Uneasy Coalition: The Entente Experience in World War I

By Jehuda L. Wallach | Go to book overview

1
SUGGESTIONS FOR A TYPOLOGY OF WARTIME COALITIONS

It is common knowledge that a large part of the history of mankind is occupied by wars. Even a superficial survey of this history will reveal that most wars were coalition wars. One may be surprised, however, to discover that no clear-cut and satisfactory definition of coalition warfare can be found in either encyclopedias or lexicons (in the East or the West), or in the theoretical works of military thinkers or social scientists. Even the great military thinker Carl von Clausewitz suggested no theoretical definition. The index to his treatise, On War, includes only historical examples of actual wars of coalitions under the heading "coalition warfare." There is no theoretical formulation.

It seems, however, that there is no difficulty in evolving a theoretical definition. The word seems is used here intentionally, because if one really tries to formulate a satisfactory, all-embracing definition, it soon becomes clear that this is no easy task. At the end of a postgraduates' research seminar conducted some years ago at Tel-Aviv University on the subject of coalition warfare in World War I, the students, both civilians and professional officers, tried to provide such a working definition based on the experience of World War I. They soon realized that it was almost impossible to provide a formula that was likely to cover most of the possible variants. There was the danger of the definition becoming a treatise, which would render it unworkable. On the other hand, a traditional definition would, in fact, not provide a useful analytical tool. It was suddenly understood why the sages had abstained from giving an acceptable definition.

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Uneasy Coalition: The Entente Experience in World War I
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Suggestions for a Typology of Wartime Coalitions 1
  • 2 - Prewar Planning Between Allies and Potential Allies 7
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Particularistic Interests in the Coalition 21
  • Notes 41
  • 4 - Human Relations 45
  • Notes 70
  • 5 - Coordination Conferences and Coordination Bodies 75
  • Notes 97
  • 6 - General Reserve and Unified Command 101
  • Notes 117
  • 7 - Amalgamation of Forces 119
  • Notes 129
  • 8 - Logistics and War Finances 131
  • Notes 149
  • 9 - Alliance on the Peace Path 153
  • Notes 167
  • 10 - Conclusions and Lessons 169
  • Notes 176
  • Appendix A Members of the Alliance 177
  • Appendix B Sessions of the Supreme War council (SWC) 179
  • Appendix C Inter-Allied Committees 181
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 187
  • About the Author 193
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