Government 50: Syllabus War and Society | Carl Von Clausewitz | On War

Syllabus Political Science 151a War and Society Fall Semester 1997

Allan C. Stam Allan.stam@yale.edu www.yale.edu/plsc151a 303 Brewster Hall. 124 Prospect ST. 432-6220

Course Description Objective: This course is designed to acquaint students with the fundamentals of military strategy; that is, with the political uses of military power and the respective roles of military and civilian leaders in formulating and implementing foreign policy. Additionally, we will investigate how war affects civil society and how the characteristics of states’ domestic politics affects the ways that leaders execute their chosen strategies. In a broader sense, the purpose of the course is to sensitize the student to the complexity of the policy and strategy making process and to enhance her/his ability to think strategically. The course begins with an examination of theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of military strategy. We will analyze historical as well as contemporary strategic problems in order to demonstrate the recurring nature of the questions that have taxed the minds of soldiers and public officials alike. The common theme each week will be to investigate the connection between the nature of the societies in conflict and the means by which they prosecute the wars between them. Method: The course is organized around a number of strategic concepts that will be introduced during the first full week of study. These concepts will be elaborated upon in a series of case studies, each of which focuses on a particular kind of political-military interaction. Course Themes Some of the most important recurring themes that we will cover this semester will be: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. War as an extension of politics by other means: the relationship between national policy and military strategy. The problems of civil military relations. Alliances in war and peace; the nature of coalition warfare and the strengths and weaknesses of alliances and the problems of managing them. Strategies of war avoidance: alliances, deterrence, collective security, arms control, crisis management. Limitations on states military power: legal, social, moral, economic, logistical, public opinion, alliance restraints, “friction.”

6. 7. 8. 9.

Domestic determinants of policy and strategy: the problems of squaring strategic requirements with domestic political realities. Strategy and technological change: weapons, armaments and communications. The impact of nuclear weapons on strategy. Problems of limited war: why and how wars are kept limited. Can democracies successfully fight limited war? The relationship between theory and practice; the ways in which the two are related.

Readings: Readings are listed with each week’ topic. For each major section, there is a s book available for purchase. I will assume that you have read the listed readings before class on Wednesday. There are eight required books, which are available at the Yale Bookstore on Broadway; most in paper, they are not on reserve in the library: 1. On War by Carl Von Clausewitz, Michael Howard, Peter Paret (Editor) Paperback Princeton Univ. Pr 5. Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Knopf, paperback edition. March 1, 1996 6. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society By Dave Grossman Paperback Little Brown & Co November 1, 1996 7. Does Conquest Pay: The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies By Peter Liberman Hardcover Princeton Univ. Pr 8. Psywar: Psychological Warfare in Korea, 1950-1953 By Stephen E. Pease. Paperback, 194 pages Stackpole Books

2. Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) Robert A. Pape Paperback Cornell Univ. Pr 3. Strategic Assessment in War By Scott Sigmund Gartner. Paperback, 256 pages Yale Univ. Pr September 1, 1997

4. Win, Lose or Draw: Domestic Politics and the Crucible of War By Allan C. Stam, III Hardcover Univ. of Michigan Pr October 1996

Class Format: There are two required meetings each week. On Mondays, I will talk about the nature of the problem at hand, in particular reviewing the history of the cases we will discuss in the following session. On Wednesdays, we will finish the overview and then cover the questions that are included for each of the sections. Each week I will provide a list of questions that you may use to guide your reading for the coming week and that will serve as the basis of our discussions each Wednesday. These questions will also make up the pool of questions from which we will draw the midterm and final exam questions. All course materials are available on the ACS-Macintosh server (including lecture outlines). In addition, we will have a third meeting each week where your attendance is strictly optional. In the additional meetings we will discuss the readings that have been assigned for the week, the discussions being guided by whatever questions you may have. We will schedule this meeting for one evening a week at a mutually agreeable time. Grades: A midterm and final examination will constitute the principle basis for grades. I reserve the right to reward students who have made important contributions to classroom discussions. I will draw the exam questions from the questions distributed each week. There will be 80 questions that will serve as the exam pool for the course (see attached list of questions). You are required to take at least one of the two exams. If you like, you may substitute a substantial research paper for one of the exams. Students who wish to write papers instead of exams should speak with me or one of the TA’ about topics and to s arrange for TA assistance. You may substitute a 20-25-page paper for the midterm, and a 25-30-page paper for the final exam. You must let us know in writing two weeks before the exam (reading period for the final) if you plan to write a paper instead of taking one of the exams. Exam weights: Normally, we will weight the exams 45 percent for the midterm, 55 percent for the final. You have the option, which you may exercise once, of altering the exam weights before one of the exams. If you choose to do so, you may do so within the range of 30-70 percentage points for the final, the balance being left for the midterm. Exams are graded on a 4.0 scale, a failing exam therefore receives zero credit so you will have to make a good faith effort on both exams in order to pass the course. Credit/D/Fail option. You may take this class using the credit/D/fail option. Remember that is you are a member of the class of 2001 you may take 4 courses Credit/D/Fail, other students may take 8. Topic Outline Week 1. War in Theory: Clausewitz’ view on the nature of strategy s Clausewitz. Introduction; Books 1, 2 and 8. Pape. Chapters 1-2. Stam. Chapters 1-2. Week 2. Clausewitz applied in the 19th century: Bismarck and the Unification of

Germany. Clausewitz, remainder (skim). Gartner. Chapters 1-2. Week 3. of W.W.I. Week 4. War as facts: What works and what does not and The origins and conduct Stam. Chapters 3-8 The conduct and lessons of W.W.I. Gartner. Chapters 3-6. Goldhagen. Parts 1 and 2. Week 5. The conduct and lessons of World War II in the European theater: Goldhagen. Parts 3-6. Pape. Chapter 8. Week 6. War in the Pacific: Colonialism, Exploitation of subhumans and the decision to drop The Bomb. Liberman. Entire Book. Pape. Chapter 4. Week 7. The Origins of the Cold War: Ideology, national interest or mutual misperception. Pease. First Half Week 8. The prosecution of the cold war: Mutually assured destruction, Containment, Competition in the 3rd World. Pease. Second Half. Week 9. Democracy and limited War: The United States in Korea. Pape. Chapter 5. Grossman. Section I-IV. Week 10. Democracy and Guerrilla Warfare: Vietnam. Grossman. Sections V-VII Gartner. Chapters 5. Pape. Chapter 6. Week 11. Coalition warfare in the age of CNN: The Gulf War. Pape. Chapter 7. Gartner. Chapter 6. Week 12. The end of the cold war: Strategies for the future and the POW game

Gartner. Chapter 7. Grossman. Section VIII. Week 1. The Nature of Strategy: The Clausewitzian View Clausewitz’ On War has influenced strategic thinking for over 150 years. While the topic s of military strategy has been widely written on, both by Clausewitz’ contemporaries and s today, On War remains the most penetrating analysis of the nature of war and the relationship between warfare and political objectives. It is one of the most frequently cited but also most frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted books on military strategy. It will provide the basic theoretical foundation for our subsequent analysis of cases and issues. Discussion questions for Week 1: 1. What fundamental principles of war can be deduced from the writings of Clausewitz? Are these principles still valid today? 2. What is the nature of war according to Clausewitz? How do the political objectives of war affect its nature? 3. What differences does Clausewitz see between limited and general war? What are the major problems political leaders confront in a limited war? 4. What does Clausewitz believe to be the proper roles of civilian and military leaders in formulating and executing national strategy? 5. Is Clausewitz’ view germane to the contemporary political/military environment? s

6. The most frequently cited quotation from Clausewitz is his assertion that “war is simply the execution of politics by other means.” What does Clausewitz mean by this?

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.