Carl Von Clausewitz theorized that “in war the result is never final” and that “the defeated state often considers the outcome as a transitory evil…” (Clausewitz, 80) There are many examples that support his theory that defeated belligerents will wait for another opportunity to achieve their objectives. There are also examples of belligerents who, under certain conditions and through deliberate actions, made their victory more permanent. Those belligerents who made their wartime victory more permanent did so with effective civil-military (civ-mil) relationships and with the popular support of the people. Under these conditions, they successfully reassessed and adapted during the conflict to ensure the effects of their operations led to conclusive war termination.
The American Revolution is an outstanding example of how conditions in the American colonies and the actions that their civilian and military leadership took ensured their victory. During the American Revolution effective civ-mil relations enabled the colonists to prosecute the war in a manner that defeated the world’s greatest power. In addition to effective civ-mil relations, gaining popular amongst the American people was essential in conducting the protracted war. Assessing the effects of operations was also critical in earning independence from Great Britain.
Early in the war, civ-mil relationships were strained since the Continental Congress “thought that their duty was to manage the details of [the war] themselves…” (Fischer, 144) Their direct involvement in military matters made conduct ...
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... termination, certain conditions must be in place and specific actions must be taken. As seen during the American Revolution and in Vietnam, effective civ-mil relations and popular support are two key conditions that must be met. In the American Revolution, Washington was given the necessary powers to direct war effort with support and oversight from the Continental Congress. During Vietnam, leaders in Hanoi had productive debates on how to implement their dau tranh strategy. In each case, the civilian and military leadership understood the importance of effective civ-mil relations as well as the importance of gaining popular support for their war effort. Under these conditions, these belligerents then effectively reassessed and adapted to ensure the effects of their operations led to conclusive war termination. They proved that in war, the results can final.
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