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The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914 Hardcover – Oct 1984

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr (October 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801416574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801416576
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
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Product Description

Review

"This is a penetrating account, filled with valuable theoretical insights, of the military planning in France, Germany, and Russia on the eve of the First World War. Using the analytical approach of controlled comparison, Jack Snyder examines the role of doctrinal and organizational biases in military decision making and operational planning. . . . Snyder is superb in detailing Russian war planning in this era, providing the best account in English on this topic."—Orbis



"Snyder has made a significant contribution to strategic thought."—Military Review



"One of the best comparative surveys of the war plans and strategic thinking of the General Staffs from the Franco-Prussian War to 1914. . . . An ambitious and interesting book both in its historical scope and in its theoretical implications for military decision making."—Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science



"Jack Snyder has a keen sensitivity to major pre-war diplomatic and strategic policy; there are few events which have escaped his notice and scarcely any material which he has not covered. Much of what he says will be of great and new interest to strategic historians."—Samuel R. Williamson, Jr., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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 of The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914; Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (both published by Cornell); and From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict; and is the coeditor of Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ec1bb10) out of 5 stars 1 review
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ec1cc60) 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).


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