The Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townshend

By Charles Townshend

How has battle formed smooth society and vice versa? How has it replaced over the centuries among the creation of firearms and the discovery of the atomic bomb? How is warfare waged today?
This hugely informative paintings examines the options, know-how, and theories of struggle from the 'military revolution' of the 17th century to the current day. specialist members discover significant advancements and subject matters, together with: the extreme achievements of Napoleon's armies; the function of nationalism in battlegrounds as quite a few because the American Civil struggle and the previous Yugoslavia; colonial wars; the concept that and truth of 'total war;' guerrilla struggle and 'people's wars.'
A heritage of contemporary War deals a complete review of army clash over a number of centuries, with attention-grabbing thematic chapters protecting air and sea conflict, wrestle event, expertise, or even competition to warfare. it's the perfect supplementary textual content for classes on sleek background and it truly is in particular valuable for someone widely serious about glossy conflict.

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Even Rome had to abandon its scheme of fortification half-finished because of the enormous expense. 5 million livres per annum on fortification although this was insignificant compared with the cost of besieging a fortress. The siege of the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle (1627–8) by the army of Louis XIII cost a reputed 40 million livres. If fortifications represented the biggest and most expensive civil engineering works of the age then sieges were its greatest test of large-scale organization and finance.

Whereas the agricultural surplus and taxation base of settled agrarian societies permitted the development of logistical mechanisms to support permanent specialized military units, nomadic peoples generally lacked such units and had a far less organized logistical system: in war they often relied on raiding their opponents. This organizational divide, which owed much to factors of terrain and climate, was linked to one in methods of warfare. Nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples exploited mobility and generally relied on cavalry, while their opponents put more of a stress on numbers, infantry, and fortifications.

Michael Roberts has argued that these developments occurred principally between 1550 and 1650, a period which he dubbed the ‘Military Revolution’. Geoffrey Parker has extended Roberts’s thesis to encompass the three centuries between 1500 and 1800, stressing the contribution of the new military methods to the European acquisition of overseas empire. The concept, however, is losing its force: a steady process spread across three centuries hardly justifies the title ‘revolution’. The equivalent period from the 1690s to the 1990s—the flintlock musket to the hydrogen bomb—has yet to acquire the accolade of ‘Second Military Revolution’.

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