HY 480 Week 2 Notes
HY 480 Week 2 Notes HY 480
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Thursday January 28, 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 30 views. For similar materials see Survey of Military History in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 01/28/16
1/19/16 Kennedy, Introduction, Chapter 1 Part 4, Chapter 2 Parts 2& 4 Notes I. Does the United States win because the United States out produces the other side? What factors lead to outcomes? a. Leadership and application of resources i. Choices made by individuals given the resource base they have available. II. Often, Kennedy’s argument has been oversimplified to say that the guys with the biggest battalions always win and that’s all there is to it. a. If you read closely, Kenney’s argument is a story of those people who make choices with the resources they have. III. “Imperial Overstretch” a. When there is an imbalance between resources and commitments—too few resources and too many commitments b. When you’re in that position, you get too weak to sustain the empire long term. IV. Can you have an empire be successful that is not outwardly aggressive? a. Analogy of the shark: Empires are like sharks, they have to keep moving forward to survive. b. If the answer is yes, won’t every empire eventually be subject to imperial overstretch and thus failure? c. Imperial Empires can be the story of eat or be eaten, with the inevitable problem that there’s only so far you can go. d. Napoleon is a classic example of a guy who can’t find a stopping point, and that’s his downfall. i. Napoleon fails to use military forces to actually find a stable solution. ii. You have to gain enough success where you are able to negotiate successfully with true stakes on the table with someone else. V. If you can’t afford to invent new technology, steal it from other civilizations a. What happens when the other guy gets what you have? How do you stay ahead? 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. a. Also traces changes in global economic balances II. Kennedy’s argument: 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. a. Classic definition of “imperial overstretch” b. It other European Great Powers also suffered, they managed narrowly to maintain the balance between their resources and military power better than the Habsburgs. III. An economic way to manipulate credit creates military power. a. If you don’t have a way to manipulate credit, you will be marginally less successful than those who do. IV. The book concentrates upon the interaction between economics and strategy V. The “military conflict” referred to in the book’s subtitle is therefore always examined in the context of “economic change” VI. Wealth is usually needed to underpin military power, and military power needed to acquire and protect wealth. VII. 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. VIII. 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. IX. 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 X. “This book is heavily Eurocentric” XI. The book is not dealing with the theory that major wars can be related to cycles of economic upturn and downturn. XII. It’s also not centrally concerned with general theories about the causes of war XIII. 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. XIV. Best thesis: 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. XV. 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. XVI. One can make these generalizations without falling into the trap of crude economic determinism. XVII. This book is NOT arguing that economics determine every event. Chapter 1 Part 4: European Miracle XVIII. 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. b. It is necessary to focus attention upon the material and longterm elements rather than the vagaries of personality or short term shifts in diplomacy. XIX. 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. d. Thus, because everyone was fighting each other, they had to grow or die. e. Diversity makes them stronger XX. The existence of mercantile credit pointed to a basic predictability of economic conditions. XXI. 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 XXII. Most of Europe’s regimes entered into a symbiotic relationship with the market economy. XXIII. 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. XXIV. 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. XXV. 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. XXVI. 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. XXVII. 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. XXVIII. 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. XXIX. 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 Why did the Habsburgs fail? XXX. Five chief sources of Habsburg finance: a. By far the most important was the Spanish inheritance of Castile. XXXI. For all of their advantages, the SpanishAustrian dynastic alliance could never prevail because even though its financial and military resources were enormous, there was never sufficient to the meet the requirements. XXXII. 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. 1. War is becoming more expensive. ii. Spiraling costs of war exposed the real weakness of the Habsburg system. iii. general inflation was compounded by the doubling an redoubling of armies and navies. iv. Grinding costs of war always eventually eroded short term gains they made with loans. 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 (due to beliefs that if one battlefront fell, the entire kingdom would fall) that would last until victory, a compromise, or the entire system was exhausted. ii. Habsburgs chose to overextend their resources. This is a leadership choice. 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. i. Problem is efficiency in an early modern system of taxation. ii. Selesky believes that Kennedy says this too cavalierly, that it’s very difficult to do this with human beings. iii. Spanish leadership adopted wrong measures. XXXIII. 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 XXXIV. The consequences of war provide a much more urgent and continuous pressure toward “nationbuilding” than these philosophical considerations and slowly evolving social tendencies. XXXV. The problem of pay and supply affected military performance in all sorts of ways. a. When troops don’t get paid, they mutiny or leave, and the Habsburgs experienced this over and over again. XXXVI. 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.” b. You have to have resources and you have to use them in a way so that they are marginally better than the other guy.
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