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The Allure of Battle

The Allure of Battle

Metadata

  • Author: Cathal Nolan
  • Full Title: The Allure of Battle
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • No great art or music, no cathedral or temple or mosque, no intercontinental transport net or particle collider or space program, no research for a cure for a mass killing disease receives even a fraction of the resources and effort humanity devotes to making war. (Location 130)
  • The term “decisive battle” is also too often used simply to indicate that one side suffered more dead and wounded than the other. (Location 159)
  • In protracted wars, some of which lasted decades, most single battles accomplished little more than to accelerate underlying rates of human and material attrition, which this book will show are far more important in determining outcome. (Location 171)
  • Generals and governments instead succumbed to the allure of battle, seeking swift tactical victories in lieu of harder strategic effort. (Location 179)
  • We are drawn to celebrate battles because they seem to deliver a decision. (Location 181)
  • We may teach sadder sorts of poetry in college courses on war in literature, and stand solemn and silent in cold rain at a cenotaph for a few minutes once a year. Yet after every war we also write more heroic poetry and books preaching “the old lie.” (Location 191)
  • The argument here is that whatever the initial choice, few battles in the wars among Great Powers since the 17th century have proved to be more than locally or tactically decisive. (Location 234)
  • protracted stalemate born from a rough strategic balance, broken only after attritional wearing turned wars into contests of endurance. Exceptions were rare, such as the Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War, rapid victories by Prussia that only increased the allure of battle for Germans, contributing much to the miscalculations they made leading into the two world wars of the 20th century. (Location 236)
  • longing to believe that battles decide wars, because wars really matter. Why else have we fought so many? Attrition seems to drain combat of its higher meaning and urgency, of a sense of moral purpose. Battles appear to better justify war by containing it to a limited theater and time, with a clear beginning, middle and end. (Location 244)
  • For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. All for want of a nail.12 (Location 263)
  • Since Verdun and the Somme and Ypres, and many more mass bloodlettings, the dominant image of attrition warfare is that it proved utterly useless. Worse, it was immoral. (Location 281)
  • Each time, they provoked into war a grand coalition dedicated to stop them. The culmination was the calamity of the two 20th century world wars. That is a central tale of this book. (Location 333)
  • The allure of battle, or put another way, the short-war illusion, came to dominate theory, tactics and operations into the first half of the 20th century. (Location 357)
  • Moltke himself warned that his day of cabinet wars was over and that only people’s wars among aroused nations-in-arms lay ahead. He backed away from the idea that a Great Power could again be isolated and defeated as he and Bismarck isolated and broke Austria and then France. He warned against emulating his strategy, predicting that only long and wearing wars of attrition lay down that path. His own successors did not listen. (Location 419)
  • Oman thought he saw that the proper path to victory in war only and always came from decisive battle, and he just could not find any in the medieval record. (Location 683)
  • Chronic fighting was not true war, as Greece and Rome practiced the high military arts of generalship and strategy. (Location 685)
  • It was still true, as Tacitus wrote, that pecunia nervus belli (“money is the sinew of war”). (Location 729)
  • If a renowned fortress capitulated to besiegers, lesser forts often surrendered, too, swinging whole regions from one overlord to another. (Location 731)
  • From the 11th to the 15th centuries in Western Europe, a losing side in an average battle suffered between 20 to 50 percent of its men killed outright. (Location 749)
  • confuse the waiting enemy. The need to fight in close unison, as soldiers, (Location 834)

public: true

title: The Allure of Battle longtitle: The Allure of Battle author: Cathal Nolan url: , source: kindle last_highlight: 2019-10-17 type: books tags:

The Allure of Battle

rw-book-cover

Metadata

  • Author: Cathal Nolan
  • Full Title: The Allure of Battle
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • No great art or music, no cathedral or temple or mosque, no intercontinental transport net or particle collider or space program, no research for a cure for a mass killing disease receives even a fraction of the resources and effort humanity devotes to making war. (Location 130)
  • The term “decisive battle” is also too often used simply to indicate that one side suffered more dead and wounded than the other. (Location 159)
  • In protracted wars, some of which lasted decades, most single battles accomplished little more than to accelerate underlying rates of human and material attrition, which this book will show are far more important in determining outcome. (Location 171)
  • Generals and governments instead succumbed to the allure of battle, seeking swift tactical victories in lieu of harder strategic effort. (Location 179)
  • We are drawn to celebrate battles because they seem to deliver a decision. (Location 181)
  • We may teach sadder sorts of poetry in college courses on war in literature, and stand solemn and silent in cold rain at a cenotaph for a few minutes once a year. Yet after every war we also write more heroic poetry and books preaching “the old lie.” (Location 191)
  • The argument here is that whatever the initial choice, few battles in the wars among Great Powers since the 17th century have proved to be more than locally or tactically decisive. (Location 234)
  • protracted stalemate born from a rough strategic balance, broken only after attritional wearing turned wars into contests of endurance. Exceptions were rare, such as the Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War, rapid victories by Prussia that only increased the allure of battle for Germans, contributing much to the miscalculations they made leading into the two world wars of the 20th century. (Location 236)
  • longing to believe that battles decide wars, because wars really matter. Why else have we fought so many? Attrition seems to drain combat of its higher meaning and urgency, of a sense of moral purpose. Battles appear to better justify war by containing it to a limited theater and time, with a clear beginning, middle and end. (Location 244)
  • For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. All for want of a nail.12 (Location 263)
  • Since Verdun and the Somme and Ypres, and many more mass bloodlettings, the dominant image of attrition warfare is that it proved utterly useless. Worse, it was immoral. (Location 281)
  • Each time, they provoked into war a grand coalition dedicated to stop them. The culmination was the calamity of the two 20th century world wars. That is a central tale of this book. (Location 333)
  • The allure of battle, or put another way, the short-war illusion, came to dominate theory, tactics and operations into the first half of the 20th century. (Location 357)
  • Moltke himself warned that his day of cabinet wars was over and that only people’s wars among aroused nations-in-arms lay ahead. He backed away from the idea that a Great Power could again be isolated and defeated as he and Bismarck isolated and broke Austria and then France. He warned against emulating his strategy, predicting that only long and wearing wars of attrition lay down that path. His own successors did not listen. (Location 419)
  • Oman thought he saw that the proper path to victory in war only and always came from decisive battle, and he just could not find any in the medieval record. (Location 683)
  • Chronic fighting was not true war, as Greece and Rome practiced the high military arts of generalship and strategy. (Location 685)
  • It was still true, as Tacitus wrote, that pecunia nervus belli (“money is the sinew of war”). (Location 729)
  • If a renowned fortress capitulated to besiegers, lesser forts often surrendered, too, swinging whole regions from one overlord to another. (Location 731)
  • From the 11th to the 15th centuries in Western Europe, a losing side in an average battle suffered between 20 to 50 percent of its men killed outright. (Location 749)
  • confuse the waiting enemy. The need to fight in close unison, as soldiers, (Location 834)