J.F.C. Fuller: His View On Politicians & National Force

J.F.C. FullerJohn F.C. Fuller was one of the leading theorists on armored warfare during the 1920s and 1930s. During World War-I he served in the newly formed Tank Corps, and responsible for implementing the tank on the European battlefield. Even though the tank faced serious problems and often broke down. 
Fuller was able to see the potential of this new weapon and its impact on warfare (Fuller 1993). Fuller was a strong supporter of understanding how technological advances could affect the conduct of war and then apply it on the battlefield.

Fuller‟s writings span nearly 6 decades, covering topics such as mysticism and cabbala, news reports, military theory, and history. In The Reformation of War (1923) and Foundations of the Science of War (1926), Fuller presented his views on war as a scientific activity. 
The misconduct of World War I led Fuller to believe that the use of force needed a better foundation – a scientific foundation. Fuller believed that the two world wars of the 20th century showed lack of understanding of how military force should be directed in order to obtain the true objective of war: a better peace (Fuller 1993).

Fuller argued for a strong political control of the military forces and believed that a great cause of war is the lack of civil control of the military, or as Fuller wrote: “due to the existence of a hiatus between the mentalities of the nation and its army” (Fuller 1923: 11). Fuller explains: “It frequently arises, however, especially in prosperous nations, that the national will to hunt for wealth is so great that it monopolizes all their efforts, and, consequently, that little thought is given to the maintenance and protection of their wealth through military action. In these circumstances, an army, which should be of the nation, becomes separated from it”. 

Fuller underlines the importance of a strong civil presence in the study of war: “To restrict the development of war by divorcing it from civil science is to maintain warfare in its present barbarous and alchemical form. To look upon war as a world force and attempt to utilize it more profitably is surely better” (Fuller 1993: 32). Fuller argued that politicians should take an active role in the development of their armed forces because these forces should serve the interests of the nations formulated by the politicians. And in order for politicians to take a constructive role in this development, they need to be educated. 


Fuller writes in the preface to The Reformation of War “I have not written this book for military monks, but for civilians, who pay for their alchemy and mysteries” (Fuller 1923: xii), and sums up his efforts in the epilogue: “In order to protect our homes and our institutions we must not only protect our army and look upon it as our shield against adversity, but we must determine whether the shield we have is worthy to protect us. 


In the book, he examined the possibilities of future warfare in order to lead up to this conclusion.
"I feel that I have written enough to enable any intelligent citizen, after he has studied what I have said, to turn to the army he is paying for in order to maintain the peace which he enjoys and to say: "Thou art, or thou art not, found wanting” (Fuller 1923: 282-283).Fuller wanted to create a manual for politicians so that they could better understand how the use of force should be applied in order to serve the nation‟s interests."