIII. Habsburg critical deficiency was due to three factors which interacted with each other. a. First factor: was the “military revolution” of early modern Europe. i. This is the massive increase in the scale, costs and organization of war which occurred in the 150 years following the 1520s. ii. Spiraling costs of war exposed the real weakness of the Habsburg system. b. Second factor: The Habsburgs had too much to do, too many enemies to fight, too many fronts to defend. i. The Spanish crown committed itself to a widespread war of attrition that would last until victory, a compromise, or the entire system was exhausted. c. Third factor: The Spanish government in particular failed to mobilize available sources in the most efficient way and, by acts of economic folly, helped to erode its own power. XXIX. At the center of the Spanish decline, therefore, was the failure to recognize the importance of preserving the economic underpinnings of a powerful military machine. Time and again the wrong measures were adopted. Chapter 2 Part 4: War, Money and the NationState XXX. The consequences of war provide a much more urgent and continuous pressure toward “nationbuilding” than these philosophical considerations and slowly evolving social tendencies. XXXI. The problem of pay and supply affected military performance in all sorts of ways. XXXII. The argument in this chapter is not that the Habsburgs failed utterly to do what other powers achieved so brilliantly. a. “it had been “a damned closerun thing.” Most great contests are.
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