A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War

Paperback | November 1, 2001

byAzar Gat

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From the ideas of Clausewitz to contemporary doctrines of containment and cold war, this is a definitive history of modern military thought. A one-volume collection of Azar Gat's acclaimed trilogy, it traces the quest for a general theory of war from its origins in the Enlightenment.Beginning with a provocative critique of Clausewitz's classic work On War, the author unravels the endemic difficulties in Clausewitz's work that have baffled scholars for so long, clearly explaining the development of his ideas against the background of the Napoleonic revolution in war and theRomantic critique of the Enlightenment. He continues the story through the strategic ideas of the Prussian-German military school during the nineteenth century, the factors that shaped the 'cult of the offensive' in the French Army before the First World War, and the competing doctrines whichdominated naval warfare during the ages of sail and steam. In the final part of the trilogy, he shows how theories of mechanized war emerged throughout the industrial world in the first decades of the twentieth century and explains why their leading exponents were associated with fascism.Drastically re-evaluating B.H. Liddell Hart's contribution to strategic theory, the author argues that in the wake of the trauma of the First World War, and in response to the Axis challenge, Liddell Hart developed the doctrine of containment and cold war long before the advent of nuclear weapons.He reveals Liddell Hart as a pioneer of the modern western liberal way in warfare which is still with us today.

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From the ideas of Clausewitz to contemporary doctrines of containment and cold war, this is a definitive history of modern military thought. A one-volume collection of Azar Gat's acclaimed trilogy, it traces the quest for a general theory of war from its origins in the Enlightenment.Beginning with a provocative critique of Clausewitz's...

Azar Gat is a Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:November 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199247625

ISBN - 13:9780199247622

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Table of Contents

Part One: The Military School of the Enlightenment1. Montecuccoli: The Impact of Proto-Science on Military Theory2. The Military Thinkers of the French Enlightenment: The Quest for a General Theory of War3. The Military Thinkers of the German 'Aufklarung'4. Through the Napoleonic AgePart Two: The German Movement, Clausewitz, and the Origins of the German Military School5. The Reaction Against the Enlightenment: New Perspectives on Military Theory6. Clausewitz: Demolishing and Rebuilding the Theoretical Ideal7. Clausewitz: The Nature of War8. Conclusion9. Clausewitz's Final Notes RevisitedPart Three: The Development of Military Thought10. Positivism, Romanticism, and Military Theory 1815-187011. The German Military School: Its World-View and Conception of War 1815-191412. The Cult of the Offensive: The Sources of French Military Doctrine 1871-191413. From Sail to Steam: Naval Theory and the Military Parallel 1882-191414. Marxism, Clausewitz, and Military Theory 1848 to the Nuclear AgePart Four: Fascist Modernism and Visionaries of Machine Warfare15. Introduction: The 'Janus Face' of Fascism16. J. F. C. Fuller: Positivism, Evolution, Fascism, and Future Warfare17. Futurism, Proto-Fascist Italian Culture, and the Sources of Douhetism18. German Right-Wing Radicalism, Strategic Adventurism, and Mechanized Warfare19. Comparisons and Contrasts (I): American Populism, Progressivism, and Mid-West Technological Modernism20. Comparisons and Contrasts (II): Marxism, Modernism, and the Doctrine of 'Deep Battle'Part Five:Lideel Hart, Modern, and Post-Modern Strategy21. Introduction22. Background: The First World War in Western Consciousness23. Theory: The Lmited War, Moderate Peace, and the Strategy of Indirect Approach24. Policy: Defence of the West (I): Containment in the 1930s25. Policy: Defence of the West II: Hot War-Cold War26. Conclusion: 'The Western Way in Warfare', Past and FutureBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`a thouroughly researched, felicitously composed ... work that ... makes a very important point and deserves close attention from students of military thought.'Harold R. Winton, The Journal of Military History, Vol.64, No.3.