The policy determines the goals and social character of the war, decisively affects its intensity and methods of conducting, the direction of the main efforts, the degree of mobilization of human and material resources. At the same time, war has the opposite effect on politics, slows down or, conversely, accelerates the development of socio-political processes.
Ancient commanders paid great attention to the political support of military campaigns. Macedonian drew to its side the cities of Asia Minor and this prepared for itself a base on the territory of the enemy. He provided an intervention into the depths of Persia with an alliance with the Egyptian priests, and during his campaign in India he used the feuds of the Indian Rajah. Hannibal understood that the outcome of the struggle between Carthage and Rome largely depended on who would win the Allies to his side. In the Punic Wars, the Allies were one of the decisive forces. Hannibal managed to attract to his side not only the Numidian princes and Spanish tribes, but also the Gauls, a number of Italian cities and Macedonia, with which he concluded an offensive-defensive alliance. In Africa, on the territory of Carthage, the Romans managed to create an anticarphagenic coalition, transfer the main theater of military operations there and smash the Carthaginian army.
Strategy without goal is blind
With the advent of mass armies, governments began to play a significant role in military affairs. The needs of financing, replenishing and equipping the army forced them to develop a bureaucratic apparatus and increasingly intervene in the solution of military issues. In France, the time of Napoleon, the war became a matter of the people, as a result of which many soldiers wanted to be useful to their homeland. War and politics always went hand in hand: the army was often used in the struggle for power, and they resorted to politics when there were not enough military forces.
As German military theorist Karl von Clausewitz argued, war is only part of political relations, and not at all something independent. “War,” wrote this famous military theorist who had accomplished a revolution in the theory of war with his writings, “is nothing more than the continuation of political relations with the intervention of other means. We say: with the intervention of other means, at the same time emphasizing that these political relations by the war itself do not cease, are not transformed into something completely different, but essentially continue, whatever form the means they use take, and that the main lines , according to which military events develop and are connected, are outlined by policies that influence the war right down to peace. ”
War should not be viewed as a separate phenomenon, developing according to its laws, but as a part of a single whole - politics. Politics turns war into its weapon and uses it to achieve its goals. Therefore, the highest point of view for leading the war can only be the point of view of the politician.
“The military art of politics is not a decree,” says Clausewitz. “For politics will give birth to war, it is the brain, war is only its means, not vice versa.”
“War and battle are two different things,” wrote Italian politician and statesman Francesco Saverio Nitti. - The battle is a fact of exclusively military nature, the war is mainly a political act. War is not solved by military actions alone. ”
If war, according to Clausewitz, is a continuation of politics by violent means, then one can neither identify war and politics, nor tear them apart.
Field Marshal Helmut Karl Bernhard von Moltke interprets Clausewitz’s words as saying that war is a continuation of politics, but only by other means: “Politics,” writes Moltke, “are unfortunately inseparable from strategy; politics uses war to achieve its goals and has a decisive influence on its beginning and end, and it reserves the right to raise its demands at any time or to be content with less success ... A commander should never be guided by political motives alone, and put success on war.
Moltke declares frankly that the pursuit of a peaceful policy can be carried out by relying on an army that is always ready for war. “If this huge flywheel were missing,” he writes, “the state machine would stop, the diplomatic notes of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not have the proper weight ... The army is the most important institution in the country, since it is thanks to it that all other institutions can exist , all freedom, political and civil, all that is created by culture, finances and states flourish and die with the army. ”
The dependence of military strategy on politics was noted by the French military leader and military theorist Marshal Ferdinand Foch in his work On the Conduct of War (1904). In his opinion, the policy should give the strategy a goal, without which the strategy will hang in the air, can only act blindly. The goal determines the way in which the strategy will have to conduct operations for the battle, as well as the extent to which it will need to develop operations to use the success achieved in the battle.
In the days of peace remember the war
Russian military theorist and historian Nikolai Mikhnevich in his extensive work "Strategy" paid much attention to the relationship between war and politics. From his point of view, politics, strategy, tactics have always worked on each other, while the policy not only indicates the goal of the war itself, but also determines the extent of the necessary efforts, strength of the parties, the boundaries of the theater of war and the nature of its conduct. That is, the political motive of a war can serve as a measure of its tension, incarnating into all sorts of forms, ranging from war of extermination to the posting of an observational corps. The political goal in this case should take into account the means of war.
“There must be complete harmony between politics and warfare,” says Mikhnevich. The success of the war depends on politics; it also has a decisive influence on the methods of warfare. In order to establish a close connection between politics and strategy, the combination of a commander and a politician, especially the head of state, will be the best.
War as the highest level of tension in the forces of a single combat policy requires the comprehensive use of all state forces and means. Foreign and domestic policy, finance, agriculture, trade, mining, industry, national economy - everything should be united in management and subject to the conduct of war.
This joint work should not be done in the last minutes before the outbreak of hostilities. It must be prepared in a long peacetime and requires all people who are called to high posts, in addition to the awareness of the seriousness of the situation, to also subordinate their activities to the interests of war.
High understanding of what is happening and teamwork with the command are the law. Vagueness, difference of views and discrepancy in judgments should be excluded.
Appropriate training in the field of domestic policy is also needed. The army and navy, of course, must remain in constant alert. All internal conflicts need to be eliminated: only people united in their striving for the highest can enter a decisive battle with full exertion of forces. It should promptly eliminate, uproot everything that interferes with such a struggle. Internal turmoil, including the confrontation of political parties, only weakens the power of resistance.
A tough policy can only be pursued by a full-fledged state whose power is based on its internal strength.
Plus public approval
During the First World War, the influence of politics on strategy increased. It depended on policy, what direction the war would take, what should be the relationship between the governments and the general headquarters and whether governments should completely give the headquarters military operations. British Prime Minister Lloyd George believed that not military experts, namely, governments should take responsibility for the political and strategic warfare (in the sense of coordinating actions on the fronts of the allied forces).
Thus, domestic policy as well as foreign policy is an irrefutable factor determining the nature of war.
The problem of the development and conduct of state military policy largely depends on how the war is treated, its essence and content, the ruling and intellectual elite, social strata and groups of the country assess the likelihood, goals and consequences.
At different times and in different countries, attitudes toward war changed and had different degrees of social harmony. An indicator of this was public opinion, which depended on the level of development and influence in the society of military affairs, the authority of military leaders and military theorists.
Unfortunately, Russia's state policy was not always up to the mark. Thus, during the Crimean War of 1853 – 1856, as a result of the incorrect assessment of the international situation by Emperor Nicholas I, Russia found itself in diplomatic isolation.
The victorious Russian-Turkish war of 1877 – 1878 for Russia ended in the San Stefano world. The decisions of this peace treaty were revised at the Berlin congress 1878 of the year, as a result of which, due to a miscalculation of Russian diplomacy, Russia lost many of its conquests.
In the 1904 – 1905 Russian-Japanese War, Japan isolated Russia, enlisting the moral and economic support of the United States and Great Britain, which ultimately was one of the main reasons for our defeat.
In 1914, government policy dragged an unprepared country into a war that resulted in the collapse of the Russian Empire.
Duty Enemy - Russia
The attitude of Western countries to Russia has always been distinguished by double standards. A classic confirmation of this is the irresponsible policy of the governments of England and France at the end of the 30 of the last century, when they tried with all their might to channel the expansion of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to the outbreak of World War II. At the same time, long before it began, Soviet diplomacy warned the British and French about the total threat of the aggressive course of Nazi Germany, not only for the East, but also for the West.
The dual policy of Western countries continued after the Soviet Union, being subjected to aggression by fascist Germany, became an ally of the United States and Britain in the anti-Hitler coalition.
For example, here’s a quote from the 1941 document of the United States Foreign Relations Council - an organization that largely determines American foreign policy: “This war gives you the opportunity to participate in the division of the world from Bohemia to the Himalayas and the Persian Gulf. It is necessary, in particular, to reorganize the space of Eastern Europe to create a buffer zone between the Slavs and the Teutons. ”
20 August in Quebec at the meeting of the leaders of the United States and Britain with the participation of the chiefs of staff, two plans were adopted - Overlord, which the USSR will inform 1943-th in Tehran in October and which provided for the Allies to land in France in 1944, and top-secret "Rankin" designed to turn Germany against Russia. According to this last plan, the Germans had to collude with the Western powers, disband the Western Front, provide support for the landing of troops in Normandy, ensuring the rapid advance of the Allies through France and Germany, their access to the line where they hold Soviet troops.
The destruction of Dresden on the night of February 12-13, 1945 was an act of intimidation and demonstration of the power of the American-English aviation in front of the Soviet Union. It is also known about the secret negotiations of the allies with representatives of the German command in Switzerland.
The atomic bombardment of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki served as a deterrent to the Soviet Union.
The US Secretary of State believed that the main advantage of a bomb was not in the degree of its impact on Japan. The true purpose of its use is to make Russians more compliant in Europe.
With full authority
Recently, many military theorists have changed their view of the relationship between war and politics. According to Army General Mahmut Gareyev, formally for almost 200 years now, the position that war is a continuation of politics by other, violent means remains universally recognized. That is, politics is the whole, and war is part of it, which determines the primacy of politics, its dominant position in relation to military strategy. “At the same time,” Gareev notes, “it was also recognized that the war has its own laws, which politics cannot ignore. Consequently, the inverse effect of the strategy on policy must also be taken into account. As shows historical experience, pure politics do not exist, it can be viable only if all objective conditions of the situation, including military-strategic considerations, are taken into account in aggregate. One of the reasons for what happened in 1941 is precisely this. And if you look critically at our past, for 150 years now the country's political leadership has been putting the army at the very start of the war in extremely unfavorable, unbearable conditions from which it has to get out. Let us recall at least the Crimean, Russian-Japanese, World War I, 1941, Afghanistan and Chechnya in 1994-1995. And after all this, they are still trying to convince us today that politics is the work of the elect and ordinary sinners, especially military people, do not dare to judge politics even scientifically. ”
The Russian military historian Anton Kersnovsky said that when a bad policy is bad, that branch is also called a strategy. And on a bad foundation you cannot build a solid building.
This thought is developed by the military theorist Alexander Svechin: “They are mistakenly talking about the harmful influence of politics on the leadership of military actions. Harm is caused not by the influence of a policy, but by an erroneous policy. The right policy can only contribute to the success of hostilities. Political leadership should not be limited to the opening of hostilities, but should be a continuous thread through the entire war; political demands should be taken into account when solving each issue. A political goal must always be kept in mind, but the leading role of politics in a war should not be turned into despotic arbitrariness of politics, since politics on its part, of course, must reckon and apply to the nature of military forces and means operating in a war. ”
Victor Novitsky is sure that the strategy should not be led by a politician. “Incompetence of a politician,” he writes in his work “Higher Strategy”, “can break out into a national catastrophe, with countless victims. The strategic leader is fully responsible to the nation for the following positions:
First and foremost, the highest strategy is responsible for the rejection of timely measures prior to the war, inclusively, of eliminating the dangers threatening the state from outside or hindering the full satisfaction of its vital interests.
A very significant responsibility falls on the highest strategy also for unreasonable evasion from wars, for striving in case of rivalry in armaments to prolong it, if possible to postpone the crisis. Deeply erroneous and irrational it is necessary to recognize this kind of desire to turn the intense rivalry of peoples in anticipation of armed conflict and crisis into chronic "rivalry for rivalry", in which the achieved superiority in forces ceases to be a means to subordinate the opponent to his will, and becomes an independent, self-satisfied goal.
In terms of preparation for war, the highest strategy is responsible for creating the necessary military power for the strategy, the most favorable starting position and, in general, the most favorable conditions for the resolution of force weapons queued task. She must take all possible measures to prepare for military successes.
Equally significant is the responsibility of the higher strategy for the completeness and expediency of using the results of wars to perform the task assigned to it.
With the exceptional importance of this task, the importance of the funds given by the highest strategy for solving it and the severity of the responsibility that falls on it, the person on whom the honorable, but at the same time and exceptionally heavy and responsible burden of managing the highest strategy of the state will fall, must be presented requirements. Therefore, the person called upon to this should use, in accordance with the demands made of him, the full authority in the performance of the task entrusted to him. The cooperation of all state institutions and the conscious assistance of all the people should facilitate the fulfillment of the task entrusted to it. ”
What is whose instrument?
Major-General Alexander Vladimirov also points to a change in the relationship between war and politics, noting that since Clausewitz, and in Russia, at the suggestion of Lenin, war has always been interpreted as a continuation of state policy by other means and implied only as an armed struggle itself. “The axiomatic nature of this thesis,” writes Vladimirov, “has never been challenged by military and political theory, although a deeper immersion into its semantics shows that this“ axiom ”belittles (simplifies) the meaning of both the concept of“ politics ”and the concept of“ war ”, impoverishes them, as well as both spheres of social existence. ”
Vladimirov notes that this collision was well understood by our researchers, and cites as an example the work of the modern military scientist Viktor Barynkin, who considers war to be an armed form of politics. Andrei Kokoshin adheres to this interpretation.
Vadim Tsymbursky describes the evolution of the generals' views on the war: “The views of military leaders on the relationship between strategy and politics characteristic of this cycle can be represented by the following scale. Clausewitz extols the "grand and powerful" policy that would have generated the same kind of war. For Moltke Sr., politics most often binds and constrains strategy, but the strategy “works best in the policy hand, for the latter’s purposes,” because “it directs its aspirations only to the highest goal that can be achieved with available funds.” Therefore, in some circumstances, a strategy feels its real interests better than a politician. And finally, as if on the opposite end of the scale from Clausewitz, E. Ludendorff appears with a view of politics as a continuation of the total war, its instrument. ”
But what kind of inputs Vladimirov comes to: “If Clausewitz’s war is a tool (means) of politics, then (after Ludendorff) we believe that politics is a tool of war, as well as its main tool is armed struggle.”
“Politics is first of all science and art to rule the state,” said military historian Anatoly Kamenev. - The object and subject of the policy is a military affair. The basis of politics is a system of state ideas or views on how to build relationships with other states, relations between classes within the country, what needs to be done in order to achieve the ultimate goal. For the army, it is extremely important which starting ideas lie at the heart of military policy. ”
Kamenev calls the army the only instrument of the state that serves the state with blood, pays the miscalculations of politics with its lives. “That is why,” the historian concludes, “in the policy system, the army occupies a special place and cannot be considered only as a servant of politics, and war is only a consequence (continuation) of politics. War is not only the continuation of politics, war is politics itself, but waged by force of arms. ”