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Strategic works of Clausewitz and Jomini shaped the development of maritime strategy. Clausewitz and Jomini developed general strategic principles that were later applied by naval strategists developing modern maritime tactics. Before considering modern maritime strategy, the paper must set the stage for the intellectual, technological, and social developments. Outline Introduction Discussion Jominis ideas and background Clausewitz ideas and background Jominis and Clausewitzs Influence on Mahan and Corbett Implementation of Jominis and Clausewitzs ideas and principles in maritime strategy Conclusion Do Clausewitz and Jomini Have Anything to Offer the Maritime Strategist? Antoine-Henri, baron Jomini was French general, who later in his career was in Russian service, is one of the most famous theorists on war of the Napoleonic era. Jomini was born in Switzerland. Jominis military writings were advanced thanks to the use of geometry.
His recipe for success was quite simple to put superior combat power at the decisive point. Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz was a Prussian military historian and theorist. Clausewitz is famous for his military writing On War. Clausewitz died and have not completed his work; however, his ideas have been influential in military theory. Clausewitzs war strategy relied of resistance which deranges all prior arrangements. Jomini and Clausewitz were the most influential military strategists, on whose works future military teachings relied. Jomini analyzed past military operations in order to deduce from them the principles upon which success in battle was based. A contemporary of Jominis, the Prussian Clausewitz, was soon to use the philosophical approach to develop independently theories remarkably similar to those of Jomini.
Another Prussian, Von Schlieffen, building on the foundations of Clausewitz, but developing his own strategic analyses, was to conceive in 1905 the basic strategy which would bring Germany to the threshold of victory in two world wars. Mahan, after similar analytical study of naval history and the operations of sea power, would profoundly influence military, naval, and political thinking during the first half of the twentieth century. In his meticulous studies of contemporary accounts of this brilliant campaign, Jomini noticed the constant repetition of certain characteristics in the operations of the twenty-seven-year-old General Bonaparte. He saw that Napoleon scorned the deliberate, stylized maneuvers of his eighteenth-century opponents, moving instead promptly and vigorously to achieve quick decisions under circumstances which he was able to dictate by constantly retaining the initiative. In particular, Jomini noticed that Bonaparte kept his army concentrated, while the far larger hostile forces carried out complex and ponderous diverging and converging maneuvers. Then would came the typically Napoleonic stroke: the bulk of his army massed to deliver a lightning hammer blow to overwhelm one detached element of the enemy forces, while the remaining fraction of his army was keeping other slow-moving enemy columns from interfering.
It is easy for us to deduce from this Napoleonic pattern observed by Jomini all nine of the now accepted principles of war. But, with the possible exception of the great captains themselves, no one before Jomini had had the remotest thought that the art of war could be thus distilled into a few, simple fundamentals. Much less had anyone endeavored to complete the analytical process of distillation. In the same way it is easy for the young chemistry student to repeat Lavoisiers experiments, but it took the scientific analysis of a genius to deduce from the limited knowledge of his times and from the observation of natural phenomena that such experiments were possible. By 1804 Jomini had written his Treatise on Great Military Operations, which in 1805 came to the attention of Marshal Ney, one of Napoleons principal subordinates. Ney was so impressed that he furnished money to have the book published, and accepted Jomini as his aide-de-camp.
Thus it was that Jomini participated in Napoleons operations in central Europe, which began with the Ulm campaign in 1805. As that campaign got under way, Jomini quickly grasped Napoleon's strategy. Since this and Napoleon's two subsequent campaigns, in which Jomini participated, were perhaps the most masterly sequence of strategic and tactical combinations in the history of warfare, it might be well to see just how they were analyzed by the brilliant young Swiss officer. Early modern naval history has been dignified by the work of a series of famous and distinguished scholars: Mahan, Corbett, Richmond, and Nicholas Rodger who relied on Jominis writings. The early modern naval era is valuable in at least four ways. First, there is its intrinsic historical fascination.
It involves the story of the greatest imperial sea power which has ever existed -- a power which created the strategic context and traditions for modern world navies. Second, it constitutes the historical basis of the ideas of Mahan and Corbett, without which we cannot properly understand them without knowledge of the Napoleonic wars and Clausewitz works. Third, the early modern era remains a tool of professional officer education, which casts light on the nature of state navies by studying their origins, and which offers great lessons in leadership, particularly based on works of Jomini. The early modern era is immensely useful, but it was and to an extent still is mythologized in various ways. Corbett, for example, criticized the way in which the divine status attributed to Nelson had enshrined the idea of decisive fleet action beyond the strategic context of which Nelson was very aware. Military services are like churches, with their ranks and hierarchies, ceremonies and traditions, doctrines and heresies, sinners and saints. Historians must continue to demythologize early modern naval history so as to elucidate its lessons.
The flexibility of sea power derives from the fact that the worlds land area is essentially insular in geostrategic character (and much of that land area is penetrated by navigable rivers). Seventy-one per cent of the surface of the earth is water, a significant percentage of the worlds population lives within 200 kilometers of the sea, and naval power can loiter with variable menace for long periods without intruding into geography owned by friends or potential foes. According to Clausewitz, some of the advantages of sea power also can be viewed as limitations, or indeed are strictly chimerical for many second-class navies. Notwithstanding the occasional feasibility of cunning stratagems and devilish devices that can offset brute superiority, the sea, in common with the air and earth orbit, is unforgiving of weakness. The substantially uniform aspects to those geographical environments deny the second-class navy, air force, or space force, anywhere in which to hide with confidence. Clausewitz insisted plausibly that defense is the stronger form of waging war on land. At sea, as Mahan noted in contrast, the offence has a systemic advantage. On land, the side on the tactical offensive has to expose itself as it moves, while the tactical defensive can prepare the ground and remain more or less under cover.
At sea, in the air, and in space, the reality of strategys grammar is that both tactical offence and defense must expose themselves. Alfred Thayer Mahan is one of the most famous naval theorists. Mahans naval theories, being based as we have seen on sound, fundamental principles, have not been outmoded by the development of new and modern weapons and techniques. They are as valid in an age of air power as they were half a century ago. During the American Civil War, Mahan proposed to the Navy Department a scheme for capturing or destroying the Southern commerce raiders which were driving American shipping from the seas. This scheme, ignored by the Navy authorities, was almost identical with that adopted by the British mystery ships in World War I; it envisaged placing a few powerful guns on small, fast ships which then, disguised as slow, lubberly merchant vessels, would decoy raiders within range of their destructive weapons. Otherwise the young Mahans war service was uneventful. Although he was on vessels that did participate in some coastal bombardments and in the blockade, as well as in high-seas searches for Southern raiders, he did not take part in any of the major naval actions of the war.
It was readily apparent to Mahan that the fundamental principles of war as expressed by Jomini and Clausewitz were as applicable to war on the sea as to that on land. For that reason he was as prone to use historical examples from military operations on land as from naval actions to demonstrate principles, tactics, and strategy, even in his book entitled Naval Strategy. Like great European military theorists Jomini and Clausewitz, Mahan was convinced that lessons in leadership could best be learned through the study of the reactions of great leaders in past history to the situations which faced them. Mahan, like Clausewitz, saw clearly that war was an instrument of national policy. As a consequence, in order to set warfare--and particularly naval warfare--in proper perspective, he devoted himself to exhaustive study and analysis of national policies in his historical works, as well as to the application of historical lessons to the international affairs of his time. As a rule, strategy concerns itself with those large-scale measures which serve to bring the forces into play at the decisive point under the most favorable conditions possible." (Clausewitz, trans.
Howard, 1976) This was to result in a reputation as an expert in international relations as well deserved, and as universally acknowledged, as in his favorite subject of naval strategy and tactics. He was, in truth, one of the first in the field which we now call geopolitics. Mahans studies convinced him of the obligation of the United States to exert an influence in world affairs commensurate with its power, as well as to contribute to the general welfare of the world. This resulted in his conversion from isolationism to imperialism as the best means then available to his country to participate actively in international affairs. His writings undoubtedly started the American people thinking about manifest destiny, and he strongly influenced his great friend Theodore Roosevelt. He has been condemned for his imperialism, yet his writings certainly make clear his understanding that the best interests of the United States required its active participation in world affairs. It can only be assumed, therefore, that he would be in full accord with the role of the United States today as the liberal leader of Western internationalism. Mahans contribution to naval warfare was similar to that of Jomini to land warfare.
At the same time, Mahans studies were based on Clausewitz theories on the relationship of politics to military affairs. Mahan as a student of Jomini, also endorsed Clausewitz strategic principles. He recognized that both these writers, who approached their subject in different ways, were fundamentally in accord. Through analysis and study Mahan reduced to theory the power factors, practices, and policies which, despite trial and error and a certain amount of blind fumbling, had guided the development of British sea power and had brought England to the pinnacle of world power by the end of the nineteenth century. The British were the first to acclaim and admit the validity of the theories which they themselves had never thoroughly analyzed or completely understood before. For the first time it was revealed to the French how and why, though frequently on the threshold of domination of the seas, they had always been overcome by the British.
Despite Mahans criticisms of French naval policies, a French admiral has written of the priceless value of Mahans work which was truly creative in the field of strategic theory. The Germans, then dreaming of wresting mastery of the seas from Britain, studied Mahan with the same reverence they had previously accorded only to Clausewitz. In 1910 the acting director of the German Naval War College wrote to Mahan: As the high standard of your works may be called international, I think one may well say that they have raised the general standard of the naval officer in all navies and have established the rule of science for us in a manner not thought of hitherto. This is surely the case in our navy. To an even greater extent Mahan was, somewhat ironically in the light of later events, the supreme oracle to the Japanese navy. The influence of his writings was clearly apparent, half a century after his first great work appeared, in the excellent planning and conduct of Japanese naval operations in the first half of the Pacific war in World War II. In the opening sentences of Some Principles of Maritime Strategy, Julian Corbett, Britains most important historian and theorist of naval conflict, expressed views on the value of war theory that were similar to those of Carl von Clausewitz, the author of On War. Corbett went on to quote Clausewitzs views on the proper role of theory not as a prescriber of conduct in battle, but as a guide to self-education.
Corbett, in other words, used theory to deal with strategic planning while excluding the question of war command. Such an approach seems to have alienated a good number of his pupils at the Royal Navys war college, a response that Clausewitz would have regarded as appropriate. The German author had written in On War about military theory that dealt with planning as opposed to command: What is the practical value of those obscure, partially false, confused and arbitrary notions? Very littleso little that they have made theory, from its beginnings, the very opposite of practice, and not infrequently the laughing stock of men whose military competence is beyond dispute. An interesting proof of the weight attributed to the naval power of Great Britain by a great military authority will be found in the opening chapter of Jomini History of the Wars of the French Revolution. Jomini lays down, as a fundamental principle of European policy, that an unlimited expansion of naval force should not be permitted to any nation which cannot be approached by land, -- a description which can apply only to Great Britain. Ideal in naval thinking, the Mahanian dream of winning the entire war by inflicting upon the enemy a single devastating blow, had in fact been taken over from ground-war theoreticians like Jomini, Clausewitz and Schlieffen.
This is what is meant by a strategy of annihilation. Its aim is a decisive victory in the field and all its resources serve this one end. (Clausewitz, trans. Howard, 1976) In order to compare favorably with armies and to justify the costly naval race, navies must prove themselves equally capable of winning wars in a short time. The notion of the decisive battle at sea satisfied the need to offer politicians a quick return on defense investments. This concept follows the ideas of Jomini. Jominis and Clausewitzs writings had great influence on leading maritime theorists Corbett and Mahan. Navy along with aviation are the most valuable and decisive combat power.
Even today Jominis and Clausewitzs war principles are valuable for maritime strategists due to key thoughts on the art of war. Bibliography: Aron, R. Clausewitz Philosopher of War, translated by C. Booker and N. Stone. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1985. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. M.
Howard and P. Paret. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976. Frothingham, Thomas G. The Naval History of the World War, Offensive Operations, 1914-1915. Harvard University Press, 1924.
Handel, M.I. Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought, Second Revised Edition. London: Frank Cass, 1996. Antoine Henri de Jomini, The Art of War. London: Greenhill Books, repr. 1992.
Koburger, Charles W. Narrow Seas, Small Navies, and Fat Merchantmen: Naval Strategies for the 1990s. Praeger Publishers, 1990 Luttwak, E.N. Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987. Mahan, A.T. Retrospect and Prospect: Studies in International Relations, Naval and Political. London: Sampson, Low, Marston, 1902.
Mahan, A.T. Naval Strategy, Compared and Contrasted with the Principles and Practice of Military Operations on Land. Boston: Little, Brown, 1919. Paret, P. Clausewitz as Historian, in Understanding War: Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Rapoport, A. Introduction to Carl von Clausewitz, On War.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968 Vego, Milan N. Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas. Frank Cass, 1999..
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