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Adopting a Recipe for Success: Modern Armed Forces and the Institutionalization of the Principles of War
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
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
Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, 2012. Vol. 31, no 3, 263-285 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-188642DOI: 10.1080/01495933.2012.692240OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-188642DiVA: diva2:578493
Available from: 2012-12-18 Created: 2012-12-18 Last updated: 2014-08-21Bibliographically approved

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Ångström, Jan
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