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Adopting a Recipe for Success: Modern Armed Forces and the Institutionalization of the Principles of War
Uppsala universitet, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Military Studies, War Studies Division, Sektionen för marina operationer (KV Marin).
2012 (English)In: Comparative Strategy, ISSN 0149-5933, E-ISSN 1521-0448, Vol. 31, no 3, 263-285 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The prevailing explanation of the institutionalization of the principles of war is misleading. Although the introduction of the principles into Western doctrine coincided with total war and the need to train unprecedented numbers of soldiers and junior officers in tactics, the fact that the principles disappeared from doctrines immediately prior to and during the Second World War suggests that they were not institutionalized to meet an increased need to educate the military. Instead, we test two other explanations: one drawing on the principles’ military effectiveness and one drawing upon the principles’ explanatory power. We find that neither one of these hypotheses stand. Instead, we conclude by elaborating on how the institutionalization of the principles of war can be made understandable using non-rationalist frameworks, in particular the growth of a particular kind of identity of staff officers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. According to this framework, the two world wars interrupted—rather than promoted—the institutionalization of the principles, since the wars with their large death tolls and mass recruitment increased the difficulties of creating a separate and unique identity for the burgeoning corps of staff officers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2012. Vol. 31, no 3, 263-285 p.
Keyword [en]
War, Principles, Modern Armed Forces, Military Theory
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3066DOI: 10.1080/01495933.2012.692240OAI: diva2:579211
Available from: 2012-12-19 Created: 2012-12-19 Last updated: 2014-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Ångström, JanWidén, Jerker
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