Second Honorable Mention, 1925
Motto: “War is the sum of all the forces and pressures operative at a given period.”
I. War and National Strategy.—War is the weighing of our national capacity to exert and resist pressure against that of the enemy nation or nations.
A war is decided when the national strength or the will to conquer of one of the opposing nations or alliances breaks. As there is no nation, however strong or powerful, whose national strength will not break if subjected to severe enough pressure for a sufficient period of time, it is necessary that we bring the enemy nation to the breaking strain before our own nation reaches it.
Due to the very great strain to which the economic forces of a nation are subjected by modern war, it is not only necessary to win, but it is extremely desirable to win with as little economic effort and as quickly as possible. This expenditure of economic effort makes such inroads upon our economic strength that usually many years are required for recovery and sometimes, as in the World War, the victors are reduced to practically the same, ruinous economic condition as the vanquished. This would not have been the case had the war been decided in 1915 or 1916. In addition to economic disaster, a long war similarly makes grave attacks upon the moral strength of a nation and produces that unrest and instability, which, after the World War, was as serious a problem as economic recovery.
In his analysis as to why the allied powers, with their great superiority of men and resources, did not win except through the exhaustion of their enemies, Churchill strikes to the root of the matter. “War,” he says, “which knows no rigid divisions between French, Russian and British Allies, between Land, Sea and Air, between gaining victories and alliances, between supplies and fighting men, between propaganda and machinery, which is, in fact, simply the sum of all forces and pressures operative at a given period, was dealt with piecemeal.”
To break the moral power of the enemy nation, our government should direct the operations of the following forces against similar enemy forces in the combinations best designed for exerting and resisting pressure:
- The armed forces, including the military and naval services.
- The economic forces, including the mining and manufacturing industries, the transportation, communication, financial, commercial and agricultural systems, the scientific organizations and other similar national institutions.
- The political forces, including the diplomatic service, the news, publishing, educational and religious systems and the social, political, labor and fraternal organizations.
These various forces must be used in the most effective combinations and along the most advantageous lines in order to exert the greatest concentrated national pressure upon the enemy nation and at the same time to raise to the maximum our national capacity to resist his pressure.
This offensive and defensive use of our armed, economic and political forces in proper coordination may be called national strategy, and a thorough knowledge of this subject is the secret which will win the next war.
National strategy is one of the most difficult and complex of subjects because every action in war of our armed, economic and political forces affects all the activities of our own and the enemy nation, and even neutral countries, in a manner and to a degree that it is practically impossible to estimate in advance with even approximate accuracy. This interplay of forces with its tremendous influences upon the course of the entire war is a subject which will be well worthy of the most careful consideration by our economic and political leaders, as well as by our military and naval services.
II. The Development of National Strategy.—National strategy has changed greatly during the last two centuries. Formerly, the armed forces played by far the most important part in war, while the requirements of the economic and political forces were comparatively simple. This was due to the following facts:
- Both army and navy could then more generally decide a campaign by battle.
- But little material was required for the armed forces, and the principal economic force employed was money, for which everything, even soldiers and political power, could be bought.
- Most governments were autocratic and public opinion had little force. The political forces were therefore small and nations were influenced by gaining the favor or hatred of a few powerful persons.
The growth of the modern form of national strategy commenced with the wars of the French Revolution, was further developed by the German general staff, and reached its present form in the World War.
The principal changes in national strategy are the greatly increased importance of the economic and political forces, which, however, are still distinctly less important than the armed forces. These changes are due to the following:
- The technical developments which have favored defensive tactics on both land and sea to such an extent that it is becoming more and more difficult to decide a campaign by battle without first weakening the enemy forces by other forms of pressure.
- The great increase in the amount of material required by the armed forces, which requires a corresponding development of the economic forces.
- The increased importance of public opinion, which requires a great upbuilding of political forces, including propaganda systems, to influence it as well as governmental opinion.
III. Uses of the Armed Forces.—In considering the operations of the armed forces, they can be divided into three classes, according as their primary mission affects:
- The armed forces of the enemy nation or nations.
- The economic forces of the nations at war.
- The political forces of the warring and neutral nations.
Usually, in order to exert the greatest pressure upon all parts of the enemy nation and to resist its pressure upon us, it is desirable to use our armed forces simultaneously in all three of these main forms of operations. In order, however, to simplify the conduct of operations, no particular military, naval or combined force should be given more than one primary mission. As, however, every use of our armed forces has widespread influences throughout the warring and neutral nations, the execution of this mission usually either automatically or incidentally accomplishes other purposes or tends favorably toward their accomplishment. It is therefore important, when assigning a primary mission to any task force, to see if it cannot be so drawn as to permit the operations of the force to have other favorable influences, which, in some cases, may be almost as important as the execution of the primary mission itself. Thus, assuming that the primary mission assigned von Mackensen for his Serbian campaign of 1915 was the destruction of the Serbian Army, his operations were so designed as to accomplish economic and political results perhaps even more important.
IV. Operations Against the Enemy Armed Forces.—The first and most important class of operations to be carried on by our armed forces is strictly military or naval. Our object is to exert directly the maximum pressure upon the armed forces of the enemy and to resist that of the enemy armed forces upon ours. The armed forces are therefore pitted directly against each other and fight their campaigns to a finish regardless of economic or political considerations. We think of nothing but fighting and of inflicting such losses of personnel and material on enemy forces that we will gain the moral ascendency over them. If this is our purpose and we wish to accomplish it as quickly as possible it follows that we should seek out the largest enemy forces to destroy. We must, therefore, collect the most powerful units of our forces to accomplish this purpose.
This results in the principal military forces of a nation being formed into field armies, which have their fronts covered by various advanced troops attached to the armies for the purpose of obtaining information of the enemy and to prevent him from obtaining information of our forces. These advanced troops rejoin the main bodies of the field armies before a battle in order to bring all of our available forces against the enemy in a concentrated mass.
In exactly the same way the principal naval forces are formed into a battle fleet, which likewise has its front covered by advanced forces, which we call the scouting fleet, to perform the same duties as the advanced forces of the field armies. They likewise join the battle fleet before an action. The battle and scouting fleets are both equal subdivisions of the United States fleet and operate directly under its commander-in-chief.
A field army, with its advanced forces, takes for its primary mission the complete defeat of the enemy field army. A battle fleet, assisted by its scouting fleet, takes for its primary mission the decisive defeat of the enemy battle fleet.
V. The Campaign of the Field Army.—Where two nations at war have common land boundaries, the military forces, and in particular the field armies, are usually the principal instruments of warfare. Their primary mission is the decisive defeat of the enemy field armies. In modern history this principle developed from the rapid and decisive purely military victories of Napoleon and Moltke. A close examination of the campaigns of these great leaders will show:
- The opposing forces were usually greatly inferior in either numbers, efficiency or leadership.
- The technical developments favored offensive tactics, particularly in the Napoleonic wars.
- Little or no use was made of permanent or field fortifications.
- The forces were too small to form a continuous front.
Where these conditions have not been present rapid and purely military decisions have seldom been the rule. Even in ancient history this principle was applicable, for, in contrast to Alexander’s rapid successes, we see Sparta and Athens fighting for thirty years; Pyrrhus engaging Rome for nine years, and, finally, Hannibal holding his grip on Southern Italy for fifteen years, and even then only relaxing it to defend Carthage.
In the long wars for Dutch independence, due to the equality between the opposing armies in numbers, efficiency and leadership, and the extensive use of permanent fortifications, there developed a military deadlock which was almost exactly similar to that of the western front. The victory of the Dutch was due to their naval victories and the consequent attacks on Spanish trade.
In the Thirty Years War the principal weapon, after the death of Gustavus, was hunger; and in the prolonged wars of Marlborough and Eugene not even their great series of victories was able to win a strictly military decision.
In the Seven Years War the genius of Frederick and the efficiency of his armies were balanced against the superior numbers of the enemy coalition; in the end it was only political events which allowed him to retain his hold on Silesia and obtain an even break after seven years of continuous fighting.
Our Civil War resulted in another protracted struggle in which economic pressure, exerted through the Navy, greatly assisted our field armies in winning their decision.
Before the World War von der Goltz predicted that “it was absolutely certain that in a future war events would not march with anything like the rapidity” of the campaigns of 1866 and 1870. While it might have been possible for the Germans to have gained a decisive military success in the French campaign of 1914, this is now beginning to appear more and more doubtful. Two great armies, when their morale is unbroken, tend to reach a state of equilibrium. As an army advances its numbers and equipment decrease and friction and exhaustion reduce its effectiveness. A retreating army, as long as its morale remains unbroken, increases its numbers and equipment by throwing in its reserves and has all the technical advantages of the defensive. Even admitting German mistakes the allied armies in any event must have been considerably superior on the Marne in September, 1914, in both numbers and equipment, in addition to having the advantage of resting their flanks on the two great fortresses of Verdun and Paris. For these reasons it is beginning to appear more and more improbable that the Germans could have decided the war in 1914. Admiral von Tirpitz seems to have sensed this at the time and recommended that the Channel ports be seized early in the advance. While it is believed that the Germans were correct in endeavoring to destroy the French Army, still, as it actually resulted, it would have been advantageous for them had they followed his suggestion.
Once the lines were established on the western front, the increased value of the defensive allowed greatly inferior forces continually to throw back the great allied offensives of 1915 with far greater losses to the attackers than the defenders. The allied losses, as stated by Churchill, were often twice and sometimes three times as great as the German.
In February, 1916, the Germans returned to the offensive in a particularly well-conceived operation. We are coming to see that the Battle of Verdun was one of the most effective, if not the most effective, of the offensive actions on the western front prior to 1918. A leading allied authority admits that the Germans came within a reasonable distance of winning a decision and that it at least saved the situation for them on the western front by breaking up the great combined offensive planned on twice the scale of the Somme Battle. While it adversely affected the morale of both armies, as do all battles of attrition, it undoubtedly reduced that of the French far more than that of the enemy. Finally, it is admitted that the French losses were probably in excess of the German, an usual feature of an offensive battle of attrition, due to the favorable tactical position of the Germans. Nevertheless, the failure of the Germans to win a decision, combined with the break-through of the Russians, caused the retirement of General von Falkenhayn.
The real effects of the Somme offensive will never be decided. The British claim that it did much to break the morale of the German soldier. Ludendorff freely admits the anxiety with which he watched the course of the battle and it is perfectly true that his army was reduced to a dangerous condition, but with an inferiority on the western front of five to nine this was to be expected, considering the fact that his troops had already fought a heavy action at Verdun and that he was being attacked by a greatly superior force of fresh troops with an extraordinarily heavy artillery support. Even at that, his tired troops were able to hold up for moderate gains the British attack of September 15, which was made in good weather with a four to one superiority of infantry, a more numerous artillery, practical supremacy of the air, the advantage of using the tank as a surprise weapon and the ability to exploit initial successes by means of a great mass of cavalry. In the midst of the action Ludendorff was able to spare four of his divisions for the eastern front.
But if Ludendorff was compelled to admit that his army was completely exhausted at the end of the year and that its fighting power had decreased, on the other hand the French and British political leaders had lost all confidence in their military leaders. Joffre and Foch were relieved from command at the front; Haig was placed under the direction of the new and inexperienced French commander. “No more Sommes,” was the watchword of the allied politicians.
For 1917 the plan on the western front was for the British to make a powerful preliminary attack in front of Arras, while Nivelle broke through along the Aisne. The first British attacks proved excellent and drew German reserves, but Nivelle’s great attack broke down completely; he was dismissed; Petain was brought in to restore the broken morale of the troops and the word was issued to limit all operations to local attacks. In the meantime the Battle of Arras died down with several costly repulses, having achieved no strategical objectives.
So costly was the effect of the French failure that Ludendorff was able to send six divisions from the western to the eastern front where they played an important part in the great counter-attack in July.
In June the British carried out the completely successful local operation at Messines as a prelude to their Flanders offensive. The effects of this terrific battle of attrition, like those of the Somme, will always be a matter for argument. Again the Germans were practicaly exhausted and could withdraw only four divisions from the western front for their Fourteenth Army at Caporetto. On the other hand, the British politicans would not provide the drafts to make up the enormous wastage of their divisions and this was largely responsible for their defeats the next spring. A member of the government, when informed that more men were needed in France, replied “But when we find the men they are lost.” This feeling led the politicians to send the available troops to Mesopotamia or Palestine, where they could have no effect on the course of the war, in 1918 at least, or to retain them in England.
The attack and counterattack at Cambrai showed that attacks were becoming more effective, due to the thinning of the battle lines, the exhaustion and moral breakdown of units, and also to improved methods of attack. The French proved that carefully planned local attacks could almost always be carried through successfully, but their actions had no strategical effect.
The operations of 1918 showed the exhaustion of the opposing armies and the greater possibilities of the attack under the more favorable conditions. In the actions of March 21 and May 27 the Germans were able to break through and exploit their successes to a most unexpected degree but could not gain a decision. It was their last throw. Political and economic weaknesses, together with the arrival of over 2,000,000 fresh troops on the western front, were the underlying causes of their downfall. Notable exploits of the allied leaders and troops contributed to the result. The German Empire slowly collapsed under the finely coordinated operations of the armed, economic and political forces of the allies.
On the eastern front the greater lengths of the battle lines reduced the density with which the front could be held and gave the attacker far more chance of success. Russian superiority in numbers and the incomparable bravery of their troops could not counterbalance German superiority in leadership, efficiency and material; but even then the Germans, despite great tactical victories, could not win a strategical decision. Although they did exert most powerful military pressure on Russia, her collapse was due to political and economic effects as much as military defeats. As an example, Ludendorff, at the request of the German Chancellor, suppressed the news of the German victory on the Stochod in April, 1917. Although this victory showed the weakness of the enemy, he forbade for some time any attacks on the Russians for political reasons, and authorized the preparations for the final attack of July only when it became apparent that the Russians required one more military defeat.
On the Italian front an overwhelming military success, itself effected largely by propaganda, could not win a decision, although it reestablished the Austrian Army and compelled the French and British to stiffen the Italian front with eleven divisions at the expense of a more important theater.
It was only where a lesser power, Belgium, Serbia, or Roumania, was attacked that a purely military decision could be won, although even here brilliant leadership was usually necessary to supplement superior resources.
From the above facts it may be deduced that when a great power is at war with a small power it will probably still be possible to win a purely military decision by destroying the enemy field armies; but when great nations are at war with approximately equal military forces it will seldom be possible to win a purely military decision.
In any case, it would appear to be the correct policy to strike first with full force in the attempt to win a rapid military decision before the fronts are stabilized. Failing to accomplish this, we should then endeavor to form our battle lines as far to the front as possible in order to secure, to use a naval term, the control of the greatest possible amount of enemy territory and to confine the operations of the enemy field armies to as restricted areas as possible, denying him, insofar as possible, areas of industrial and economic importance. It is interesting to note that this is how Frederick, in 1778, said he would act if he ever had to fight again. We should then carry out such offensive operations as may be possible in order to wear down the enemy by constant pressure and limited offensives, but only in such tactical situations that the relative losses, both moral and material, will be to our advantage. We must always be ready to seize the opportunity for an attack in full force whenever the opposing field armies have been so reduced in physical and moral strength that there is a good prospect of decisive success.
VI. The Campaign of the Battle Fleet.—Where the two opposing nations have no common land boundaries, the navy will usually be the principal instrument of warfare, particularly in the first stages of the war. As in military strategy, it is naturally desirable to endeavor first to defeat the main forces of the hostile navy. For this purpose the most powerful units, supported by all of the smaller units necessary for fighting a fleet action, are formed into a battle fleet. The duties of the advanced forces in scouting and screening for such a fleet are so varied and important as to warrant the formation of a scouting fleet which, in our Navy, operates directly under the commander-in-chief of the United States fleet. Our battle fleet, assisted by the scouting fleet, endeavors to locate, bring to action and destroy the enemy battle fleet; but if at certain periods of history the decisive defeat of the enemy field army has been a difficult accomplishment, that of the battle fleet has been even more so. This is due to the special circumstances of naval warfare which allow an enemy fleet to decline action by remaining in a defended port or so close to it that an assured line of retirement is always available. This means that a fleet action could take place only:
- When both fleets were willing to fight, or
- One was lured to sea and its retreat cut off, or
- It was forced out of port by pressure other than that exerted by our battle fleet.
Due to these facts, fleet actions have rarely occurred, and of these very few have been decisive. Such as have been, were won over very inferior opponents and even then only after protracted campaigns. They have not generally had the same immediate effect upon the course of the war as great military victories which have permitted the occupation of enemy countries, but their ultimate effects have been almost as decisive.
The ability of an inferior fleet to avoid action has been increased by the latest developments:
- Due to the use of torpedoes, mines and smoke screens by special vessels, it is easier for a fleet to decline, or even to disengage itself, from action.
- The use of large numbers of submarines and aircraft renders it more dangerous to attack an inferior fleet in its own waters.
Nevertheless, despite these difficulties, the importance of decisively defeating the enemy battle fleet is so great that every opportunity for action should be seized; in addition, we must endeavor in every possible way to bring about and force such opportunities, which must not be missed just because all the conditions are not in our favor. These opportunities occur so seldom to a superior fleet that they should be regarded as absolutely priceless and distinctly unfavorable battle conditions, should be accepted if necessary.
If an opportunity does not occur to destroy the enemy battle fleet and cannot be forced at present by any means in our power, we must then act along the same lines as a field army which is unable to gain a decision on land. Our battle fleet, assisted by the scouting fleet, should push its front as far toward the enemy coasts as it can be maintained in order to secure the control of the greatest extent of sea area possible, in particular that through which lines of transportation vital to us and the enemy run, and to confine the enemy battle fleet, and, as far as possible, his scouting fleet, to restricted areas off his own coast or bases, our scouting fleet and battle fleet taking such dispositions that similar enemy fleets can initiate important operations outside this restricted area only with the probability of decisive defeat. In addition, we must wear down the strength of the enemy battle and scouting fleets with our light forces, defeat enemy detachments whenever they come within reach and sweep at irregular intervals through the area normally controlled by the enemy in the hope of making opportunities of inflicting losses on the enemy, as in the action of Heligoland Bight. And, most of all, we can never know when the unexpected opportunity to win a decisive victory will be presented and accordingly we must be ready at all times to seize with the utmost energy and aggressiveness this heaven-sent opportunity of ending the campaign.
VII. Cooperation Between the Field Army and the Battle Fleet.—Usually the field armies and the battle fleet carry on distinct and separate campaigns, cooperation between them being carried on through the medium of secondary forces. Even when the war plans are drawn in this way the campaigns of the field army and battle fleet should be so coordinated that each will give the other the maximum indirect support. In some cases the battle fleet, even when operating separately from the field army, should take for its primary mission the support or assistance of the field army. It is considered that the high seas fleet had a great opportunity to assist the German Army during the campaign in France of 1914. Had it made a threat toward the Channel or the British coast, or fought even an indecisive action with the grand fleet, it is very possible that the despatch of the British Expeditionary Force to France would have been postponed for some time; had even a partial victory been won over the grand fleet the sailing of the expedition might have been definitely cancelled. Again, in 1918 the German scouting groups of battle and light cruisers might have been able to hold up the sailings of our troop convoys for several weeks by operations in the Atlantic. While these groups would eventually have suffered heavy losses their sacrifice might have had decisive effects on the fighting in France. These operations of the German naval forces had probably greater chances of influencing the land campaign than in 1914, for in 1918 both armies were at their breaking strains; the Germans, having greater reserve power, would have won could our reinforcements of fresh troops have been even temporarily delayed.
In the same way it is conceivable that a field army should take for its primary mission the assistance of the battle fleet; if General Nogi’s siege detachment be considered a field army we would have an example of this at Port Arthur. One of the most important objects of the costly Flanders offensive in 1917 was the capture of the Belgian bases; this would have greatly assisted the British anti-submarine forces and, indirectly, the grand fleet.
In some campaigns the field army and battle fleet will work in direct conjunction; this is particularly the case where a field army attempts to carry through an oversea invasion. Notable examples are Parma’s attempt to invade England in 1588, Napoleon’s similar attempt in 1805, and the Japanese operations in their wars with China in 1894 and Russia in 1904.
In such campaigns it is believed that either the army or naval commander should exercise the supreme command, depending upon the service which has the paramount interest in the actual operation in progress. This commander should have the power to assign the tasks for the other service, but not the methods of execution. This idea has been fully explained by Captain Pye. As the operations carried on by the combined forces change in character, the supreme command changes from one service to another in accordance with which has the paramount interest.
VIII. Operations of the Detached and Control Forces.—In addition to the vessels composing the battle and scouting fleets there are usually available numerous other more or less obsolete naval vessels or converted merchant vessels which are not suitable for use in these organizations. Thus, at the beginning of the war, Great Britain had a great number of second line vessels, such as battleships and cruisers, and first line destroyers and submarines; great numbers of merchant vessels were also available for conversion. These vessels were therefore used for important subsidiary operations. Sometimes these operations assumed such importance that first line units—Queen Elisabeth, Princess Royal, Invincible and Inflexible—were detached from the grand fleet for long periods. In addition, many vessels were constructed especially for subsidiary operations, particularly monitors and anti-submarine craft.
In the same way, the British had considerable forces of Indian and South African troops and other partly trained organizations which were not suitable for use in France. These forces were therefore used for subsidiary operations and, in fact, these campaigns often became so important that good first line troops were used in them.
In the Navy we call these secondary forces “control forces,” because they “exercise” the control of the sea after the battle and scouting fleets have “secured” this control. Such military forces will be called, for want of a better name, “detached forces.” Sometimes these forces may comprise an entire service, as:
- When the enemy has no battle fleet, as in our Civil War.
- When the enemy’s battle fleet has been destroyed, as after Quiberon Bay, Trafalgar, or the Battle of the Sea of Japan.
- When we have not sufficient naval forces to form a battle fleet which would have any chance of operating successfully against the enemy battle fleet, as in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
- When the enemy field army has been completely defeated, but further pressure is required to bring the enemy to terms, as in the French occupation of the Ruhr.
- When we are unable to form a field army of sufficient size to engage in a land campaign against the enemy field armies, as was the case of England in the Seven Years War, when the troops were used for diversions.
When there is a deadlock between the opposing field armies and battle fleets, as in the World War, it is the efficient use of the detached and control forces which will decide the issue of the war. They are the reserves which may be thrown in on the fighting, economic or political fronts in accordance with our estimate as to where they can be used with the greatest effect. There will always be such a variety of demands made for their use, and such innumerable combinations can be made with them that their skillful use is a problem more difficult and complex than the comparatively narrow and strictly military or naval problems of the field army and the battle fleet.
The first and most natural use of our detached and control forces is to assist directly our field army and battle fleet in winning their campaigns. There are times when a certain detachment of the control forces, having accomplished its mission, may be withdrawn to the battle fleet, as were the Princess Royal, Invincible and Inflexible after the Falklands action. Also, sometimes the operation in which the detachment is engaged develops so unsuccessfully that it must be abandoned; in this case the forces engaged in it may be withdrawn to the battle fleet or field army, as were the Queen Elisabeth and the Anzacs from the Gallipoli campaign.
Sometimes our control or detached forces may be within supporting distance of our battle fleet or field army when a decisive battle is being fought. In such cases they should forget their present duty, march to the sound of the guns and intervene with their full power. This is what Tyrwhitt wished to do at Jutland. The Germans ordered all their submarines to the scene of action.
As both branches of the armed forces must be considered as one instrument for waging war, it is important that each should furnish the other constant mutual support. We have seen that in some cases the field army and battle fleet work in direct conjunction, but it is principally the naval control forces which are most suitable for affording direct support to the field army and the detached military forces which can best assist the battle fleet in its campaign.
These supporting forces may be given more or less permanently to the other service or may be loaned for a limited period. They may be placed directly under the orders of the other service or merely directed to cooperate as may be practicable. In some cases the supporting forces may be very small; in others they may be very powerful, as was Nogi’s siege detachment at Port Arthur.
The decision as to whether forces of one service should be given to the other depends upon an estimate as to whether these forces will be able to contribute more to the operations of our entire armed forces by acting in conjunction with the other service than with other forces of its own service. The maintenance of good feeling between the two services and the moral support afforded are important considerations which favor a general policy of mutual support wherever possible.
IX. Support of the Field Army by the Naval Control Forces.—The field army may be supported by the navy in several ways:
- By the transfer of naval or marine units to the field army.
- By giving the army naval guns and other equipment with or without personnel.
- By assisting military operations by artillery fire from ships.
- By safely transporting the field army and its supplies to the theater of operations.
The siege of Antwerp brought into action the naval and marine units of three nations. A German naval division was probably the most reliable unit of von Beseler’s siege detachment, while one British brigade of marines and two of seamen contributed somewhat to the prolongation of the defense. A French force of 8,000 marines under Rear Admiral Ronarc’h was enroute to Antwerp, but, failing to arrive in time, distinguished itself at Dixmude, where it lost eighty per cent of its strength.
All the field armies were greatly assisted by the navies in the supply of long range guns and other equipment. Early in the war the British Navy organized considerable forces of armored trains, armored cars, and aircraft which operated from the Channel ports against the forces covering the right flank of the German army. After the fall of Antwerp all these forces were given to General Rawlinson. The British Navy was also largely instrumental in developing the tank and the methods of using poison gases. As early as January, 1915, Sir John French urgently requested the use of the 15-inch howitzers being prepared by the Navy. Rear Admiral von Usedom, in command of the coast defenses of the Dardanelles, furnished large numbers of howitzers and guns to supplement the weak artillery of the Fifth Turkish Army defending the Gallipoli Peninsula. The German Navy furnished the naval guns from which the long range guns for the bombardment of Paris were built. Our Navy supported the field army with a battery of five 14-inch railway guns.
On a number of occasions the guns of naval vessels have furnished excellent artillery support for the field army, particularly in the operations along the Belgian coast in the fall of 1914 before the Germans had been able to develop their powerful coast defense batteries.
The British Navy played an extremely important part in the assembly of the field army from Great Britain, Australia and Canada on the western front and later the British and United States Navies performed a similar duty in transporting our army to France. The actual transportation of the troops is a duty of the naval transportation service, but the escort and protection of the troops and supplies enroute is a function of the control forces.
X. Support of the Battle Fleet by Detached Military Forces —Assistance of the battle fleet by detached forces will usually take the following lines:
- The use of an expeditionary force to seize and hold bases for the fleet.
- The attack of an expeditionary force or siege detachment upon the base of the enemy battle fleet in order to force it to sea.
- The intervention of shore based aircraft in an action between battle fleets.
Due to the fact that both battle fleets operated from their home bases, there were no instances of expeditionary forces seizing bases for them in the World War. Unfortunately, the British plan to seize Borkum for an advanced base was abandoned after the declaration of war. This form of operations, however, is of well recognized importance in an oversea campaign.
The campaign of Shafter’s army against Santiago and Nogi’s army against Port Arthur were both directed primarily against the hostile fleets in those ports. In the first case the fleet was forced to sea and destroyed; in the second it was partly broken up in the action of August 10 and finally destroyed by the guns of the Japanese siege detachment. The attacks of the Italians on the Isonzo front were partly directed at the Austrian battle fleet in Pola.
In future campaigns shore-based aircraft, particularly fighting and bombing planes, attached to either the army or navy, will be of great assistance should an enemy battle fleet venture into an area which can be reached by large numbers of such planes, either by intervening in a fleet action or by wearing down the enemy’s strength by unsupported attacks. The shore based air forces within their radius of action will usually be superior to any which can be flown from ships, and this fact, together with the increased effectiveness of the submarines, practically prohibits an attack in force on the coast of a powerful nation. This, however, has seldom been a practicable operation and is not necessary for winning the decision in a naval campaign; other methods of using a naval force to exert strong pressure on the enemy, such as reduction of outlying possessions and economic blockade, are practicable without bringing our battle fleet within range of the main air forces of the enemy.
XI. Indirect Support of the Field Army and Battle Fleet by Secondary Forces.—In addition to directly supporting the field army and battle fleet the detached and control forces may afford indirect support by operating along separate lines, the forces not being attached to the field army or battle fleet or operating in conjunction with them. These operations take the following forms:
- Destruction of forces separated or detached from the field army or battle fleet.
- Diversions to weaken the enemy field army or battle fleet.
- Attacks by light forces on the enemy battle fleet.
Most of these operations require the closest cooperation between the two services and by means of them each service can utilize its excess forces to assist the other service. In many cases combined military and naval forces can be used most effectively. A general practice should be made of detailing forces, even very small ones, from one service to the other, because such forces usually will be able to afford support out of all proportion to their own strength. The Dardanelles and Mesopotamian campaigns show this cooperation between the two services in its best form.
XII. Destruction of Isolated Detachments.—Often in war, portions of the enemy forces become separated from their field army or battle fleet in such situations that we may organize special forces to destroy them.
In naval warfare opportunities to attack isolated enemy forces occur most frequently at its beginning before the enemy has time to concentrate his forces. In 1904 the Japanese were able to destroy a light cruiser and gunboat at Chemulpo and to isolate a cruiser division in Vladivostok, thus weakening the Russian battle fleet based on Port Arthur. In 1914 the British had an opportunity to destroy the Goeben and Breslau and thus weaken the high seas fleet by the loss of two important units.
In land warfare the opportunity to destroy detached forces occurs most frequently when portions of the field army are left behind to assist in the defense of fortresses. There were numerous examples of this in the World War and in 1870 Bazaine’s entire field army was swept into and destroyed at Metz. This form of operations has a number of advantages:
- It reduces the forces available to the enemy field army and battle fleet. The German naval forces on foreign station at the beginning of the war—one battle cruiser, two cruisers, seven light cruisers—represented quite a reinforcement for the high seas fleet. In the same way the heavy losses in prisoners and guns occasioned by the fall of fortresses reduced the strength of the field armies.
- Such successes are usually assured, due to our superiority of force, and are often cheaply bought, due to the enemy’s knowledge that ultimate victory is practically impossible. There are, however, some notable exceptions, such as the famous sieges of Ostend, Genoa and Port Arthur and the remarkable defense of German East Africa, one of the great exploits of history.
- Important military or naval advantages will often be gained, particularly in opening up and securing lines of communication and transportation, as at Liege and the Falklands action.
- Economic and political advantages may be gained, as at Tsingtau.
These operations, however, have the serious disadvantage that they usually require a superiority of force and to carry them out we may be compelled to weaken our more essential forces at a critical time. Where the operation can be quickly decided, such a weakening of our main forces is justifiable, especially if the secret is well kept. The Germans did not know that two battle cruisers had been detached from the grand fleet until the results of the Falklands action were announced and they probably never knew of the detachment of the Princess Royal. However, if Sturdee had not had such extraordinary luck in meeting von Spee so quickly, the loss to the grand fleet of three important first line units for a protracted period would have been a somewhat serious one. In some circumstances superiority of force is not required in these operations. A most spectacular example was von Beseler’s capture of Antwerp with a miscellaneous collection of reserve Landsturm and naval units operating against a force double his in strength and sheltered by the second strongest fortress in Europe.
XIII. Diversions.—A diversion is usually a most satisfactory form of operation for temporarily reducing the strength of the enemy’s field army or battle fleet. First, a diversion requires only small forces. In naval warfare even a single ship, as for example the Emden, Karlsruhe or Moewe, can create a most successful diversion. On November 5, 1914. the Germans had at large but five ships, of which two were armored; to run down this force the British were actually using about thirty ships, of which twenty-one were armored, not counting large Japanese and French forces and armed merchantmen. Second, our force, having the advantage of initiative, surprise, and the choice of a large number of objectives, can usually inflict considerable military, naval, economic and political losses on the enemy. Third, in case our force should hit a weak spot, it can often be reinforced and changed into an important operation, which actually happened at the Dardanelles. Fourth, the enemy usually is required to employ greatly superior forces to meet our attack; he must guard a great number of possible objectives and must always be ready for a repeated attack in the same place. Fifth, a diversion does not require that our force be successful or even heavily engaged, although, of course, its results will be greater if this be the case. Diversions may be made by:
- Military forces, as in the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal and that against the Persian oil fields.
- Naval forces, as in the first attack on the Dardanelles and the Ostend operation of August, 1914.
- Combined forces, as in the attacks on Rochefort and Cherbourg in the Seven Years War.
The Turkish attack on the Suez Canal, although made by very small forces which failed most completely in their attempt to injure the canal, was really a most successful diversion, largely because of the great importance of its objective. This induced the British to retain large forces in Egypt and to undertake the highly unprofitable Palestine campaign, tying down for several years an army, which ultimately reached 270,000 men, exclusive of followers, while the Turkish Army was a fraction of this figure. In the same way a small force of Turks and Arabs attacked the British oil fields in Persia and the pipe lines along the Kanin River; this drew two gunboats and an entire brigade. '
The first stage of the Dardanelles attack actually was designed to create a diversion to assist the Russians. It succeeded in drawing six Turkish divisions to the Dardanelles. While this was an excellent diversion from the Russian viewpoint, it was not so favorable when it was decided to change the diversion into an attack in force.
At the end of August, 1914, the British Navy concentrated a considerable force in Ostend and landed a brigade of 3,000 marines. This created a powerful diversion and according to General Dupont was the culminating element in the German decision to withdraw from the Marne.
The use of combined forces for diversions was one of the principal elements of Pitt’s strategy in the Seven Years War. The attacks on Rochefort and Cherbourg were designed to draw off troops from the German front and, although they had very slight actual success, they had excellent strategical results. In the Civil War combined federal forces at Fort Monroe drew off Longstreet’s corps of 15,000 men from Lee’s army and compelled him to fight the Battle of Chancellorsville against great odds.
When an operation can at the same time crush an enemy force and act as a diversion, it is particularly effective. One of the best examples of this was von der Goltz’s counter-attack on Townshend’s army and its ultimate capture at Kut. Not only was a distinct victory won, but the necessity for the British to regain their moral losses and prestige in the East compelled them to mass an army which ultimately grew to 280,000 troops, exclusive of followers, to carry on a campaign whose small results were altogether out of proportion to the forces used. The German-Austrian attack on Italy in 1917 not only inflicted the heaviest losses on the Italians, but forced the British and French to use their scanty reserves to stiffen the Italian front to their own cost in March, 1918. Although made largely for political reasons the German-Austrian attack on Serbia in 1915 practically destroyed the Serbian army and drew from the western front great numbers of French and British troops. In 1918 the army based on Salonica numbered, including Greeks and Serbians, 630,000 men, exclusive of followers. In addition all the equipment for the Greeks and Serbians had to be furnished by the British and French, and the Italians had to give two divisions to furnish a front in Albania.
XIV. Attacks of the Light Forces.—Our control forces will often be able to attack important units of the enemy battle and scouting fleets. Submarines are particularly effective for such attacks. British submarines torpedoed at various times two battleships and two battle cruisers. Minelayers were also effective; the Audacious and other important units were lost as a result of their operations. Shore-based bombing and torpedo planes, both military and naval, will be a constant menace to enemy forces venturing near their bases.
XV. Operations Affecting the Economic Forces.—Having considered the primary missions of our military and naval services, that is, the decisive defeat of the enemy field army and battle fleet, and also those operations of the detached and control forces which are intended to assist our field army and battle fleet in their campaigns, both directly as a part of these main forces and indirectly in distinct and separate operations, it is now appropriate to consider the further operations of the detached and control forces which primarily affect the economic forces of the opposing nations and thereby indirectly affect all the national forces. These operations fall into three classes, according as their mission is:
- To exert pressure on the enemy economic forces.
- To resist the pressure of the enemy armed forces on our economic forces.
- To assist our economic forces.
Our armed forces are designed primarily for use against the enemy armed forces. Their use against economic forces is an unnatural one which must be justified by unusual conditions. Such operations are restricted by the prevalent conception of international law and usually to be successful involve its violation in important respects. They also often cause great suffering among the civil population of the enemy nation and great bitterness toward us; this will be turned to good account by the enemy. In many cases, particularly in naval warfare, neutral lives and property may be destroyed and this may cause powerful neutrals to take sides with the enemy or at least assume an attitude of benevolent neutrality. Therefore, in deciding upon operations against the enemy economic forces, the adverse political effect must be accepted and steps taken in advance to counteract it.
XVI. Attacks on the Enemy Economic Forces.—In general, direct attacks on the enemy economic forces are made when:
- Our naval forces are unable to secure the command of the sea by operations against the enemy battle fleet and must be used for missions easier of attainment, in particular attacks on trade.
- Our naval forces have secured the control of the sea by successful operations against the enemy battle fleet, thus permitting our control forces to exercise that control by exerting pressure on the enemy economic forces by blockade or similar operations.
- The enemy is unable to organize a battle fleet, thus allowing a considerable part of our forces to be used for exerting economic pressure by blockade.
- Our military forces, due to the defeat of the enemy field army, can occupy important economic centers or areas which are vital to the enemy.
In all these forms of operations more or less contact with the enemy armed forces must be expected, but these contacts are merely incidental to the execution of our primary mission, the attack of enemy economic forces.
In the World War the Germans, realizing that they could not secure the control of the sea by operations against the grand fleet, while continuing such operations, used their control forces to attack the economic forces of the Allies. These attacks took the following forms:
- Submarine warfare, including mining, against allied and neutral trade.
- Cruiser warfare against trade.
- Aircraft bombing attacks against industrial centers.
The German submarine offensive produced remarkable results, both favorable and unfavorable. The direct influence upon the economic forces of the Allies was so great as almost to decide the war. These results indirectly influenced the military situation greatly to the advantage of the Germans, but on the other hand they had a most unfavorable political result, the entry of the United States into the war, which in turn changed the military situation against the Germans. The question of submarine warfare is a balancing of favorable economic, military and naval factors against the unfavorable political factor. While this form of warfare was greatly criticized by those who suffered from it and while it is formally barred by an obscure treaty, it cannot be left out of consideration in contemplating future naval wars, because, while such forms of warfare are distinctly out of favor in our country, we must always count upon its use by an enemy nation, a fact which is accepted by a leading British naval critic. History affords no instance of a nation losing a desperate war for its existence without using every means at its disposal to win and it is even more doubtful if there will be such cases in the future. Furthermore, it may be possible under special conditions, as was the case in the Sea of Marmora, to use it in an area where there are no neutrals or where it is unnecessary to attack without warning.
Cruiser warfare against trade is sometimes justified on a small scale, but more as a diversion or threat than for producing any important actual results. A limited number of raiders should be used, because in this way we produce a moderate economic effect, due to delay of sailings, increase of insurance rates, and deterring neutral ships from serving the enemy. In addition, it creates a diversion by keeping in play a large number of enemy cruisers. The cruises of the Emden, Karlsruhe, Moewe and Wolf are models for such operations.
The actual effects of the air attacks on industrial centers is still difficult to estimate. During the war the Allies refused to admit that any economic or military damage had been done. Disclosures since the war tend to show that their effects were quite important in slowing down work, although the actual damage done was slight. As military diversions they were extremely effective and they drew many planes away from the western front for defensive work in which they were practically useless. Their political effect is doubtful. At first they certainly encouraged enlistments and had a great propaganda value, but these effects wore off in time and later in the war the continual attacks must have had a considerable adverse moral effect. Repington describes their demoralizing effect upon the British Cabinet.
When a navy has secured the control of the sea its control forces may then exert economic pressure upon the enemy by preventing his merchant vessels from passing through it. They may also prevent neutral vessels from trading with the enemy either directly or indirectly by:
- Blockade of the enemy coast.
- A system including inspection of cargoes, transference to the contraband list of all articles and material, and pressure upon neutrals to prevent enemy destination of goods.
Due to the changed conditions of naval warfare it was impracticable in the World War to declare a blockade of Germany which would have any pretense of legality. The British, therefore, built up a large force of armed merchant vessels to cover the area between Scotland and Norway to intercept all passing ships. As it was dangerous because of submarines to inspect the ships at sea, they were ordered by a new extension of international law to proceed into inspecting stations. The next step was to make everything absolute contraband, despite the generally prevailing ideas of international law. All that remained was to prove enemy destination. This being impracticable in the case of goods consigned to neutral countries, such goods were passed only if the consignee guaranteed that they would not reach Germany; if this agreement were broken the firms concerned would be blacklisted and no further goods consigned to them would be passed. This system finally resulted in an effective economic blockade of Germany, and produced great and almost decisive results. Indirectly it struck the German army heavy blows from the rear and had much to do with its eventual breakdown. Its starvation feature, accompanied by great increases of disease, particularly among the children, as described by Philip Gibbs, struck a staggering blow at the morale and will to conquer of the entire German nation. Its political effects on neutrals were bad, but by skillful diplomacy and propaganda, these were kept within limits, and the British were assisted by the more apparent violation of international law by the German submarine offensive.
In the Civil War the inability of the Confederate States to organize a battle fleet allowed a great part of the federal navy to be used for legitimate blockade of the Southern States, which greatly influenced the result of the war. The British naval expedition up the Yangtze in 1842 so effectively cut the Chinese lines of communications that they were forced by economic losses to sue for peace.
Military forces may be used directly against the economic forces of the enemy, but this is seldom their primary mission until the enemy field armies have been destroyed. The German invasion of France in 1914 was primarily to destroy the French Army, but the incidental occupation of the coal and iron mines was a powerful blow at the French economic forces.
After having gained a definite decision over the enemy field armies the next objective for our military forces becomes the economic forces of the enemy. Sherman’s march from Atlanta and Sheridan’s devastation of the Shenandoah Valley were both direct attacks on the enemy economic forces. The organization of a nation is now so strong and complex and the economic forces of the world are so interwoven that sometimes a military decision will not in itself bring about the defeat of the enemy nation. In this case it is necessary to use our military forces directly against the economic forces of the enemy as the French did in the Ruhr. Such operations, although apparently successful in this case, are very costly and their political effects are doubtful. There is a distinct limit to the penalties which may be imposed upon a defeated nation.
XVII. Defense of Our Economic Forces Against Hostile Attack.-—The second class of operations affecting the economic forces is the resistance of the pressure of the enemy armed forces upon our economic forces. As the enemy military forces will be used for this purpose only after our field armies have been destroyed, we may consider only naval attacks on our economic forces.
A passive defense will require naval forces far superior to the enemy attacking forces. Thus the allied forces resisting the German submarine warfare were probably twenty times more numerous than the entire German submarine service. The naval forces used for resisting attack must be taken from the battle or scouting fleets or produced at the expense of other naval, military or economic forces. The allied anti-submarine organization, including the shipbuilding industries developed, caused a great drain on all the allied forces.
For these reasons it is naturally most desirable to organize counter-blows against the enemy submarine, cruiser and air bases, as these operations require only small forces compared with those necessary for a passive defensive. In the World War, although many plans were laid for the seizure of Borkum and the Belgian bases, unfortunately very little materialized, except for the partly successful blocking attacks on Zeebrugge and Ostend in 1918 and some ineffective long range bombardments and bombing attacks. Strong naval or combined attacks would appear to have been far less costly than the terrible losses of the Flanders offensive which had for one of its most important objects the seizure of the Belgian bases.
Even with strongly organized counter-blows, it must be recognized that some of our control forces must be used for defensive purposes, notably escort duty. Such forces have a tendency to grow to an abnormal and unnecessary size, as did our coastal forces in the World War, which were useless and costly from both naval and economic viewpoints. A special effort must be made to keep such forces to an absolute minimum in the next war.
XVIII. Support of Our Economic Forces.—Our third mission in the group affecting the economic forces is that of assisting our economic forces. This can be accomplished along two general lines:
- By using direct naval or military operations to obtain raw material or to open up a route for the delivery of finished material.
- By cooperation with the economic forces in their development, maintenance, and operation.
The first line of action is a function of the detached and control forces. On several occasions during the war military detached forces were used for the purpose of obtaining raw material. One example was the German expedition into the Ukraine to obtain wheat. The necessity for obtaining food and oil was one of the main reasons for the German offensive against Roumania, although the primary reason was to destroy the Roumanian army and shorten the front. This campaign also opened up the Danube as a line of communications. One reason for the attack on the Dardanelles was to obtain food from Russia. The German Navy assisted in the building of the U-Deutschland, which obtained valuable raw material in the United States.
Two of the main currents in the World War developed from the necessity for opening up routes for the delivery of finished material to allied nations temporarily cut off by enemy forces and neutral nations from their source of supply. These were:
- The efforts of Germany to supply Turkey which resulted in von Mackensen’s drive through Serbia and the establishment of a direct line of communication from Berlin to Constantinople.
- The attempts of France and Great Britain to supply Russia through the Dardanelles, the White Sea, Vladivostok and the Baltic.
A most interesting series of attempts was made by the Germans to supply their forces in East Africa, including one long airship flight.
The second line of action is a function of the administrative bureaus and officers of the War and Navy Departments. We of the Army and Navy depend to a great extent upon the backing which the economic forces give us. They can only be properly developed and maintained for war purposes if we assist them with our cooperation. The following are some of the lines along which we can help:
- By assisting the development of our industrial system during peacetime. In the past we have done very much to assist our steel, engineering, electrical, shipbuilding and other activities, which are essential to us in war. This assistance should be both technical and financial. Churchill takes great pride in having kept alive the Coventry Ordnance Works, which comprised one third of England’s capacity for making guns, by assigning them contracts in 1913.
- By determining in advance the requirements of the army and navy and having tentative contracts arranged to be filled at the declaration of war. Von Tirpitz had made arrangements before the World War by which the usual peacetime contractors would be required greatly to increase their contracts in the event of war during the period of their effectiveness.
- By cooperation in purchases between the army and navy and other governmental departments.
- By deciding in advance the merchant vessels to be allotted to the army and navy. The navy preferably should operate all such ships.
- By so regulating the draft procedure that there will be the most suitable distribution of the nation’s manpower among the armed and economic forces.
- By eliminating unnecessary demands upon the economic forces.
- By endeavoring to reduce the dislocation of our peacetime industries insofar as possible, so our business prosperity will continue.
Finally, we must again remember the tremendous strain that war makes upon our economic forces, and that it is not only our mission to win the war, but to win it as quickly as possible and with the least drain on our economic forces. This is particularly the case in a war of exhaustion which is prolonged to such an extent that the victors are little better off than the vanquished. Rather than prolong a war to such an extent, where only a Pyrrhic victory can be won, it is considered proper to force a decision even if our chances of victory are thereby somewhat reduced. In other words, we should never be satisfied to win a war as the World War was won. An alliance with practically double the fighting forces and economic resources of its enemy should not be content to win by mere exhaustion after over four years of the costliest national effort.
XIX. Operations Affecting the Political Forces.—The detached and control forces are available for a third general class of operations, those affecting the political forces. Such operations usually at the same time exert political pressure upon the enemy, resist the pressure of the enemy armed forces on our political forces, and assist our political forces in the execution of their war mission. Incidentally, they involve contact with the enemy armed and economic forces, but these are not their primary objectives.
In the first place, it must be distinctly recognized that the field armies and battle fleet should not be used directly for political purposes. Their mission is to win their respective campaigns and by doing so they will indirectly create the greatest political influence. The Kaiser would not allow the high seas fleet to accomplish its only legitimate mission by engaging the grand fleet, reserving it for use as a “political instrument.” It accomplished nothing along these lines, but as a “naval instrument,” it might then, and later did, have important effects on the course of the war.
The use of military and naval forces for political effect is usually justifiable only when comparatively small forces are required to accomplish this mission. It is extremely dangerous to detach large forces from duty against the main forces of the enemy, where it is known that they will have a definite military or naval effect, in order to influence a very uncertain political situation, where they may have no effect or even an unfavorable one. An example of this was General Townshend’s attack on Bagdad, which was made mostly for political effect. Had he been successful great political results would have been won, but when, despite his brilliant leadership and the bravery of his troops, his entire detachment was captured at Kut, this produced exactly the opposite effect and the British became involved in operations on a large scale in an unimportant theater of war. In general, forces may be used in the following ways for political effect:
- To induce a neutral nation to enter the war on our side or to prevent one from joining the enemy.
- To incite revolts or create disturbance in the enemy country.
- To occupy enemy territory to improve our claims at the peace conference.
- To improve the political situation by winning some minor but striking success of little actual military or naval importance.
XX. The Winning of Neutral Support.—Naturally, the first class of operations is by far the most important and here we will often find great opportunities for winning important results with small forces. In the World War we have the classic example of the Goeben and Breslau; these two ships contributed greatly to the entry of Turkey into the war in accordance with her secret treaty of August 2, 1914; they won a political victory which indirectly had as important results from military and naval viewpoints as could have been gained by a succession of great battles. Turkey and later Bulgaria held in play well over a million allied troops, whose supply strained the transportation service and its protective forces to the utmost limit.
One of the greatest problems of the British political forces was to bring Italy into the war. That they should have been able to accomplish this at the very time the Russians were being so badly beaten on the eastern front was a great feat; the British armed forces used two measures to support their political forces:
- The landing attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula to induce Italy to enter the war in time for her share in the partition of Turkey.
- The agreement to support the Italian Navy with four second-line battleships and supplementary light forces, to increase its chances of controlling the Adriatic.
The Gallipoli attack was also designed partly for its political effect on Greece, Bulgaria and Roumania; had it succeeded the Balkan states would have joined the Allies; even its partial success induced Greece to offer to join in the military operations, but this advantage was vetoed by Russia in the strongest terms. When the attack failed, Bulgaria could no longer be held hack, and even the offer of 200,000 troops to assist Roumania could not affect her neutral attitude at this critical time. When later she was won over, this proved to be to the advantage of Germany rather than the Allies.
The agreement of Germany and Austria to support Bulgaria with eleven divisions led by a famous general was instrumental in inducing her to join the central powers.
Another political reason for the Dardanelles operation was to further the British policy of giving encouragement to Russia by winning Constantinople for her. But even in this respect the political effect was opposite that intended, for when the British failed when so near their goal the German propaganda service implanted the idea in Russia that the British had abandoned the expedition to avoid having to turn Constantinople over to the Russians according to the agreement.
XXI. The Incition of Revolts in Enemy Countries.—It has always been a principle of war to stir up portions of the enemy population to revolt by furnishing the discontented elements with troops and supplies. France, in her wars with Great Britain, always endeavored to land troops in Scotland and Ireland. While not formally at war with Great Britain during the first part of the Revolutionary War, her assistance of the American Colonies was meant as an indirect blow at Great Britain, and when that country was deeply involved, France entered the war.
In the World War it proved more difficult to incite revolts by the use of military and naval forces; secret agents and propaganda proved more successful. A German submarine and auxiliary were used for landing the leaders and supplies for the Irish revolt of Easter, 1916; the U-35 was instrumental in inducing the Senussi tribesmen to revolt in Egypt by carrying a Turkish mission and towing two boats loaded with military supplies for their use; small British detachments induced the Arabian tribes to throw off their Turkish allegiance and to operate with the British during the Palestine campaign.
XXII. The Seizure of Enemy Territory.—In most wars in which an early decision is not reached, attempts are often made by expeditionary forces, assisted by attached naval forces, to seize enemy territory for the purpose of retaining such territory permanently or of trading it for other considerations at the peace conference. It was in this way that Great Britain built up her empire at the expense of Spain, Holland, France and Germany. In the World War there was in addition the element of competition in the seizure of outlying territory by the allied nations, as it was realized possession would determine the allotment of the territory at the peace conference. The seizure of German territory also served the useful purpose of denying naval bases to the enemy cruisers at large.
XXIII. Minor Operations for Political Effect.—Sometimes it is justifiable to use small forces for the purpose of carrying out an operation which will have a great political effect. Although the U-Deutschland was sent to the United States for economic reasons primarily, it was such a spectacular feat that it increased German prestige in our country. The U-33 was doubtlessly sent to Newport for political effect. Its remarkable cruise, however, probably had an effect opposite to that intended. The cruise of the U-51 to Constantinople and the subsequent sinking of two British battleships had a great political effect. The sinking of the Goliath by a Turkish destroyer manned by Germans indirectly caused an open break in the British War Council as a result of Fisher’s ultimatum on the withdrawal of the Queen Elizabeth. The sending of our first division to France was largely for political effect.
The sentimental value of taking Jerusalem, Bagdad and Damascus probably was one of the minor reasons for undertaking these operations.
We must remember that operations for political effect are only justified when they can be undertaken by small forces; however, there are usually opportunities for such action and in many cases they will be very profitable.
XXIV. Cooperation Between the Army and Navy.—In a prosecution of a war along the above lines, it is absolutely essential that there be effective and constant cooperation between the army and navy. During peacetime we possess such a means of coordination of effort in the Joint Board and Joint Planning Committee. In wartime, by the addition of other officers, these organizations can be readily transformed into a joint staff for directing the operations of the military and naval forces along parallel lines, where they can afford each other constant mutual support. This pooling of the combined resources of our Army and Navy will give us an inestimable advantage over an opponent who operates his army and navy along entirely separate lines, as was so frequently the case in the World War.
The Secretaries of War and Navy should be members of a defense council for the purpose of coordinating the maintenance and preparation of the armed, economic and political forces during peacetime and their operation during war.
XXV. The Primary Mission and Composition of the Economic Forces.—The primary mission of the economic forces is to support the armed forces. In order to do this they must be built up during peacetime in such a way that they can be mobilized quickly to meet war conditions. When war comes the greater part of the economic forces should continue their normal peacetime activities so as to carry on the national life. A lesser part must be converted to such war use as may be necessary. In some cases entire industries must be devoted to war purposes and even greatly augmented, but in no case should there be a greater dislocation of our economic forces than is absolutely necessary, for this reduces our financial stability. An extreme case appears in the wars for Dutch independence when Dutch merchant vessels continually traded with the enemy and even transported Spanish troops; the Dutch authorities sanctioned and even encouraged this unusual form of trading with the enemy because they believed it the only means by which they could earn sufficient money to carry on the war.
The economic forces are principally composed of the following:
- Mining industries, particularly for coal, oil, iron and copper.
- Manufacturing industries, particularly for munitions, equipment, clothing, machinery, motor cars and airplanes.
- Overseas transportation services.
- Inland transportation services, including railways, inland and coastwise shipping, motor and possibly even air transportation.
- Shipbuilding industries, for both naval and merchant vessels.
- Communication services, including radio, cables, telegraphs, telephones, mail.
- Financial system.
- Agricultural system.
- Commercial system, including its foreign connections.
- Scientific organizations.
- Medical profession.
XXVI. Uses of the Economic Forces in the World War.— There were many familiar examples in the World War of the way in which these great national industries, systems and organizations afforded indispensable assistance to the armed forces.
The Germans used to advantage the coal and iron mines of occupied French territory; the oil fields of Roumania, although destroyed by the British, were reopened in time by the Germans to give them some much needed fuel. Before the war the British had been able to design the Queen Elizabeth class to burn oil only by reason of the Admiralty’s investment of large sums of money in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.
After the first part of the war had demonstrated the inability of the War Office to furnish sufficient munitions, a special ministry was formed for this purpose and by mobilizing all the manufacturing plants in England and even many of those in the United States it was able to supply ammunition and guns on such a scale that the pressure upon the German armies was greatly increased. In our country the development of standard designs for airplane engines, motor trucks and machine guns allowed us to turn out great quantities of such equipment and simplified both its production and operation. However, the decision on the standard design caused considerable delay, and in a future war we should have the designs ready in advance. The Germans even went so far as to form an auxiliary service and finally to draft illegally Belgian workmen to assist in its operation.
The British mercantile marine was used for assisting all the national forces in the World War. Under the supervision of the navy it made possible the concentration of the field army in France, it transported expeditionary forces over great distances to their objectives and maintained their long lines of transportation during extended campaigns. It assisted in the transport of our army to France. It transported fuel and supplies for the British navy and raw and finished material for the other economic forces.
The inland transportation services were also of the greatest assistance to the armed forces. Not only did they provide supplies for the field armies, but they contributed directly to many German successes by the rapid transfer of troops from one front to another or along lateral lines of communication behind the front in order to effect a concentration for a break-through. So important were strategic railways considered that before the war France loaned large sums to Russia for the purpose of building up the lines of communications in the Warsaw salient. These so greatly accelerated the Russian mobilization and strategic deployment on the East Prussian frontier that France was repaid many times over for her financial aid, even though the loans themselves are never recovered from the Russian government.
The shipbuilding industry played an important part in the first part of the war in completing the ships under construction and in rushing through emergency building programs. The British had detailed plans prepared for completing their ships under construction and as these ships joined the fleet its margin over the enemy was so increased that the chances of the Germans winning a decisive fleet action were decreased to almost a negligible quantity. As soon as these ships were completed, work was started on the Fisher emergency program comprising ships especially designed for the duties of the control forces. Later in the war the submarine offensive was countered only by using all the facilities of the British and American shipbuilding industries for building antisubmarine craft and merchant vessels to replace those destroyed.
On the other hand, practically the entire German shipbuilding industry was used for the production of submarines.
The various communication services were mostly taken over by the armed forces and proved of the greatest utility for military and naval operations and for economic purposes; they also were of assistance to the political forces, particularly the propaganda systems. Censorship of all forms of communications became a recognized war duty and it furnished us with much valuable information in addition to preventing intelligence from reaching the enemy.
The principal duty of the financial systems of the warring nations was to obtain the funds for the great expenses incurred by the armed forces and that portion of the economic forces devoted to war purposes. One of the surprises of the war was the remarkable strength of the financial forces, despite the predictions that the cost of the war would bankrupt the nations in six months. In no case could defeat be attributed to the failure of the financial systems. It was only after the war that the finances collapsed, and this was due partly to other causes.
Due to the British food blockade of Germany and the German submarine blockade of England, agriculture assumed for a time almost a decisive importance. The failure of the German potato crop was as great a loss as a defeat on the fighting front. All Germany was organized for producing food and Russian prisoners were utilized to great advantage for work in the fields. All occupied territory was cultivated, and frequently troops were used for gathering crops. Leaves of absence were granted as far as possible at the harvest time. In addition, rationing organizations were formed for the distribution of food. Other countries were forced to follow Germany’s example.
The commercial system played an important part in the purchase of supplies and equipment for the armed forces. Connections in neutral countries proved most important, particularly for the British who used our country as a source of supplies almost as effectively, except for price regulation, as though it were their own territory. Their hold on our economic resources was so strong that it was only with the utmost secrecy that nickel and copper could be obtained for the cargoes of the U-Deutschland. The British commercial organization throughout the world was a marvel of efficiency, which is worthy of close study.
All countries found their scientific organizations of the greatest utility in the invention and design of new instruments of warfare. In addition, the German scientists showed ingenuity in developing substitute materials to take the place of those cut off by the blockade.
The possession of a large and efficient medical profession is of incalculable advantage in wartime. In those countries which had this advantage, the armies were able to keep their effectives very high, due to the elimination of sickness and the return of the wounded to the ranks, while the Balkan nations on the other hand lost great numbers through sickness and had almost no provision for caring for the wounded.
XXVII. Minor Missions of the Economic Forces.—In addition to their main mission, the economic forces can perform other minor functions in war:
- Resistance to the armed forces, as in the case of the passive resistance of the Belgians to the Germans and the organized resistance of the German workmen and industrial leaders backed by the government in the Ruhr. Such resistance has the grave defect that it weakens our economic forces by the cessation of work.
- Aggressive action against the enemy economic forces, as, for example, the black-listing of neutral firms for trading with the enemy, the refusal to furnish neutral ships with bunker coal unless they agree not to trade with the enemy, and an embargo on the export of coal to neutral nations unless they furnish supplies in return or agree not to furnish the enemy with supplies.
- Assistance of our political forces, as, for example, the Anglo-French loan negotiated in the United States, which welded a powerful political tie between us and the leading allied nations; the war loans to neutral nations granted by the British, which were practically subsidies for their participation in the war; our war loans to the allied nations which renewed their political strength at a critical period.
XXVIII. Organization of the Economic Forces.—In order to operate the economic forces there are needed; personnel, raw material, money, and transportation. The allotment of these facilities involves many difficult and conflicting considerations and must be determined on a basis of priority by the defense council, one member of which should be the “Economic Administrator,” who should have the wartime command of all the national economic forces.
It is extremely important that the war organization of our economic forces be worked out at least along its general lines during peacetime, so that upon the declaration of war the necessary portions of the economic forces can be mobilized into a great national organization for carrying out their war mission, while the remainder, so far as possible, carry on the national life of the country as during peacetime. We will in this way avoid the uncoordinated efforts of the World War, when our economic organization was built up little by little without any comprehensive plan. If we did generally very effective work under this organization, how much more could we have accomplished had real economic war plans have been available at the declaration of war.
The economic administrator should supervise during war the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, Interior and Justice; the senior cabinet officer of this group should serve as acting administrator during peacetime and should be responsible for the preparation of the economic war plans.
Upon the declaration of war it will be necessary to appoint as administrator one of the leading organizers and business men of the country who has had wide experience along these lines. Preferably he should be familiar with military, naval and political affairs. Roosevelt would have been an ideal man for this duty in the World War.
XXIX. The Missions and Organization of the Political forces. The principal missions of the political forces are:
- To attack directly the morale of the enemy nation.
- To raise the morale of our own country.
- To influence neutral nations to our advantage.
In former times the principal duty of our political forces was to influence a small number of powerful individuals; our diplomatic service was sufficient for that purpose.
Now that an entire population as well as the government must be influenced, a propaganda service is formed to support our diplomatic service and to exert political influence over a wider field.
The propaganda service works both publicly and privately hand in hand with the diplomatic service. It acts publicly through the medium of news agencies, newspapers, publishing companies magazines and books; privately, it acts through our educational and religious systems and social, political, labor and fraternal organizations.
In the same way that our armed and economic forces must be built up and prepared during peacetime so must our political forces be used in peacetime in preparing the ground for their war measures. The political campaigns should be as carefully planned and prepared as those of the economic and armed forces.
XXX. Attacks on the Enemy Morale.—In attacking the morale of the enemy nation we have two general methods:
- To work secretly against selected individuals or organizations.
- To attack publicly the enemy nation as a whole.
In any nation there are weak spots. These may consist of either influential individuals or groups of people, whose actions weaken the government through mistaken idealism or deliberate defection stirred up by past grievances. The encouragement of these individuals or groups in their opposition to the enemy government is a delicate question. Often no action is necessary or even desirable, for their action is hostile to the enemy government rather than friendly to ours.
Formerly it was easier to cause the defection of influential men than in the present era. Philip of Macedon used to say that no city could hold out against him into which he could drive an ass laden with gold. In the age of mercenary troops treachery was of quite common occurrence; it was also prevalent in revolutions, there being familiar examples in the American and French revolutions; it also occurs in times of great national disaster, where a great nation falls before its enemies; notable examples are Talleyrand in 1814 and certain Germans in 1918; these traitors had little difficulty in winning over other persons whose resolution had been broken by military defeats; one may read in the memoirs of the Crown Prince of the complete moral breakdown of the German Great Headquarters at Spa in November, 1918, similar in every detail to that of Napoleon’s at Fontainebleau.
But, except at the actual breakdown of nations, when the sauve qui peut begins, there were very few people of any importance whose actions weakened the morale of their own countries; Germany had its Lichnowsky and Liebknecht; France its Caillaux, Merrheim, Faure and Flubert; only Austria and Bulgaria afforded numerous examples of defection.
Our secret propaganda can also be directed with effect against some selected minorities in enemy countries. This usually is a racial minority. Thus the Germans selected the Poles and the Irish as the objectives of their intrigues; the French, the Alsatians; the Russians, the Czechs; the Serbians, the people of Bosnia and the Banat; the Italians, the Austrian citizens of Italian descent; the British, the Arabs. The Bolsheviks worked through the German Communist party and undermined the very foundations of the German Empire. The French pacifists about ruined France in 1917. In some way, possibly through our representative at Sofia, the Bulgarian army was won over, so that the five divisions on the front attacked by the Allies marched home without making any resistance.
It was expected that the religious, political, labor and fraternal organizations of international scope would be an important means for influencing enemy nations, but the national spirit was so strong that it broke all such ties. Even the relationship of monarchs, despite reports at the time, had surprisingly little effect.
To work publicly against the enemy nation as a whole we have two general methods of operation:
- Official statements of our political and military leaders.
- Organized propaganda in newspapers and magazines.
The first method was usually employed to detach the people from their governments. It was used by the Germans in their various peace offensives to show that the Central Powers wished peace and that the allied governments were responsible for the prolongation of the war. It was used even more effectively by President Wilson who induced the Germans to depose their own leaders and bring about the downfall of their Empire by creating the impression that once a republic was formed the German people would be treated with great consideration; meanwhile the Fourteen Points found their way into the scrap-basket, as thev could not well remain on the table along with the Treaty of Versailles.
While official reports of military and naval operations are mostly for the purpose of raising the morale of our own people, they should, if practicable, also be utilized for breaking the confidence of the enemy nation, care being taken that they remain strictly truthful, so as not to induce overconfidence in our own people. The German reports were so effectively drawn that, according to Repington, their publication was prohibited in Great Britain.
The second method, that of using propaganda controlled by the government, is used principally for breaking the confidence of the enemy in victory. As this is meant for publication in enemy and neutral countries and has not the official stamp of approval it is not so necessary to keep strictly to the truth. This method includes:
- Exaggeration of the effect of battles. A Somme, a Flanders, or even a Jutland can be manufactured into a victory. A remarkable opportunity was afforded to make Pyrrhic tactical victories in Mesopotamia and the Palestine into great strategic successes. Much was made of the retreat of the Germans to the Hindenburg line, although this really strengthened the German position and had much to do with the total breakdown of the allied offensives of 1917.
- The exaggeration of enemy losses, in order to create the impression that the enemy leaders are ruthlessly sacrificing their troops. The allied propaganda along these lines was most effective, although now we see that the charge could be made against their own commanders rather than the German generals.
- The exaggeration of our reinforcements and new equipment being prepared. This was a constant feature of our wartime propaganda. Despite the fact that few of these predictions—as, for instance, those about aircraft and eagle boats—ever materialized, they doubtless had their effect on the enemy; it seems to be a human failing to think continually of what the enemy can do to you rather than what you can do to the enemy.
XXXI. Measures to Raise the Morale of Our People.—The second mission of our political forces is to raise the morale of our own people. This can be accomplished:
- By working privately through various civil organizations.
- By public official statements and organized propaganda.
- By taking appropriate action against unpatriotic individuals and organizations.
In our country splendid work was done during the last war to raise the morale of our people by all our civil organizations. Our educational system always provides a means for building up a spirit of patriotism during peacetime and in these days of pacifism particular attention should be given to training our youth in love of our country. Our religious systems also form a potent means of raising the morale of our people and during the war their work was very effective along these lines; it is to be hoped that our religious organizations will continue to exert all their efforts in encouraging patriotism and love of country. During the World War all of our social, political, labor and fraternal organizations used their powerful influences correctly, but some minor political and labor organizations are now centers of defection.
In wartime great countries usually have one or more great leaders whose public statements in time of defeat or even despair can rally their nations once more behind them. Thus time and time again the Germans rallied behind the towering figure of Hindenburg and perhaps could even have been rallied at the very end had not the exhaustion of four years’ struggle finally worn down the moral strength of their leader himself. Even in the darkest hours of 1918 the fighting spirit of Clemenceau, who so typified his people, kept the, French to their task. President Wilson, during wartime, had a remarkable influence over his people, and his decision to draft a large army for use in France—a decision which decided the war—was accepted without the slightest opposition by the nation at large. In the first months of the war Lord Roberts, Kitchener and Fisher raised the fighting spirit of the British to the highest degree and the people accepted without question all their decisions for throwing all the nation’s strength into the struggle.
All publicity connected with the war should be controlled by the propaganda service and handled in accordance with correct principles. It must be realized that untruthfulness is a dangerous expedient and that such propaganda may be a two-edged sword, which may injure us more than the enemy. Thoughtless action on our part may needlessly embitter the enemy or create overconfidence in our country. It is strongly believed that the course of the war should be truthfully described to our people. When we start concealing defeats and publishing fictitious victories we take a dangerous course. In the first place, this tends to make our people overconfident and to believe that all is going well, whereas in fact a dangerous situation may exist. In the second place, untruthful statements are usually detected in the end and this undermines the people’s confidence in the government and will lead them to suspect future official statements; furthermore, if the situation should continue to grow worse, there will come a time when this will have to be disclosed and then the issuing of bad news which has been accumulating for a long period will be a great shock to the people and a heavy blow at their morale; thus the British people were entirely unprepared for the news of the German break-through of March 21, 1918. Where a great crisis or battle is imminent, it is entirely correct to conceal the news of some minor defeats, which may be wiped out by the coming engagement,
A measure frequently employed during war is to accuse the enemy of committing inhuman atrocities; this is almost always a resort of a defeated army; it is seldom used by a victorious one. This, it is true, is extremely effective in instilling our people with hatred for the enemy, but it is the lowest form of warfare; if submarine warfare and poison gas are to be prohibited, how much more should be this treacherous and underhanded attack, which poisons the minds of entire populations and causes unspeakable bitterness for years to come. If such propaganda embitters our nation against the enemy it likewise causes equal hatred in the enemy nation for us. Regardless of the truth of the charges made the nation with the most effective propaganda will win this infamous campaign. Furthermore, it should be remembered that these attacks are made on our own profession and that they may react against us in future years.
During the World War such effective action was taken in our country against disloyal or unpatriotic citizens or residents that they were unable to accomplish anything of importance; we were far superior to all the European nations in this respect.
XXXII. Measures to Influence Neutral Nations.—The greatest field for the use of our political forces is that of the neutral nations. From the start of the war both British and Germans started political campaigns with this end in view. The diplomatic service was in the main employed in this campaign, but it was supported most effectively by the propaganda service and assisted by the armed and economic forces. In general, the European nations were swayed by two ideas:
- Which side would make the best offer.
- What were the chances of actually getting the territory or other considerations offered.
To take an example, the Allies could freely offer Italy large slices of Austrian and Turkish territory. They could back up their diplomatic offers to the government by converting the people at the same time by their propaganda. They could offer Italy assistance by their armed and economic forces. The Allies also appeared to have the best chances of victory. On the other hand, Germany could not induce Austria to cede much territory to its hereditary enemy; their propaganda was less effective and they could furnish little assistance with their armed and economic forces; as a consequence the Germans were fortunate to keep Italy neutral until their Russian campaign was well under way. They were also able to keep Italy from formally declaring war on Germany and continued to get many essential materials.
In Bulgaria, on the other hand, the Germans held the trump cards. They could freely offer Serbian territory, which, by Churchill’s admission, was rightly Bulgarian. They even induced their ally—Turkey—to cede immediately a small but important slice of land. They could offer strong military and economic assistance and could point to their Russian successes and the British failure at the Dardanelles as proof of their certainty of winning. As they knew Bulgaria would never enter a war against the United States, the Germans, especially, stopped the submarine campaign for this reason. Their one failure was the maintenace of the United States diplomatic service at Sofia after we entered the war; this gave us an unrivalled opportunity for propaganda.
The United States was in a different category from the European nations. We wanted nothing for ourselves and would enter the war either:
- To assist the side which had our strong moral sympathy in case it should appear to be in serious danger of losing the war.
- To resist the illegal action of one of the warring nations.
In the first case it was entirely a question of our sympathy. In the second it was partly a question of the gravity of the offense and partly one of sympathy. We would undoubtedly have permitted Great Britain and France to commit greater breaches of international law than would have been permitted to Germany. Thus the one really important matter was to win our sympathies. The Allies were certain to win the propaganda game in the United States, because:
- The British have always been head and shoulders above the rest of the nations in diplomacy and propaganda. Their whole history is based on their ability to win over neutral nations to their side and to form coalitions against the leading continental power. Their diplomacy and propaganda were the chief weapons which a century ago brought down Napoleon. On the other hand, with the exception of Bismarck, the German diplomacy has always been clumsy, and their propaganda, while perhaps suited for Russians and the Balkan people, caused such adverse results in the United States that it had to be stopped entirely. Von Bernstorff alone seems to have had some understanding of our character and he undoubtedly did exceptionally good work until his government, by the decision to commence again the submarine offensive, took the matter out of his hands.
- The British had the advantage that many of our most influential people made a habit of residing for long periods in France and England and as a consequence strongly favored those countries. In addition, the British held all the trump cards for their propaganda. The power who acts on the offensive, while having all the military advantages, unfortunately has many political disadvantages. As he is the invader, it is easy to prove that he is also the aggressor. It is easy to allege atrocities by the invader which it is impossible for him to disprove. In addition, the Germans, while not generally a military race, were of recent years considerably dominated by military leaders, and our dislike of everything military, even reasonable readiness for war, placed the Germans under a grave disadvantage. Finally, the British were able to take advantage of several incidents of no real importance, but which when presented with their usual skill for effect, had a remarkable propaganda value.
- The British had the great advantage of a common language which facilitated their propaganda, while all German propaganda had to be translated and republished.
- The British had the advantage of cable and radio communications, as well as the mail, while the Germans had to rely on a few radio stations.
It must be realized that it is not necessarily an advantage to bring a nation into the war on our side. It was probably an advantage for Germany—disguised at first it is true—when Roumania entered the war on the opposite side. On the other hand the Germans believed that we were serving the allied cause as much while we remained neutral as we could if we entered the war. This certainly was a mistake which cost them dearly. Had they delayed the announcement of the submarine campaign until the beginning of the Russian revolution, they would have seen that it was unnecessary to win the war; in that case we would not have entered the war at all, or if so we would probably have delayed until it was too late to prevent a German victory.
XXXIII. Organization of the Political Forces.—For the political forces to exert their greatest influence it is necessary that all the various forms of our diplomacy and propaganda be carefully coordinated; usually propaganda which is suited for undermining the confidence of the enemy or winning the sympathy of a neutral nation is of far too exaggerated a nature to use for our own population, which must be told honestly the true state of affairs. In the same way we will not wish the actual conditions to be known to neutral nations or to the enemy country. As an example, British leadership had to shoulder the blame for the terrible losses of the Flanders offensive of 1917; this was made largely to draw the attention of the Germans away from the French army, whose morale was so far broken that British writers now admit that the situation throughout 1917 after the Aisne offensive was the most critical of the whole war, not even excepting 1918. At that time, however, the true facts about the French army could not be revealed to anyone, because it would soon have become known to the Germans, probably with disastrous effect; the skill with which such a large secret was kept was most remarkable, but as a result British leaders were strongly criticized for the heavy losses of their troops.
In the World War the State Department, the Army, the Navy and various other agencies were engaged in propaganda work; as a result there was little coordination. Our political forces, including all forms of propaganda, should be operated in accordance with a definite system and a carefully thought out plan of campaign. It would appear that the State Department is the agency in our government best suited for operating the political forces and that it should, after consultation with the other interested departments, draw up the policies to guide our work and the definite diplomatic and propaganda plans to attack the enemy morale, to raise the war spirit of our own people and to win the sympathies of the important neutral nations. This should not prevent the various agencies for spreading propaganda from engaging in local work suited to their immediate needs, in the way that the Germans undermined the morale of the Italian armies in the fall of 1917, but whenever propaganda is of more than local importance it should be coordinated with the general plan of the State Department.
XXXIV. The Defense Council.—In order effectively to direct the armed, economic and political forces in proper coordination so as to create the greatest national effort, a defense council should be charged with the conduct of the war under the direction of the President, who is the commander-in-chief of all our forces. The Secretaries of State, War and Navy and the economic administrator should be the only members of the council. The disadvantages of a larger council are most feelingly shown by Churchill in his description of the conduct of the war by the British War Council in the latter part of 1915.
In important conferences the council will be presided over by the President. When desirable, members should bring their assistants to conferences; this should apply particularly to the chief of the General Staff and the chief of Naval Operations. Where special situations are to be discussed the officers who have made the closest study of them and are most familiar with their possibilities should be allowed to express their opinions and present their recommendations.
There should be in addition a defense council staff composed of persons nominated by the members of the council. This staff should draw the general plans and issue the orders for combined operations based on the decisions of the council; the staff should be authorized to initiate proposals for combined operations and make recommendations for the better coordination of the national forces.
XXXV. Conclusion.—In this paper the outline of the problem of national strategy has alone been sketched. Each one of the various phases herein briefly indicated is worthy of a study in itself. The proposals for a defense council and staff have indicated merely the general ideas for the formation of these important agencies, preferably by an expansion of the present Joint Board, which has done so much to bring the Army and Navy together. The details of its operation would have to be worked out in actual practice. These agencies are just as important now in peace time as in war; their formation agrees with the present demand of our people for economy, because there is no doubt but that the operation of such agencies would greatly increase our national readiness for war without added expense. A real coordination of our national forces in the next war will be worth many army corps and battleships.
While one object of this paper has been to stress the increased importance of the economic and political forces, it must still be remembered that the armed forces strongly predominate in war. Furthermore, it is forces which attack which count; we want armed forces which will be more than a First Line of Defense, unless by this phrase we mean to insure defense by attack. We must think of war as comprising attacks on the enemy, attacks in his own waters, attacks to gain the control of waters which are vital to him; only by such operations can we decide the war in our favor without bringing an excessive strain on our economic forces, and justify the sums of money which are expended annually for the maintenance of the armed forces.