The Theory of Strategy


Liddel Hart
Before going forward let's be clear on what strategy is. As per Clausewitz, in his significant work ON WAR  defined it as the " the employment of the battle as the means towards the attainment of the object of the War.". In other words strategy forms, the general outline or the plan of the war point out the course of action for different campaigns which compose the war and modulate each battle.

One defect of this definition is that it intrudes on the sphere of policy, or the higher conduct of the war, which must necessarily be the responsibility of the government and not of the military leaders it employs as its agents in the executive control of operations. Another defect is that it narrows the meaning of ‘strategy’ to the pure utilization of battle, thus conveying the idea that battle is the only means to the strategical end. It was an easy step for Clausewitz's less profound disciples to confuse the means with the end and to reach the conclusion that in war every other consideration should be subordinated to the aim of fighting a decisive battle.

The Military Maxims of Napoleon

Compiled by General Burnod
First published in 1827

1. The frontiers of nations are either large rivers, or chains of mountains, or deserts. Of all these obstacles to the march of an army, deserts are the most difficult to surmount; mountains come next, and large rivers hold only the third rank.

2. A plan of the campaign should anticipate everything which the enemy can do, and contain within itself the means of thwarting him. Plans of the campaign may be infinitely modified according to the circumstances, the genius of the commander, the quality of the troops and the topography of the theater of war.

Elements of National Power

The four basic elements of national power are
  • Diplomacy
  • Economy
  • Information
  • Military
It includes influencing the international issues, situation and crisis via Bi-Lateral and Multilateral agreements, negotiations, MOUs and engagements with countries’ State Department or Foreign Office taking the overall lead. The Diplomatic elements are conducted with foreign nations United Nations and with International Non-Governmental Organizations.Example: United States’ State Department

Type of Arms Trade

Type of Arms Trade

The term 'Licensing' refers to the case where the production takes place on the basis of licensing agreement between 2 companies if 2 different countries whereas the term “Unlicensed” production boot out the original holder of technology as well as the cases where the right of production is inherited by another legal entity(in case of successor states of USSR).
Also, term licensed or unlicensed merely indicate whether the production is based on licensed agreement or not; it didn’t say anything about whether the company is authorized by its government to produce weapons in question.

Arms Aid: Factsheet

Arms Aid is one of the most common and most prevalent methods of arms transfer. Aid often comes in form of money for the foreign military to buy weapon & equipment from the donor country. This aid is given to the countries in an alliance( Mutual Defence Assistance Programme-NATO), recipient countries which have a strategic partnership with donor countries or on a humanitarian basis.

Arms Trade

Arms Trade
Source: Wikipedia

The two ways of international arms transfer are:
Arms Trade
Arms Aid 

Because of the secret nature of many arms transaction, the difficulty arises in describing the boundaries of each of the above 2 categories.

Arms Trade in simpler terms is the process via which manufacturing countries along with private companies sell their weapons systems in the international arms market. Just like any other market fierce competition exist among the arms-producing nations/companies exist in the non-producing countries.

Theories of Conflict

Theories of Conflict

From the last 2 decades, there has been a tremendous growth towards approach on the study of conflict and conflict management.The exact boundary of this emerging field is difficult to ascertain reason being many scholars and writers have been distinguishing between sub-categories of this field. They are operating in different domains such as court and legal system, public policy, labor-management relations, inter-ethnic relations and international diplomacy and have deduced their ideas from the variety of sources such as law, psychology, management theories, group dynamics, peace research, decision theory, and sociology. 

India's Research and Development (R&D)

The research environment in India exhibits a substantial opportunity for MNCs across the globe due to the intellectual capacity present in the country.  Numerous Indian engineers and management personnel are working across the globe showcasing the highly trained manpower available at minimal cost. Thus resulting in several MNCs have shifted or in the process of shifting their research and development (R&D) base to India. These R&D bases are either focused on product development or to serve the local market or to benefit the parent organization by developing a new innovative generation of products faster to the market across the world.

Evolution of Soviet Military Doctrine: Pre-Gulf War Era (1990-91)

Gulf War 1991
Immediate Pre-Gulf War Era (1990-91)

This period marked the
  • end of communism, 
  • the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, 
  • the dissolution of the Soviet Republic,
  • the rise of Yeltsin, and 
  • formation of the Russian Federation. 

Soviet Military Doctrine : Under Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev

Gorbachev's Era (1983-89)
This era saw perhaps the most sweeping changes in Soviet military doctrine. In the early part of this period, the doctrine changed very little from what it had been under Brezhnev. In the mid-1980s, Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) markedly accelerated changes in military doctrine. An emphasis on the strategic defense, rather than preemptive offensive conventional strikes, marked the doctrine emerging from this period.

Soviet Military Doctrine : Under Brezhnev

Soviet Military Doctrine : Under Brezhnev

Brezhnev's Era (1964-82)
Only minor changes in thought regarding the nature of future war occurred under Brezhnev. Given the massive nuclear capabilities on both sides, military doctrine during this era reflected a belief that conflict would eventually involve large-scale exchanges of nuclear weapons. Conventional options and the concept of strategic operations within the Western TVD opposite NATO became dominant.

Soviet Military Doctrine : Under Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev

Khrushchev's Era (1954-64)
Freed from the stupefying control of Stalin, military doctrine changed significantly under Khrushchev. The major doctrinal trend was to adopt the new nuclear weapons, missile technology, and means of conflict to the old views and concepts of future war. Khrushchev dropped the idea of the inevitability of war between socialism and capitalism. He did not see war as a protracted affair between massed conventional ground forces in Europe. 

Evolution of Soviet Military Doctrine: Under Stalin

Joseph Stalin

Soviet military doctrine changed because of changes in the same complex interrelationships that formed it international political and military environments, foreign military doctrines, history, technology, ideology, and internal political, social moral, and economic constraints. The perceived strategic imbalance has been the prime motivator in the Soviets doctrinal evolution. 

Soviet Military Doctrine

Soviet Military Doctrine
Military doctrine is the system of views that a state holds at a given time on the purpose and character of war, on the preparation of the country and the armed forces for it, and also on the methods of waging it. Military doctrine has two aspects: the political and the military-technical. The former sets out the political purposes and character of war and the way in which these affect the development of the armed forces and the preparation of the country for war. The military-technical aspect deals with the methods of waging war, an organization of the armed forces, their technical equipment, and combat readiness.

Sleep of the Saved

Winston Churchill

While the United States was still reeling over the growing number of casualties and the destruction some of its mightiest battleships, Churchill saw an opportunity. The early years of World War II had been incredibly difficult for England, as Germany proved to be a brutal foe. The Nazis seemed unstoppable and the British forces weren’t far from defeat.

Clausewitz: On War (Part-2)

Clausewitz: On War

The political object of war
The political object of the war had been rather overshadowed by the law of extremes, the will to overcome the enemy and make him powerless. But as this law begins to lose its force and as this determination wanes, the political aim will reassert itself. If it is all a calculation of probabilities based on given individuals and conditions, the political object, which was the original motive, must become an essential factor in the equation. The smaller the penalty

Clausewitz: On War (Part-1)

If one looks closely he will find that War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale. Countless duels go to make up war, but a picture of it as a whole can be formed by imagining a pair of wrestlers. Each tries through physical force to compel the other to do his will; his immediate aim is to throw his opponent in order to make him incapable of further resistance.

Clausewitz definition of warWar is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.
Force, to counter opposing force, equips itself with the inventions of art and science. Attached to force are certain self-imposed, imperceptible limitations hardly worth mentioning, known as international law and custom, but they scarcely weaken it. 

Carl von Clausewitz: Biography

Carl von Clausewitz

Carl Philip Gottfried von Clausewitz (1 June 1780 - 16 November 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who focused on the moral (i.e. psychological) and political aspect of war.
Among all his work his prime piece “On War” was unfinished till his death which was later published by his widow Marie von Bruhl in 1832.

Jomini: Offensive-Defensive

Jomini defined both the offensive and defensive war and proposed that offensive war for a single operation is somewhat taking an initiative and nearly always it is advantageous
Before reading this article i would recomend you to read → Jomini Biography as it would give an insight how he evolved as a strategist.

Jomini was a great proponent of offensive warfare. As in (ARTICLE XVI.(OF STRATEGIC COMBINATIONShe clearly defined both the offensive and defensive war and proposed that offensive war for a single operation is somewhat taking an initiative and nearly always it is advantageous
"it carries the war upon foreign soil, saves the assailant’s country from devastation, increases his resources and diminishes those of his enemy, elevates the morale of his army, and generally depresses the adversary."

JOMINI: Art of War

Antoine Henri Jomini
Antoine Henri Jomini
Jomini’s major contribution to the Art of War concern’s the tangible i.e. physical aspect of warfare. Under all his theories on the subject lies the fundamental principle which defined in the below four maxims (Chapter 3: Section: THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF WA

(1) To throw by strategic movements the mass of an army successively, upon the decisive points of a theater of war, and also upon the communications of the enemy as much as possible without compromising one's own.

Jomini : Biography

The 18th and 19th century were centuries full of conflict for Europe. Napolean's war raged between France and series of 3 coalitions of European Countries from 1792-1815. These conflict also produced few greatest military thinkers of all time.Napolean who often regarded as a great military strategist left no written records of his concepts and his military applications but mostly penned mostly novellas, essays, etc.
But thanks to 2 men for recording analyzing and interpreting his strategy and contributions:
  1. Antoine-Henri, Baron Jomini (6 March 1779 – 24 March 1869)
  2. Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz[1] (1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831)

Antoine Henri Jomini
Antoine Henri Jomini
Antoine-Henri, Baron Jomini was the first among the military thinkers who analyzed Napoleon’s warfare tactics. Swiss by birth Jomini joined the French Army. He was working backend i.e as a staff officer throughout his career.

In 1806 after publishing his views on the current war with Prussia and his exceptional knowledge of Fredrick the Great's campaign made Napolean appoint him at his headquarters. Later he was offered to join Russian Armed service which he did after the consent of both countries. But was caught in a flux when the war between the France and Russia started which he tackled by engaging as non-combatant in the communications area.

In his later life, he started Military Academy of St Petersburg (1826) in Russia and then retired in France where he advised Napoleon III for the Italian campaign (1859) and died on 22 March 1869, in Paris at the age of 90.

The famous quote for Jomini was “Devin de Napoléon” or the man who guessed what Napoleon was about.

He along with Clausewitz had done for Defence Studies what Adam Smith had done for Economics.

Yalta Agreement

The Yalta Conference, Crimea, February 1945
The Yalta Conference, Crimea, February 1945
11 Feb 1945

The leaders of the three Great Powers-the Soviet Union, the United States of America and Great Britain-have agreed that in two or three months after Germany has surrendered and the war in Europe has terminated the Soviet Union shall enter into the war against Japan on the side of the Allies on condition that :

Munich Pact

Munich Pact
1938 New York Times
reporting Munich Pact

On 30th September 1938 Munich Pact was signed between
  1. Great Britain
  2. Italy
  3. Germany
  4. France
What Munich Pact really showed was Europe's Policy of appeasement towards Hitler's expansionist desires. The pact was aimed to prevent war in Europe by allowing small territories desired by Hitler to calm his appetite.

Sun Tzu : Strategy in Art of War

In thirteen chapters, Sun Tzu wrote a remarkable concise work that defines a sophisticated science in a deliberative manner. We can summarize its content in three strategies
    Sun Tzu : Strategy in Art of War
  • Positional strategy, the methods for mapping the relative strengths and weakness of competitive positions
  • Expansion strategy, which identifies and explores opportunities to advance and build up positions.
  • Situation response, which specifies the responses required to address a specific competitive situation.

Britain Strategy: WW2

In 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain regarded Munich Pact as “peace in our time”.
PM Neville Chamberlain
arriving at Heston airport
with the non-aggression pact in hand
In 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler thereby handing Czechoslovakia to Germany and regarded this peace in our time”. In September 1939 with Hitler’s invasion of Poland that peace was shattered. Chamberlain declared war against Germany but proved ill-equipped in providing protection to Europe from Nazi invasion. After British forces failed to deter Nazi forces from taking over Norway in April 1940 and Hitler’s invasion of Holland, Belgium & Netherland. Chamberlain lost confidence and Churchill came into power.

Neville Chamberlain "Peace in our Time"

After the summit, the British prime minister Chamberlain returned to the UK where he declared that the Munich agreement meant "peace for our time"

In 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler thereby handing Czechoslovakia to Germany and regarded this “peace in our time”.
It is regarded as a biggest irony before the world war 2 as in September 1939 with Hitler’s invasion of Poland that peace was shattered.

Churchill's Address to Joint Session of US Congress, 1941

Following is the transcript of Churchill's Address to Joint Session of US Congress, 1941 :

Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives of the United States, I feel greatly honored that you should have thus invited me to enter the United States Senate Chamber and address the representatives of both branches of Congress. The fact that my American forebears have for so many generations played their part in the life of the United States, and that here I am, an Englishman, welcomed in your midst, makes this experience one of the most moving and thrilling in my life, which is already long and has not been entirely uneventful. 

US Color Coded War Plans

The United States Color Coded War Plans were the realistic response designed for the domestic and international affairs
Chicago Daily reporting
on FDR's War Plan
CThe United States Color Coded War Plans were the realistic response designed for the domestic and international affairs.These plans were based on real and practical world alliances and developments that were taking place in the early 1900s.The basic aim of these plans was to address the strategic problems which could arise in case of a conflict with a particular country.                

Secondly, the existence of these plans was because of Monroe Doctrine for the contingencies for or against the very nations in the Western Hemisphere.

Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Winston Churchill Speech in the British Parliament, on May 13, 1940
Following is the transcript of the Winston Churchill Speech in the British Parliament, on May 13, 1940:

On Friday evening last I received from His Majesty the mission to form a new administration. It was the evident will of' Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties.

American Strategy: WW2

American Strategy
 Members of the
War Department General Staff
and the War Plans Division,
November 1941
On September 1, 1939, the day when the WW2 broke out with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. The US (country along with armed forces) was pretty much divided on the possible course of action suitable for the US.It was
  • Creating isolation and unilateral defense of entire North America if it was attacked either by 1 or all of the AXIS forces. 
  • Shift of US defense concentrations in the Western Pacific to protect its interests (esp. Philippines)
  • Unilateral defense of the entire Western Hemisphere. This was because of the Monroe Doctrine in which it stated that “any efforts by European nations to take control of an independent state in North or South America would be viewed as "the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States “. It also resulted in the Organization of American States 

Grand Alliance

Grand alliance or THE BIG THREE was the strategic military alliance between United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain
The Yalta Conference, Crimea, February 1945
Grand alliance or THE BIG THREE was the strategic military alliance between United States (Greatest capitalist country), Soviet Union (Greatest communist country) and Great Britain (Greatest colonist country).

Allies Strategy : WW2

Grand Alliance
American Strategy: WW2

Also Read
  • Rainbow Plan
  • US Color Coded War Plans
  • Monroe Doctrine
  • How all the branches of US armed forces come to the conclusion to Rainbow 5
  • Organisation of America