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

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

Azar Gat

1stPublisher: Oxford University Press, USAFormat: Paperback

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 the Romantic 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 which dominated 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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