Strategy and Command: The First Two Years

Strategy and Command: The First Two Years

Strategy and Command: The First Two Years

Strategy and Command: The First Two Years

Excerpt

Strategy is a many-sided word, connoting different things to different people. The author of any work on strategy, therefore, owes it to his reader to define at the outset his own conception of this ambiguous term. For it is this conception that underlies the shape of his work and largely determines what belongs to it and what does not, what emphasis will be accorded certain subjects, and how they will be treated.

In the present volume, the author has viewed strategy broadly, including within it not only the art of military command--the original meaning of the term--but all those activities associated with the preparation for and the conduct of war in the Pacific. Strictly speaking, this book is not about military operations at all (though it includes operational strategy), for these belong in the realm of tactics and are covered fully in the other volumes of the Pacific subseries. It is focused rather on the exceedingly complicated and difficult, if less dangerous, tasks that are necessary to bring men with all that they need to the chosen field of battle at a given moment of time. These may be less glamorous endeavors than those usually associated with war, but they are as vital and were particularly important and complex in the Pacific, often determining the outcome of battle.

Viewed thus, the arena of Pacific strategy is the council chamber rather than the coral atoll; its weapons are not bombs and guns but the mountains of memoranda, messages, studies, and plans that poured forth from the deliberative bodies entrusted with the conduct of the war; its sound is not the clash of arms but the cool voice of reason or the heated words of debate thousands of miles from the scene of conflict. The setting for this volume, therefore, is the war room; its substance, the plans for war and the statistics of shipping and manpower. It deals with policy and grand strategy on the highest level--war aims, the choice of allies and theaters of operations, the distribution of forces and supplies, and the organization created to use them. On only a slightly lower level, it deals with more strictly military matters-- with the choice of strategies, with planning and the selection of objectives, with the timing of operations, the movement of forces and, finally, their employment in battle.

Strategy in its larger sense is more than the handmaiden of war, it is an inherent element of statecraft, akin to policy, and encompasses preparations for war as well as the war itself. Thus, this volume treats the prewar period in some detail, not in any sense as introductory to the main theme but as . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.