General George Washington: Grand Strategist or Mere Fabian?
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The historiography of the American Revolutionary War may for convenience be divided into three discrete schools. The first, dominant in establishing the still-prevalent mythos of the American experience, was marked by an effusive idealism and self-congratulatory patriotism. In this view, Americas soldiers and leaders-notably George Washington among them-waged war with a heroism and skill truly epic in scale. The tenor of this early historical perspective is recaptured annually in all the hoopla familiarly associated with American Fourth of July celebrations. Inevitably, of course, the historical revisionists arose to supply a needed corrective to such extravagantly romantic distortions. They painted the military scenes somberly in black and gray, with bleakness the predominant theme. Washington was clearly a stumblebum general-impressive in ways, to be sure-but a stumblebum nonetheless. His lieutenants were no better. Stubbornness was the greatest of the Patriots military virtues they had simply hung on, and somehow muddled through to win. British leaders were even worse dolts who repeatedly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The War of Independence was really a case of Englishmen blundering the war away more than of Americans winning it.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics