The Ideology of the Offensive
Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914 1st New edition
By (author) Jack Snyder
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Ideology of the Offensive by Jack Snyder
Book DescriptionJack Snyder's analysis of the attitudes of military planners in the years prior to the Great War offers new insight into the tragic miscalculations of that era and into their possible parallels in present-day war planning. By 1914, the European military powers had adopted offensive military strategies even though there was considerable evidence to support the notion that much greater advantage lay with defensive strategies. The author argues that organizational biases inherent in military strategists' attitudes make war more likely by encouraging offensive postures even when the motive is self-defense. Drawing on new historical evidence of the specific circumstances surrounding French, German, and Russian strategic policy, Snyder demonstrates that it is not only rational analysis that determines strategic doctrine, but also the attitudes of military planners. Snyder argues that the use of rational calculation often falls victim to the pursuit of organizational interests such as autonomy, prestige, growth, and wealth. Furthermore, efforts to justify the preferred policy bring biases into strategists' decisions-biases reflecting the influences of parochial interests and preconceptions, and those resulting from attempts to simplify unduly their analytical tasks. The frightening lesson here is that doctrines can be destabilizing even when weapons are not, because doctrine may be more responsive to the organizational needs of the military than to the implications of the prevailing weapons technology. By examining the historical failure of offensive doctrine, Jack Snyder makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the causes of war.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801482441
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 14-Feb-1989
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Jack Snyder
Ranking the World, Paperback (October 2016)
This book examines the origins of the rise of international rankings, assessing their impact on global governance, and exploring how governments react to being ranked.
Power and Progress, Hardback (February 2012)
Explores a liberal realist theory of international politics. This book is of interest to scholars of international relations.
Electing to Fight, Paperback (March 2007)» View all books by Jack Snyder
A challenge to the view that the spread of democracy contributes to international peace.
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Author Biography - Jack Snyder
Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of The Ideology of the Offensive: Military Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914; Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (both published by Cornell); and From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict; and is the coeditor of Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention.
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