World State Warfare And Its Impact On Modern Warfare Essay

World State Warfare And Its Impact On Modern Warfare Essay

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The dramatic shift from generally small royal armies to large-scale nation state warfare continues to affect the available ranges of warfare today from limited to total war. WWII marked the highpoint of practiced Napoleonic style warfare involving multiple fully mobilized combatants. The decades following that war’s end have unmistakably changed the military and political paradigms of Clausewitz’s absolute war. Warfare in the Napoleonic era, while significantly influencing modern warfare, is no longer fundamentally similar to how warfare is conducted today due to the introduction of nuclear weapons, socio-economic change, and prohibitive expenses of both force projection and complete mobilizations.
WWII required complete mobilizations of many belligerents involving both population and economy, marking the most recent case of a general levee en masse first utilized by revolutionary France. Political and military leaders immediately following the war operated on the assumption that absolute or total war remained the dominant form of warfare. This belief rested on such precedents as the Allied requirement of unconditional surrender following decisive military victory and the introduction of atomic weapons as a means to achieve decisive victory over a population, a natural progression of total war. The ensuing Cold War and arms race between Western Europe and the Warsaw Pact were manifestations of those misdirected assumptions. A critical differential from prior arms races lay in the understanding of both would be belligerents of the resultant destruction and waste involving total war, underwritten by nuclear weapons. The threat of massive conventional warfare and nuclear annihilation fundamentally influenced Napoleonic tenets such a...

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...and force projection preclude total war in modern warfare, reflecting a divergence in similarities from Napoleonic total warfare. Modern warfare is now best described as part of a spectrum of limited war and military applications ranged from kinetic actions to peace keeping. The first two offset strategies developed and implemented by the US have largely defined modern war; limited war due to nuclear deterrence and technological superiority against massed formations. While these two strategies proved successful at averting a total war, the purpose of their development and implementation, the third is conceptual and arrayed against an uncertain globe. Some nation states retain the desire to wage total war but lack the capability, the twenty-first century is proving uncertain as asymmetric threats grow and large regional powers exhibit designs on neighboring countries.

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