Technological Change and Military Power in Historical Perspective

  • Christopher Harvie
Part of the Studies in International Security book series (SIS)


‘Tools, or weapons, if only the right ones can be found, are ninety-nine per cent of victory’, wrote General J. F. C. Fuller in 1919. ‘Strategy, command, leadership, courage, discipline, supply, organization and all the moral and physical paraphernalia of war are nothing to a high superiority of weapons — at most they go to form the one per cent which makes the whole possible.’1 Coming from the great pioneer of mechanized warfare, this statement is characteristic enough, but is it valid? Fuller devoted much of his long life to arguing that technical advances, divorced from an appreciation of tactical role and strategic function, led to mismanagement and a ‘total war’ which swamped the original casus belli. He blamed a combination of political democracy and the Clausewitzian doctrine of overwhelming force, and, although he had little time for the military establishment of his day, saw the soldier as a man trapped between insensate social and ideological forces.2


Officer Corps General Staff Military Elite Tactical Role Ideological Force 
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Copyright information

© The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Harvie

There are no affiliations available

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