Understanding The Melody of Military Strategies: Past to Present to Future

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Military Strategies – In this modern world, it is evident to view the world as “repressively aggressive”. A relatively new word referring to the current global situation where a small act of provocation can lead to catastrophic consequences. Unlike the past, the present situation is more uncertain. The emergence of modern times have paved a way for the emergence of modern warfare methods and techniques along with the means to fight those wars.

Peace is more convincing to the most but yet unsettled in the mindset of many despite serving as the only way to end conflict. History is evident that peace forever has never been an option to unsettled grudges against one another because most frequently peace was just a mere imposition to the losing side which triggered the feeling of vengeance leading to another non-peaceful situation. Had it been that peace was never an imposition on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles, was the rise of NSDAP and yet another world war possible despite? Possibly not.

In contradiction, the notion of peace is two-way commitment which can be reversed with a slight change in the motives of one party. The question arises here, IS PEACE PERMANENT? Certainly not, the idea of utopian society is a wish for many yet in pragmatism holds no legitimacy considering the complex loop of international relations and foreign policy that is being created around the world. Society and at large, the global order is a matter of influences, both positive and negative.

In this manner, they are most likely to experience changes with temporary conflict and temporary peace. The only thing that will matter at this point is how well a state is able to maneuver these changes. The key concept for efficiently handling these two stages are through the way of diplomacy and military strategies or a perfect melody of both that is likely to bring positive outcomes to any dis-equilibrium in the order. It is not questionable to believe that any nation could be faced by a two front war at any given time or a war of individual versus allied. In such a situation, the power of one would be much less than the other one and the army strength is greatly outnumbered.

A question then arises for a nation: How to match or surpass the combined military strength of its enemies ? There are two ways by which a country can increase its security: strengthening alliances and increasing one’s economic and military capability. For example, in the 1956 war, Israel elected not to form any military alliance and be entirely dependent on its internal army strength.

Nevertheless, material support by the allies such as the US in 1973 motivated and helped Israel to replenish losses from war. As promising as these alliances seem, they may be harmful in the long term. These alliances surely come as a threat to national security and an uncertainty about the intentions of the other party. Napoleon, for instance, followed an exclusive strategy of defeating one enemy swiftly before defeating the other. The Schlieffen plan depended on the swift decision in the west which determined its success.

History is evident that it was wrongful judgment of nations to rely and hope for a swift victory, for example Germany’s defeat in the Soviet Union. Germany exhausted its economy and resources by the time it was confronted by the USA. Germany relied on its allies and despite having faced backlashes, it remained persistent in the hope of fighting the war under the aid of allies which ultimately led to its defeat. Historically, such useful resource has been both direct fight electricity or oblique cloth and financial assistance.

For example, America supplied emergency army substances to Israel in 1973, and to Britain and different allies thru the “lend-lease” programme in World War II, permitting a besieged Britain to preserve off Germany to America entered the war. Similarly, in opposition to Napoleonic France, Britain funded France’s enemies to preserve their armies. This drastically foils the expectancy of quick wars, upon which weaker unmarried international locations regularly depend while dealing with more than one adversaries. 

A successful bid of two-front war strategies 

Increasing Military Strength: 

An important factor to be effectively engaged in a war is through ensuring sufficient military strength but the question is, how ? One way to do this is to pass the large cost of maintaining armies to the defeated country. This has been a strategic and conventional idea of many large military purges of empires, both France and Germany did it. However this created a constant cycle of fighting more and more wars to sustain such large armies which in the modern world might feel like a tiring and un-peaceful task.

Another method is to keep small armies in peacetime but rapidly increase in the war time. First started by France, it was gradually adopted by other militaries around the world. This strategy works well for a country with a working population and a small economy such as Israel. Specialist armed forces such as the navy and the air force heavily relies on full time personnel creating efficient balance between military need and economic constraints. Conscription and universal training to generate reservists results in a crucial social effect: the militarization and politicization of civilians.

This was one reason that other European dynasties opposed revolutionary France and initially didn’t want to adopt its military recruitment system. Its changes promised egalitarianism, threatening the social order and power relations between the upper class and the ruled. This in turn affected the war doctrine from limited wars to absolute wars aligning with Clausewitz’s idea of total destruction. As  German historian Gunter Roth explained about Bismarck’s leadership: “The great reform of the army in 1860, with the introduction of general conscription, initiated the politicization of the whole nation … this became a people’s war, a total war.”

Achieving Political-Military Balance: 

When both people and military turn to offensive doctrine, there should be increased political movement by directing and controlling violence. Otto Von Bismarck’s able handling of politics during unification of Germany best describes usage of this strategy. When this civil-military balance was uneven under Napoleon’s France and Hitler’s Germany, the army dominated international politics leading to often pointless conflicts and exhausting armies. Nevertheless, Politics alone cannot redefine the international conflict environment because it would lead to prolonged decision making and make a nation’s border fragile.

A multi-front threat demands an in-depth civil-military relationship to balance political guidance and oversight with sufficient military autonomy regarding how and when to use its power when the time to confer is unavailable. For the successful execution of such a model, the military must understand political imperatives and be educated in political matters. The importance of accelerating political-military synergy implies the need for a two-way conversation. it’s not enough for the political leadership to set a Clausewitzian policy and expect the military to deliver. The military must engage with the method , identifying policies that aren’t implementable.

By war I, the political aim was impossible to realize through available military means, but the acute political-military separation did not allow the latter to express this. Thus, a sound political-military relationship is critical in tackling multiple enemies. The proper balance allows the two forms of power to work together in tackling the various combinations of threats and opportunities presented by an increasing number of enemies. Furthermore, the political and military establishments must share a standard vision of peace for the regional system as a whole, something on which Bismarck and Moltke couldn’t agree.

Investing in war tools: 

An important issue in multi-front threats is to determine the forms of military power that would serve as the primary tools of war. Since all commanders relied on offensive doctrines, requiring either swift movement or quick switching between multiple fronts, they needed the foremost mobile and versatile forms of combat power. However, despite this logistical need, the predominance of an infantry mindset (or the other established doctrine) has historically acted as an impediment to investment in other forms of mobility and firepower.

Before Napoleon’s time, artillery had to struggle to prove its worth. it had been the same with armor in the German army. Later, airpower had to form its case in the Israeli military. Believers within the existing paradigms do not easily accept the emergence of new ones. Yet, it had been the adoption of these innovations that resulted in the military successes of countries against the larger numerical strengths of coalitions. 

Improvising strategizing: 

When faced with multiple enemies the only nation must first decide between an offensive and defensive stance. wouldn’t it be better for it to attack on all fronts or hold one country at bay while swiftly defeating the other? The most important variable in this is time, i.e. which enemy was a more impending threat and which might be defeated first. It had been because Russia had greater depth and would take longer to raise and generate combat power that von Moltke decided to tackle it after defeating France.

The only nation that has outfought multiple enemies has relied as much on how it generates strategy as on the technological means it has applied, with grand strategy aligned with military strategy. In all cases, the national politico-military strategies has had the institutional ability to direct war effectively and strategy was driven top-down. In France, it had been Napoleon who “primarily concerned himself with strategy, sensibly leaving tactical matters to his field commanders.” 

Key takeaways for effective strategy building: 

  • When a nation is faced with multiple threats, it must formulate appropriate strategies. The subsequent points summarize the strategies employed by France, Germany and Israel, in various points of their history, to handle two- or multi-front conflicts.
  • The nations ensured a nimble politico-military synergy, which involved controlling and assessing diplomacy . The structure of civil-military relations had to be good , with no dominance of either.
  • Military success needed an apex body or an individual to generate a strategy for war. the only nation always had one such person or staff organization working to split the seams of the enemies’ strategy.
  • The single nation worked hard to invest in the raising, movement and application of wartime combat power, at a speed faster than the enemies’. The technological and organizational means of implementing this may need varied with time, but continuous thought went into effecting this application. Enhanced mobility was a standard capability that each successful military depended on.
  • In all three cases the single nation’s strategy turned more offensive in an endeavor to either destroy one enemy before switching to the next, or to discourage aggression. This Clausewitzian aim of destroying the enemy isn’t an automatic measure of victory for every military; it is only one amongst many potential measures of victory. However, switching wasn’t always possible.
  • Outnumbered militaries put effort into developing operational concepts to even the chances . These depended greatly on asymmetric usage of latest technologies in combined arms warfare.
  • Militaries consciously invested during a few key infrastructures such as railroads and the indigenous arms industry, or elite arms like armor, paratroopers, and airpower to supply exponential combat power at affordable costs.
  • To raise combat power, the nations rapidly raised forces by mobilizing an outsized part of the population, thereby keeping costs down during peacetime.
  • The militaries trusted short wars for success and were hard-pressed when wars extended beyond their expectations.
  • While leaders rarely realized the bounds of military power, once they did, the country benefited. As an example , unified Germany under Bismarck and post-1979 Israel used politics to unravel what was militarily unsolvable.
Abhilaksh Dhankhar
Abhilaksh Dhankharhttps://www.storifynews.com/
Abhilaksh Dhankhar is a Orator, Writer, Analyzer of geopolitical scenarios and military strategies. He has attended numerous conferences around the world on politics and has been conferred with more than 5 international awards. Abhilaksh also served as esteemed jury member in diplomatic meets. His vision to expand the ideals of international diplomacy made his self-initiated project "Drona" to be recognized as top ten most sustainable projects in India. 11 times, he has been selected for Harvard's Asia conferences and international relations programs. He worked with UNESCO under project RAISE to remove the gender disparity in the society. Abhilaksh constantly likes to spread his ideas and delivers effective seminars and sessions around the world, so far teaching more than 200 youngsters.

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