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Castles to Carriers: The Timeless Nature of Power Projection Challenges in the Second Crusade


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The Second Crusade (1146-1149) saw the mobilization and projection of a massive Western European coalition on an expedition to stem the Turkish Muslim onslaught on the Crusader States of the Holy Land. The informational power of the Church's recruitment efforts yielded huge returns. The Crusade to the Holy Land was entering a mature theater, with a friendly inside force already well established in the political and military landscape. Christian allies along the deployment route, and half a century of proven capabilities in the operational level of war also made the expeditions success seem likely. For all its promise, however, the Holy Land Crusade failed to achieve any strategic impact. The root of the failure lay, not in any lack of force projection capability or operational-level soundness, but in constraints on the crusaders instruments of power. Diplomatic and ideological-informational constraints and imperatives cornered the leaders into certain strategic choices. These choices compounded with military logistical and intelligence constraints, and set the crusaders at odds with the complex security interests of the allies on whom the expedition most relied for success, causing the entire venture to unravel.



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