total war

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total war
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{{Other uses}}{{History of war}}File:Atomic cloud over Hiroshima - NARA 542192 - Edit.jpg|thumb|right|The mushroom cloud produced by the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima during World War IIWorld War IITotal war is warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combatant needs. The Oxford Living Dictionaries defines "total war" as "A war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded.""Total war" Oxford Living Dictionaries]In the mid-19th century, scholars identified "total war" as a separate class of warfare. In a total war, to an extent inapplicable in less total conflicts, the differentiation between combatants and non-combatants diminishes, sometimes even vanishing entirely, due to the capacity of opposing sides to consider nearly every human resource, even that of non-combatants, to be a part of the war effort.Edward Gunn. "The Moral Dilemma of Atomic Warfare", Aegis: The Otterbein College Humanities Journal, Spring 2006, p. 67. NB Gunn cites this Wikipedia article as it was on {{diff|Total war|pref|24038262|27 September 2005}}, but on only for the text of the song "The Thing-Ummy Bob".Actions that may characterize the post-19th century concept of total war include:


The phrase "total war" can be traced back to the 1935 publication of German general Erich Ludendorff's World War I memoir, Der totale Krieg ("The total war"). Some authors extend the concept back as far as classic work of Carl von Clausewitz, On War, as "absoluter Krieg" (absolute war); however, others interpret the relevant passages differently.BOOK, Hew Strachan, Andreas Herberg-Rothe, Clausewitz in the twenty-first century, 2007, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-923202-4, 64–66, Total war also describes the French "guerre à outrance" during the Franco-Prussian War.BOOK, Roger Chickering, Stig Förster, The shadows of total war: Europe, East Asia, and the United States, 1919–1939,weblink 2003, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-81236-8, 8, BOOK, Bertrand Taithe, Defeated flesh: welfare, warfare and the making of modern France, 1999, Manchester University Press, 978-0-7190-5621-5, 35 and 73, BOOK, Stig Förster, On the Road to Total War: The American Civil War and the German Wars of Unification, 1861–1871,weblink 2002, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-52119-2, 550, In his December 24, 1864 letter to his Chief of Staff during the American Civil War, Union general Henry Halleck wrote the Union was "not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies," defending Sherman's March to the Sea, the operation that inflicted widespread destruction of infrastructure in Georgia.WEB,weblink William T. Sherman to Henry W. Halleck, 5 August 2015, United States Air Force General Curtis LeMay updated the concept for the nuclear age. In 1949, he first proposed that a total war in the nuclear age would consist of delivering the entire nuclear arsenal in a single overwhelming blow, going as far as "killing a nation".BOOK, DeGroot, Gerard J., The bomb: a life, 2004, Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., 0-674-01724-2,weblink 1st Harvard University Press pbk., 153,

Early history

During the Middle Ages, destruction under the Mongol Empire in the 13th century effectively exemplified total war. The military forces of Genghis Khan slaughtered whole populations and destroyed any city that resisted:}}

18th and 19th centuries

Intertribal warfare

Author and historian Mark van de Logt wrote: "Although military historians tend to reserve the concept of 'total war' for conflicts between modern industrial nations, the term nevertheless most closely approaches the state of affairs between the Pawnees and the Sioux and Cheyennes. Both sides directed their actions not solely against warrior-combatants but against the people as a whole. Noncombatants were legitimate targets. Indeed, the taking of a scalp of a woman or child was considered honorable because it signified that the scalp taker had dared to enter the very heart of the enemy's territory."Mark van de Logt (2012). War Party in Blue: Pawnee Scouts in the U.S. Army. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 35–36. {{ISBN|0806184396}}

French and American Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

During the American Revolutionary War, many basic tactics of total war, such as the scorched earth policy, were created in a modern form. In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition began, marching through Western Pennsylvania and up through New York, burning Iroquois villages to the ground, leaving nothing behind but smoldering ruin and dead animals. The goal was to force the Indians to go to Canada for food and thus be out of range of attacking American settlements.Fischer, Joseph R. (1997) A Well-Executed Failure: The Sullivan Campaign against the Iroquois, July-September 1779 Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press {{isbn|9781570031373}}File:SavenayDrownings.jpg|thumb|The drownings at Savenay during the War in the VendéeWar in the VendéeFile:National Museum in Poznan - Przejście przez Berezynę.JPG|thumb|Napoleon's retreat from Russia in 1812. Napoleon's Grande ArméeGrande ArméeThe French Revolutionary Wars introduced to mainland Europe some of the first concepts of total war, such as mass conscription.BOOK, Bell, David A, The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It, 12 January 2007, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 0618349650, First,weblink 19 January 2017, The fledgling republic found itself threatened by a powerful coalition of European nations. The only solution, in the eyes of the Jacobin government, was to pour the entire nation's resources into an unprecedented war effort—this was the advent of the levée en masse. The following decree of the National Convention on August 23, 1793 demonstrates the immensity of the French war effort, when the French front line forces grew to some 800,000 with a total of 1.5 million in all services—the first time an army in excess of a million had been mobilized in Western history:In the Russian campaign of 1812 the Russians resorted to destroying infrastructure and agriculture in their retreat in order to hamper the French and strip them of adequate supplies. In the campaign of 1813, Allied forces in the German theater alone amounted to nearly one million whilst two years later in the Hundred Days a French decree called for the total mobilization of some 2.5 million men (though at most a fifth of this was managed by the time of the French defeat at Waterloo). During the prolonged Peninsular War from 1808–1814 some 300,000 French troops were kept permanently occupied by, in addition to several hundred thousand Spanish, Portuguese and British regulars, an enormous and sustained guerrilla insurgency—ultimately French deaths would amount to 300,000 in the Peninsular War alone.Broers, Michael (2008) "The Concept of 'Total War' in the Revolutionary—Napoleonic Period" War in History v.15 n.3 pp.247-268

Taiping Rebellion

(File:Qing ambush Taiping Army at Wangjiakou 1854.jpg|thumb|A scene of the Taiping Rebellion)The Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864) was one of the deadliest wars in history.WEB,weblink China: The Battle of Tongcheng (Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864) – Pictures From History,, 2018-01-03, About 20 million people died, many due to disease and famine.Statistics of Wars, Oppressions and Atrocities of the Nineteenth Century. Retrieved on 2010-05-23. It followed the secession of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom from the Qing Empire.BOOK,weblink The Cambridge history of China, Kuhn, Philip A., Cambridge University Press, Twitchett, Denis Crispin, 1925-2006., Fairbank, John King, 1907-1991., 1978, 0521214475, Cambridge [England], 276–7, The Taiping Rebellion, 2424772, Almost every citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom was given military training and conscripted into the army to fight against the Imperial forces.

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, Union Army General Philip Sheridan's stripping of the Shenandoah Valley, beginning on September 21, 1864 and continuing for two weeks, was considered "total war". Its purpose was to eliminate food and supplies vital to the South's military operations, as well as to strike a blow at Southern civilian morale. Sheridan took the opportunity when he realized opposing forces had become too weak to resist his army.Lance Janda, "Shutting the gates of mercy: The American origins of total war, 1860–1880." Journal of Military History 59#1 (1995): 7–26. onlineUnion Army General William Tecumseh Sherman]'s 'March to the Sea' in November and December 1864 destroyed the resources required for the South to make war. General Ulysses S. Grant and President Abraham Lincoln initially opposed the plan until Sherman convinced them of its necessity.WEB,weblink Sherman's March to the Sea – Ohio History Central, 5 August 2015, Scholars taking issue with the notion that Sherman was employing "total war" include Noah Andre Trudeau. Trudeau believes that Sherman's goals and methods do not meet the definition of total war and to suggest as much is to "misread Sherman's intentions and to misunderstand the results of what happened".Trudeau, Noah Andre. "Southern Storm." Harper, 2008. p. 534

20th century

World War I

(File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2008-0084, Belgien, Flandern, Ruinen.jpg|thumb|Damage and destruction of civilian buildings in Belgium, 1914)Almost the whole of Europe and the European colonial empires mobilized to wage World War I. Rationing occurred on the home fronts. Bulgaria went so far as to mobilize a quarter of its population or 800,000 people, a greater share of its population than any other country during the war.One of the features of total war in Britain was the use of government propaganda posters to divert all attention to the war on the home front. Posters were used to influence public opinion about what to eat and what occupations to take, and to change the attitude of support towards the war effort. Even the Music Hall was used as propaganda, with propaganda songs aimed at recruitment.After the failure of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the large British offensive in March 1915, the British Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal John French blamed the lack of progress on insufficient and poor-quality artillery shells. This led to the Shell Crisis of 1915 which brought down both the Liberal government and Premiership of H. H. Asquith. He formed a new coalition government dominated by Liberals and appointed David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions. It was a recognition that the whole economy would have to be geared for war if the Allies were to prevail on the Western Front.As young men left the farms for the front, domestic food production in Britain and Germany fell. In Britain the response was to import more food, which was done despite the German introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare, and to introduce rationing. The Royal Navy's blockade of German ports prevented Germany from importing food and hastened German capitulation by creating a food crisis in Germany.File:Founding Ceremony of the Hakko-Ichiu Monument.JPG|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Founding ceremony of the Hakkō ichiuHakkō ichiu

World War II

The Second World War was the quintessential total war of modernity. The level of national mobilization of resources on all sides of the conflict, the battlespace being contested, the scale of the armies, navies, and air forces raised through conscription, the active targeting of non-combatants (and non-combatant property), the general disregard for collateral damage, and the unrestricted aims of the belligerents marked total war on an unprecedented and unsurpassed, multicontinental scale.

Shōwa Japan

During the first part of the Shōwa era, the government of Imperial Japan launched a string of policies to promote a total war effort against China and occidental powers and increase industrial production. Among these were the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association.The National Mobilization Law had fifty clauses, which provided for government controls over civilian organizations (including labor unions), nationalization of strategic industries, price controls and rationing, and nationalized the news media.Pauer, Japan's War Economy, 1999 pp. 13 The laws gave the government the authority to use unlimited budgets to subsidize war production, and to compensate manufacturers for losses caused by war-time mobilization. Eighteen of the fifty articles outlined penalties for violators.To improve its production, Shōwa Japan used millions of slave labourersUnidas, Naciones. World Economic And Social Survey 2004: International Migration, p. 23 and pressed more than 18 million people in East Asia into forced labor.Zhifen Ju, "Japan's atrocities of conscripting and abusing north China draftees after the outbreak of the Pacific war", 2002, Library of Congress, 1992, "Indonesia: World War II and the Struggle For Independence, 1942–50; The Japanese Occupation, 1942–45" Access date: February 9, 2007.

United Kingdom

Before the onset of the Second World War, the United Kingdom drew on its First World War experience to prepare legislation that would allow immediate mobilization of the economy for war, should future hostilities break out.Rationing of most goods and services was introduced, not only for consumers but also for manufacturers. This meant that factories manufacturing products that were irrelevant to the war effort had more appropriate tasks imposed. All artificial light was subject to legal blackouts.In contrast, Germany started the war under the concept of Blitzkrieg. Officially, it did not accept that it was in a total war until Joseph Goebbels' Sportpalast speech of 18 February 1943.
The Axis lost over 5 million soldiers in the east as well as many thousands of civilians.German losses according to: Rüdiger Overmans, Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Oldenbourg 2000. {{ISBN|3-486-56531-1}}, p. 265, 272
During the Battle of Stalingrad, newly built T-34 tanks were driven—unpainted because of a paint shortage—from the factory floor straight to the front. This came to symbolise the USSR's commitment to the World War II and demonstrated the government's total war policy.

United States

The United States underwent an unprecedented mobilization of national resources for the Second World War. Conditions in the United States were not as strained as they were in the United Kingdom or as desperate as they were in the Soviet Union, but the United States greatly curtailed nearly all non-essential activities in its prosecution of the Second World War and redirected nearly all available national resources to the conflict, including reaching the point of diminishing returns by late 1944, where the U.S. military was unable to find any more males of the correct military age to draft into service.The strategists of the U.S. military looked abroad at the storms brewing on the horizon in Europe and Asia, and began quietly making contingency plans as early as the mid-1930s; new weapons and weapons platforms were designed, and made ready. Following the outbreak of war in Europe and the ongoing aggression in Asia, efforts were stepped up significantly. The collapse of France and the airborne aggression directed at Great Britain unsettled the Americans, who had close relations with both nations, and a peacetime draft was instituted, along with Lend-Lease programs to aid the British, and covert aid was passed to the Chinese as well.American public opinion was still opposed to involvement in the problems of Europe and Asia, however. In 1941, the Soviet Union became the latest nation to be invaded, and the U.S. gave her aid as well. American ships began defending aid convoys to the Allied nations against submarine attacks, and a total trade embargo against the Empire of Japan was instituted to deny its military the raw materials its factories and military forces required to continue its offensive actions in China.In late 1941, Japan's Army-dominated government decided to seize by military force the strategic resources of South-East Asia and Indonesia since the Western powers would not give Japan these goods by trade. Planning for this action included surprise attacks on American and British forces in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya, and the U.S. naval base and warships at Pearl Harbor. In response to these attacks, the U.K. and U.S. declared war on the Empire of Japan the next day. Nazi Germany declared war on the U.S. a few days later, along with Fascist Italy; the U.S. found itself fully involved in a second world war., {{ISBN|978-1-58465-443-8}} p. 196}As the United States began to gear up for a major war, information and propaganda efforts were set in motion. Civilians (including children) were encouraged to take part in fat, grease, and scrap metal collection drives. Many factories making non-essential goods retooled for war production. Levels of industrial productivity previously unheard of were attained during the war; multi-thousand-ton convoy ships were routinely built in a month-and-a-half, and tanks poured out of the former automobile factories. Within a few years of the U.S. entry into the Second World War, nearly every man fit for service, between 18 and 30, had been conscripted into the military "for the duration" of the conflict, and unprecedented numbers of women took up jobs previously held by them. Strict systems of rationing of consumer staples were introduced to redirect productive capacity to war needs.Previously untouched sections of the nation mobilized for the war effort. Academics became technocrats; home-makers became bomb-makers (massive numbers of women worked in heavy industry during the war); union leaders and businessmen became commanders in the massive armies of production. The great scientific communities of the United States were mobilized as never before, and mathematicians, doctors, engineers, and chemists turned their minds to the problems ahead of them.By the war's end a multitude of advances had been made in medicine, physics, engineering, and the other sciences. Even the theoretical physicists, whose theories were not believed to have military applications (at the time), were sent far into the Western deserts to work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory on the Manhattan Project that culminated in the Trinity nuclear test and changed the course of history.In the war, the United States lost 407,316 military personnel, but had managed to avoid the extensive level of damage to civilian and industrial infrastructure that other participants suffered. The U.S. emerged as one of the two superpowers after the war.BOOK, The world since 1945: a history of international relations, McWilliams, Wayne, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1990,

Unconditional surrender

p. 346
}After the United States entered World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared at Casablanca conference to the other Allies and the press that unconditional surrender was the objective of the war against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan.WEB, The Casablanca Conference, 1943,weblink Office of the Historian, United States Department of State, 19 January 2017, Prior to this declaration, the individual regimes of the Axis Powers could have negotiated an armistice similar to that at the end of World War I and then a conditional surrender when they perceived that the war was lost.The unconditional surrender of the major Axis powers caused a legal problem at the post-war Nuremberg Trials, because the trials appeared to be in conflict with Articles 63 and 64 of the Geneva Convention of 1929. Usually if such trials are held, they would be held under the auspices of the defeated power's own legal system as happened with some of the minor Axis powers, for example in the post World War II Romanian People's Tribunals. To circumvent this, the Allies argued that the major war criminals were captured after the end of the war, so they were not prisoners of war and the Geneva Conventions did not cover them. Further, the collapse of the Axis regimes created a legal condition of total defeat (debellatio) so the provisions of the 1907 Hague Convention over military occupation were not applicable.Ruth Wedgwood WEB,weblink Judicial Overreach, 2008-05-29, yes,weblink" title="">weblink March 8, 2008, Wall Street Journal November 16, 2004

Postwar era

{{See also|War by proxy|Coercive diplomacy|Deterrence theory}}Since the end of World War II, no industrial nation has fought such a large, decisive war.WEB, World War II (1939-1945),weblink The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, George Washington University, 19 January 2017, This is likely due to the availability of nuclear weapons, whose destructive power and quick deployment render a full mobilization of a country's resources such as in World War II logistically impractical and strategically irrelevant.{{sfn|Baylis|Wirtz|Gray|2012|p=55}} Such weapons are developed and maintained with relatively modest peacetime defense budgets.By the end of the 1950s, the ideological stand-off of the Cold War between the Western World and the Soviet Union had resulted in thousands of nuclear weapons being aimed by each side at the other. Strategically, the equal balance of destructive power possessed by each side situation came to be known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), considering that a nuclear attack by one superpower would result in nuclear counter-strike by the other.NEWS, Castella, Tom de, How did we forget about mutually assured destruction?,weblink 19 January 2017, BBC News, 15 February 2012, English, This would result in hundreds of millions of deaths in a world where, in words widely attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, "The living will envy the dead".WEB,weblink 1257. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971). Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989, 5 August 2015, During the Cold War, the two superpowers sought to avoid open conflict between their respective forces, as both sides recognized that such a clash could very easily escalate, and quickly involve nuclear weapons. Instead, the superpowers fought each other through their involvement in proxy wars, military buildups, and diplomatic standoffs.In the case of proxy wars, each superpower supported its respective allies in conflicts with forces aligned with the other superpower, such as in the Vietnam War and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.During the Yugoslav Wars, NATO conducted strikes against the electrical grid in enemy territory using graphite bombs. Some observers{{who|date=July 2018}} considered this to be an act of total war, owing to the fact that powerplants supported by the electrical grid were essential to water purification and thus the strike represented a direct attack on civilian resources. NATO claimed that the objective of their strikes was to disrupt military infrastructure and communications.WEB, Gordon, Michael, CRISIS IN THE BALKANS: THE OVERVIEW; NATO AIR ATTACKS ON POWER PLANTS PASS A THRESHOLD,weblink, New York Times, 6 December 2017,

See also

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Notes{{Reflist}}{{More citations needed|date=November 2008}}Bibliography
  • {{Citation |editor-last=Baylis |editor-first=John |editor2-last=Wirtz |editor2-first=James J. |editor3-last=Gray |editor3-first=Colin S. |year=2012 |title=Strategy in the Contemporary World |edition=4, illustrated |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=9780199694785 |page=55}}
Further reading
  • {{Citation |first=David A. |last=Bell |title=The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It |year=2007}}
  • Broers, Michael. "The Concept of Total War in the Revolutionary – Napoleonic Period." War in History 15.3 (2008): 247–68.
  • Craig, Campbell. Glimmer of a new Leviathan: Total war in the realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz (Columbia University Press, 2004), Intellectual history.
  • Förster, Stig, and Jorg Nagler. On the Road to Total War: The American Civil War and the German Wars of Unification, 1861–1871 (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
  • Hewitson, Mark. "Princes’ Wars, Wars of the People, or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792–1815." War in History 20.4 (2013): 452–90.
  • {{Citation |first=Eric |last=Markusen |first2=David |last2=Kopf |title=The Holocaust and Strategic Bombing: Genocide and Total War in the Twentieth Century |year=1995}}
  • {{Citation |first=Mark E. |last=Neely Jr. |title=Was the Civil War a Total War? |journal=Civil War History |volume=50 |page=2004}}
  • {{Citation |first=Daniel E. |last=Sutherland |first2=Grady |last2=McWhiney |title=The Emergence of Total War |year=1998 |series=US Civil War Campaigns and Commanders Series}}
  • Walters, John Bennett. Merchant of terror: General Sherman and total war (1973).

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