The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making a... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The Ideology of the Offensive on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914 [Hardcover]

Jack L. Snyder
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition CDN $11.23  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $29.92  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

October 1984 Cornell Studies in Security Affairs

Jack Snyder's analysis of the attitudes of military planners in the years prior to the Great War offers new insight into the tragic miscalculations of that era and into their possible parallels in present-day war planning. By 1914, the European military powers had adopted offensive military strategies even though there was considerable evidence to support the notion that much greater advantage lay with defensive strategies. The author argues that organizational biases inherent in military strategists' attitudes make war more likely by encouraging offensive postures even when the motive is self-defense.

Drawing on new historical evidence of the specific circumstances surrounding French, German, and Russian strategic policy, Snyder demonstrates that it is not only rational analysis that determines strategic doctrine, but also the attitudes of military planners. Snyder argues that the use of rational calculation often falls victim to the pursuit of organizational interests such as autonomy, prestige, growth, and wealth. Furthermore, efforts to justify the preferred policy bring biases into strategists' decisions-biases reflecting the influences of parochial interests and preconceptions, and those resulting from attempts to simplify unduly their analytical tasks.

The frightening lesson here is that doctrines can be destabilizing even when weapons are not, because doctrine may be more responsive to the organizational needs of the military than to the implications of the prevailing weapons technology. By examining the historical failure of offensive doctrine, Jack Snyder makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the causes of war.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

About the Author

Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He is the author ofThe Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914;Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition(both published by Cornell); andFrom Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict; and is the coeditor ofCivil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
All of the major continental powers entered World War I with offensive strategies; all suffered huge strategic costs when, predictably, their offensives failed to achieve their ambitious aims. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Essentially, this book argues that:: the greater that military power and resources are pursued under the belief of military defense - the greater the propensity for military resources to be used offensively.
Military power is one of the primary sources of national power. For many countries, military power has in essence become a national resource. Yet today, almost every country with significant military resources claims that its military power is pursued strictly for defensive purposes only. However, despite these claims of military defensiveness, most countries of significant world power have developed an inherent "offensive bias" within their military doctrines and organizational structures. Hence, the old maxim that 'the best defense is a good offense' is taken quite literally by world power militaries - much more so than John Q. Public realizes.
This book explores this innate propensity within strong military cultures for an "ideology of the offensive". When this innate, military offensive bias is taken to the extreme, political efforts can be abandoned in lieu of an offensive first-strike capability under the sincere belief (not guise) that such offensive first-strikes are necessary in order to take advantage of strategic 'windows of opportunity'. Hence a military first-strike offensive attack is literally pursued in the name of military 'defense'.
Although this book was first written in 1992 and primarily deals with significant wars of the past (e.g. W.W.I), it explores a highly current and credible concept. For any simple, competent, military analysis will reveal that this book quite aptly describes the recent kinetic energy of military power as exercised by the Bush Administration against Saddam Hussein / Iraq.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any military defense is an inherent military offense. April 27 2004
By i-Palikar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Essentially, this book argues that:: the greater that military power and resources are pursued under the belief of military defense - the greater the propensity for military resources to be used offensively.
Military power is one of the primary sources of national power. For many countries, military power has in essence become a national resource. Yet today, almost every country with significant military resources claims that its military power is pursued strictly for defensive purposes only. However, despite these claims of military defensiveness, most countries of significant world power have developed an inherent "offensive bias" within their military doctrines and organizational structures. Hence, the old maxim that `the best defense is a good offense' is taken quite literally by world power militaries - much more so than John Q. Public realizes.
This book explores this innate propensity within strong military cultures for an "ideology of the offensive". When this innate, military offensive bias is taken to the extreme, political efforts can be abandoned in lieu of an offensive first-strike capability under the sincere belief (not guise) that such offensive first-strikes are necessary in order to take advantage of strategic `windows of opportunity'. Hence a military first-strike offensive attack is literally pursued in the name of military `defense'.
Although this book was first written in 1992 and primarily deals with significant wars of the past (e.g. W.W.I), it explores a highly current and credible concept. For any simple, competent, military analysis will reveal that this book quite aptly describes the recent kinetic energy of military power as exercised by the Bush Administration against Saddam Hussein / Iraq.
Appropriately, this is book does not present any value judgement as to whether or not such offensive wars in the name of defense are morally or politically good or bad. Rather, this book presents an operational judgement of what inherently takes place in the generation of war for the pursuit of peace.
What makes this book so timely in today's world affairs is the recent Bush Administration decision to pursue an offensive war in the name of defense against Saddam Hussein / Iraq. The United States has long professed (and deeply believed) that its military power is strictly for defensive purposes only. And under the umbrella of this deep belief, in cannot be denied that the current Bush Administration has actively pursued a totally new US military doctine - offensive war in the name of defense - which has resulted in the US occupation of Iraq.
This analysis is not presented as a value judgement as to whether or not this recent US offensive against Iraq war is morally or politically good or bad. However, it cannot be denied that such recent military offensive actions by the United States will forever change world perception, opinion and concern about how the United States may exercise its vast technologically advanced military power in the future. And this world perception, opinion and concern about the exercise of US military power will undoubtedly affect world politics.
More importantly, the political nuances of this recent US offensive first-strike war against Iraq present even more anecdotal, high quality evidence that this military theory as presented by the author (Jack Snyder) is both timeless and highly credible in understanding the nature of war. As a senior military officer of more than 27 years active duty, I strongly believe that this book is `a must' for any serious student of war (especially against the paradigm of war as a continuation of policy by other means).
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback