It is a commonplace of the twentieth century that the communists have preempted guerrilla warfare as the chief method of revolutionary warfare, Afghanistan being a glaring exception.
Although guerrilla warfare is accorded a lengthy history in the annals of military affairs, both the name and the methods were formalized only in the Spanish resistance to the Napoleonic invasion of 1808-14. A derivative of guerra (the Spanish word for war), the term "guerrilla" means, literally, "little war." Such a war was waged in the Spanish countryside by partisan fighters who continued to harass the French army after the regular Spanish troops had been defeated.
Guerrilla (or "irregular," "unconventional," "insurgency," "partisan") warfare has since become a central concern of military theorists of every persuasion. Writing in the 1820s, for example, Karl von Clausewitz devoted a portion of his classic work On War to the analysis of this type of military operation (Book 5, chap. 26: "Arming the Nation"). Primary responsibility for developing the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare, however, must be assigned to Communist thinkers. As early as 1849, Karl Marx exhibited an acute understanding of the nature and potentialities of irregular warfare:
A nation fighting for its liberty ought not to adhere rigidly to the accepted rules of warfare. Mass uprisings, revolutionary methods, guerrilla bands everywhere--such are the only means by which a small