The New Military Revolution: Post-Industrial Change
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY DEPT OF HISTORY
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In a lecture delivered at Queens University in Belfast in 1955, historian Michael Roberts argued that in the one-hundred years between 1560 and 1660, a number of critical changes and innovations had occurred in tactics, strategy, army size, and sociopolitical institutions, which taken together amounted to a military revolution in Early Modern Europe. Roberts held that Gustavus Adolphuss combination of linear formations and improved firepower had revolutionized tactics, which in turn created fresh strategic possibilities. The broader range of strategic options then led to the need for large standing armies, which ultimately forced states to develop political and social institutions to oversee and supply them. Together, these changes wrought a revolution in the Early Modern style of waging war. With its publication three years later, Roberts lecture captured the interest of the historical community and excited further research into the nature and effect of military change in the 16th and 17th centuries. Over the years a number of historians of Europes Early Modern period, notably Geoffrey Parker and J. R. Hale, have modified and added to Roberts original thesis. Despite these changes, however, Roberts basic argument has stood the test of time. In a similar manner, contemporary soldiers and scholars are struggling to appreciate the significance of the Persian Gulf War in terms of its critical tactical, strategic, and sociopolitical aspects and its impact on future wars. Simply put, the question has become whether the Gulf War represents a new style or form of warfare and, if so, what effect this new style of warfare is likely to have on future warfighting. At the heart of this question lies, once again, the issue of military change.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics