HY 480 Week 5 Notes
HY 480 Week 5 Notes HY 480
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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Sunday February 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 25 views. For similar materials see Survey of Military History in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 02/21/16
Johnson Chapters 8 amp 9 Notes Chapter 8 I President James Polk s expansionist policies had begun to bear fruit but in so doing they created diplomatic friction with both Great Britain and Mexico I To the south problems with Mexico resulted from the annexation of Texas 0 The Mexican government which never resigned itself to Texas independence promptly broke off diplomatic relations with the US I Congress declared war in May 1846 after Mexican forces crossed the Rio Grande and attacked an American patrol O The administration had no real plan in place for prosecuting the war 0 In keeping with tradition the US was woefully unprepared to fight I A bad philosophical difference between the president and the commanding general regarding the purpose of war added to the underlying friction between them 0 Polk saw the war as an opportunity to seize land from Mexico 0 Scott believed that war should be honorable and that a nation shouldn t fight unless provoked or compelled to do so I He believed that the president s character was defined by cunning and hypocrisy I To fail to avenge the Mexican attack would have been dishonorable I He remained opposed to Polk s underlying goal to use a war for territorial gain I Polk began meeting with Scott and Secretary Marcy to put together a strategy for war 0 Polk didn t like Shelly who asked for two much over too long a time in Polk s unlearned opinion I Scott envisioned a full campaign while the president wanted a summer campaign was frustrated by Scott s apparent procrastination I At the conclusion of hostilities Polk planned to replace Scott permanently with a new major general of volunteers 0 Scott had friends in Congress and grasped the administration s true intent 0 He complained to Marcy of the attempted doublecross I Scott s criticism initiated a series of events that led to his dismissal from field command 0 Scott understood the political ramifications of military command very well his problem was that he didn t know when to be silent he wrote lots of critical letters 0 After multiple criticisms of the administration Polk kept Taylor at the helm of Mexico and consigned Scott to administrative purgatory I Scott believed that the administration s biggest fear was that if he was sent to Mexico he would succeed and knock the party into a cocked hat in 1848 0 He knew that his political affiliation placed him on shaky ground but he couldn t hold in his aristocratic condescending attitude toward civilian superiors Scott accepted his exile and admirably concentrated his efforts during the summer months in helping Taylor fight the war When Mexican officials proved reluctant to negotiate Polk looked at a more aggressive strategy 0 They talked increasingly of landing an army on Mexico s east coast and pushing inland toward the enemy capital Scott was asked for his input and submitted a paper with two central ideas 0 He stressed offensive warfare in order to save lives 0 If an object could be gained with anking movement if the war could be won without widespread destruction that constituted a crowning achievement Scott s plan impressed Polk and Marcy because of its soundness and logic Having already considered and turned down several Democratic officers for promotion Polk returned to Scott 0 Polk met with Scott and said that for the campaign to succeed they needed to mutually trust each other I It was a sham as Polk said this and Scott believed it Polk worked on a plot to oust him 0 Several weeks later Scott learned of Polk s plans and several weeks after that the idea fizzled from a lack of congressional support 0 This whole episode underscores the accuracy of a statement regarding the army in a recent study of the Mexican war The American military during that period was a creature of politics Whatever Polk believed in his appointment of Scott he made perhaps his best decision of the war Scott requested troops fro Taylor who got angry about it and imagined a conspiracy between Polk and Scott to break him down 0 He thought that taking away his army and reducing him to a passive defense was ample proof of a plot to steal his glory 0 Scott actually regretted this move but found it necessary Scott worked to prevent interservice rivalry between the army and navy US naval and land forces captured and occupied Tampico in the November previous to when Scott arrived 0 Scott noticed a junior officer with a worried countenance O The lack of vessels wagons draught animals and heavy ordnance caused Scott deep concern A ceremony relieved his fears but it actually just served as a diversion for soldiers who needed some activity to occupy their time Scott instilled strict discipline and harsh punishment to remedy misbehaving troops Historians generally have failed to notice the significance of Scott s martial law policy in Mexico but it deserves close examination 0 Scott was so certain of the importance of this policy that after the war he asserted that without it he couldn t have maintained the discipline or honor of the army 0 How did Scott decide to be so harsh 0 There was no previous example he just followed his instincts 0 He found an appropriate case study in the Napoleonic Wars that told him what to do I It was however an example of not what to do but what not to do in reference to the Peninsula Wars 0 In anticipating unconventional war Marcy wrote to Scott that the Mexican policy is to carry on a guerrilla war 0 A lesson in Napier s study wants notice the guerrilla war that emerged in Spain was a result of disorder within Spain itself I This helps to explain Scott s strategy in Mexico 0 Strict discipline and pacification of the Mexican countryside could avert such problems and indeed these would be the essential components of military success 0 Scott was the most capable general in the army but more than that he understood politics and diplomacy and how they worked in conjunction with the military to bring about peace Chapter 9 I The descent upon the Mexican coast was the most magnificent scene I can imagine nor can I by any attempted description hope to do it justice 0 One of the soldiers watching from the ships 0 The Veracruz landing was the largest amphibious assault in American history until Allied forces landed in North Africa a century later 0 Scott allowed Commodore Conner and the navy to be active participants thus keeping interservice rivalry at a minimum and demonstrating what could be accomplished in joint operations 0 Scott demonstrated his strategy for the campaign avoiding the enemy s strength 0 Throughout the campaign Scott took the path of least resistance preferring to outthink and maneuver his opponent instead of trying to pound him on the field 0 little cabinet 0 Scott made an extensive reconnaissance of the city and then sat down with key staff officers whose opinions he valued to discuss option 0 Scott knew that his tactics he didn t want a direct assault displeased his subordinates but he speculated that taking the city by storm could exact a price of 2000 men 0 He considered that course of action immoral believing that the slow scientific process would succeed with fewer than 100 casualties 0 Scott realized his tactics would not impress people back home 0 He later concluded that the public interpreted Taylor s higher casualty figures as a barometer of greater military skill and harder fighting I Frontal assaults connote manliness and bravery and if successfully conducted they can result in public acclaim On March 22 Scott sent a message to Morales demanding that he surrender the city within two hours or face a bombardment O Morales responded by informing Scott that it was his duty to defend the city and castle They concluded their exchange the bombardment commenced The bombardment offered a magnificent sight to the American soldiers who watched from a distance Time was a growing issue for Scott and the army 0 They were afraid of yellow fever coming Scott captured Veracrus losing only thirteen men and fiftyfive wounded 0 However before knowing the outcome people back in the States criticized Scott s siege tactics as cruel and unnecessary 0 When news arrived people were surprised and perhaps even disappointed at the low casualty figures The soldier in the field has a different opinion of a commander who can wage war and preserve the lives of his troops at the same time His martial law had a noticeable impact as the townspeople began to accept the American occupation with little resistance The olive branch and sword were key in Scott s campaign strategy 0 He intended to advance and engage the enemy as long as hostilities continued while also displaying a willingness to negotiate O Scott s primary objective was to win the peace not destroy Mexico and he knew that he could best do that by winning over the civilian population 0 Strict discipline constituted another means of presenting the olive branch I Instead of leaving anger in the army s wake it left law and order In the days following the battle dissension surfaced among Scott s officers 0 Some believed that they should have capitalized on the enemy s political and military confusion by pressing on to Mexico City 0 Such arguments didn t take into account the logistical problems Scott s military strategy was designed ultimately to create political results Scott s pacification plan had already started to pay dividends 0 Americans bought provisions from town to town and had to deal with only limited guerrilla activity Few generals could have accomplished what Scott did in 1847 and certainly no leaderless army could ve come close General Worth s approach to pacification took a large departure from Scott s 0 under his terms Mexicans accused of crimes against American soldiers could be tried by Mexican soldiers O A fundamental part of Scott s ability to maintain order was vested in his authority to try both Americans and Mexicans for crimes against each other 0 Worth had thus eroded Scott s plan and the relationship with him Soon after Scott s arrival in town tension arose between him and Worth 0 Scott was angered after learning of Worth s lenient terms I When he was not embroiled in turmoil with Trist and Worth Scott vigorously pursued his pacification program 0 His restrictions along with the usual harsh treatment for lawless acts against Mexican civilians angered some volunteers who believed the punishment was too severe 0 Almost as bad were Scott s orders that American soldiers protect locals from bandits who roamed the countryside I This was to gain the hearts and minds of the Mexican people 0 Mexicans described Scott as noble and kind and believed his army exhibited discipline and generally behaved surprisingly well 0 Soldiers benefited from Scott s harsh policies He wrote to Marcy asking to pay the soldiers 0 With money in their pockets the Americans went to markets and shops which stayed open for 24 hours and bought food and liquor O This suggests that Mexicans did not fear the Americans and even liked profiting form their presence 0 Americans were able to maintain cordial relations with the local inhabitants 0 While some criticized Scott s strategy others understood its benefits 0 Scott ordered his army to show respect for religious ceremonies and worship services 0 The church hierarchy could not but notice the stark contrast between the Americans magnanimous treatment and that of their government which taxed the church heavily to finance the war I Strict discipline and pacification netted Scott several advantages 0 He limited depredations committed against Mexicans I Thus checking the desire for retaliation against his men 0 He won over the trust of segments of the population I This facilitated the purchase of needed supplies 0 He placated the clergy I Who were guardians of the hearts and minds of many of the people 0 Scott showed respect for Mexicans and so he received respect 0 Scott skillfully executed a strategy designed to achieve political results and he never gave up the initiative 0 He successfully guided his army through a potentially hostile countryside I Never had an American general accomplished more with fewer men and with less support from his government Alexander Conclusion Notes The Second Military Government failed in its threefold mission of O converting Aragon into a base of conquest O pacifying the province 0 and preparing the left bank for annexation The failure to suppress resistance and prepare the inhabitants for annexation re ected both the overriding conventional demands placed on imperial forces and on the inability throughout northeastern Spain to eliminate guerrilla opposition to imperial rule The French methods of pacification especially the failure to combine military operations with effective policy gravely handicapped their efforts 0 Selesky says destroyed the possibility of success 0 You have to combine military operations with effective political policy Suchet used too heavy a hand to bludgeon people into obedience For everyone the presence of the intrusive government meant an enormously increased tax obligation and daily suspense of wondering whether French might ravage a commune The few Spaniards who joined the French were repaid with ruin by the imperial regime The French failed to protect them form guerrilla retaliation so they often lost their property and their lives The French often estranged those who embraced tehm and might ve in uenced the Spanish masses to support them Suchet implemented in Aragon the most intelligent policies used in the peninsula Suchet tried to leave the leadership of the provinces to the natives under the guidance of a small group of French supervisors Suchet implemented few decrees that drove the peasant from a neutral position 0 You don t have to have them on your side you just have to make sure they re not against you Suchet understood this Suchet s successes in Aragon were far more attributable to his political policy of giving peasants a neutral position than to his conduct of counterinsurgent military operations 0 His military operations weren t good but the way in which he managed the politics was good although he wasn t followed by others 0 Handling of politics trumps military activity Most governors however believed that demonstration of moderation would ve been mistaken for weakness 0 Command relied upon military solution to pacify the peninsula 0 Military might alone could not compel the Spanish to embrace imperial rule and the poorly conceived and applied policies pursued throughout the Peninsula Wars ensured that resistance would continue to smolder 0 High command constantly called for force s widespread and vigorous application For most Spaniards the insurgent administration not the French represented stability order respect for property and local customs and lower tax payments The successful exaction of taxes from the Aragonese depended primarily upon the amount of force Suchet could allocate for this purpose Napoleon s direction of affairs in the peninsula was one of the principal obstacles to French pacification efforts 0 Napoleon never provided a counterinsurgent policy to guide his generals activities I He was interested in economic and military results not the methods 0 Since the high command didn t emphasize the political nature of the war the military didn t appreciate its importance 0 As a result French counterinsurgent policy was extremely inconsistent 0 At no time did Napoleon employ political policy that would ve led to pacification 0 Napoleon placed taxation above pacification advocated force as a means of separating people from guerillas and annexed territories on the left bank of Ebro National resistance is Spain occurred because Napoleon had mobilized it so well with his actions Napoleon underestimated the endurance of the guerilla forces 0 Almost every French pursuit planned by the Emperor was conducted with forces committed for too brief a period If Napoleon and his generals did not understand the problems inherent in counterinsurgent warfare in Spain then neither did most imperial subordinates The French failure to pacify Spain was not the result of incompetent leadership Certainly mistakes were made but command errors are inherent in warfare 0 One disadvantage the French did have was the criteria for promotion in Napoleon s army I Bravery in conventional operations not skill in counterinsurgent operations determined advancement in the imperial army 0 The partisans however had a built in system that rewarded success incompetent guerilla leaders were discredited or died Most French military operation difficulties arose from mistakes made in their counterinsurgent operations 0 First the constant rotation of units and troop transfers delayed deployment of personnel and prevented their acquiring familiarity with the terrain 0 Second The use of provisional units composed of conscripts was particularly harmful in that the guerillas shattered new recruits while veteran regiments withered away 0 Third The French generals lack of cooperation and refusal to obey Napoleon s orders also plagued counterinsurgent operations However many French problems were also unavoidable 0 Every commander in Spain wanted more combatants and Napoleon could not station large occupation forces in provinces for long periods of time 0 The shortage of manpower required pursuits to be brief and therefore ineffective 0 The French had to battle guerrillas without possessing a superior weapon or communication system I Thus the only way to gain an advantage was to employ superior numbers or tactically superior troops And this was not possible A massive reinforcement would ve allowed the French to avoid the debilitating setbacks they suffered in the final eighteen months of the war By his strategic decisions in 1812 and 1813 Napoleon chose to subordinate the war in Spain 0 French lacked the manpower to prevent guerillas O Napoleone s decision to invade Russia was the decisive act for the occupation forces in Aragon In the struggle for the loyalty of the Spanish inhabitants a partisan victory was hardly in doubt O The guerillas consummated their political success by liberating the countryside 0 This triumph is marked by a series of minor engagements coupled with ever mounting pressure on the French to divert troops to conventional operations The ability of the partisans to wage this war of attrition depended upon their tactical skills and the number of French occupation troops confronting them The French suffered from a much higher sickness rate in Spain than central Europe Despite the multitude of problems plaguing the French in their counterinsurgent policy a partisan military victory was not inevitable 0 The insurgents had their own problems 0 Given the French reliance on a military solution to the guerilla war the partidas could have sustained resistance indefinitely In the struggle for domination both contestants had to endure hardships many of which could have been avoided some of which could not The guerrillas achieved their objectives only in the final stages of the war What was the impact of the total failure of French counterinsurgent policy in Aragon and throughout Spain 0 The inability to pacify the peninsula required the French to commit a lot of manpower to supporting an unpopular administration and suppressing partisan resistance 0 This allowed allied conventional forces to engage French armies on roughly even terms The impact of the loss of Spain on Napoleon s overall fortunes is difficult to evaluate O The losses incurred during the conventional and irregular operations added to the heavy desertion and sickness rate and multiplied by 5 years of fighting gnawed deeply into the vitals of the Empire In the face of long odds between conventional resistance and the partidas the French imposed great military problems on themselves 0 They failed to formulate a viable political solution that would attract popular support 0 Their policies ensured a continued resistance the French military could not extinguish 0 Napoleon s statement that if he d had two generals like Suchet he would ve kept Spain presupposes that leadership not resources and a Viable pacification policy was the only causative factor in the French failure to pacify Spain 0 What Napoleon needed was not another Suchet but enough troops to have allowed his generals to combat the partidas with superior strength 0 Napoleon also needed a political solution to the Spanish problem
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