The Principles Of War And Operations

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Originally influenced by the strategic events seen throughout the Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the nine principles of war derived from the United States’ Army’s “Principles of War and Operations” outline a basic strategic guide on waging war. Shortly before the military adopted these guidelines, however, the United States of America saw civil unrest as the Southern states seceded to form the Confederate States of America. As the Union Army of the North battled the Confederate Army of the South, strategic principles similar to those outlined in the U.S. Army’s doctrine began to appear on the battlefield. Although the armies of the Union and the Confederacy both utilized strategic elements outlined in the United States’ Army’s “Principles of War and Operations”, the Union army’s stricter adherence to certain strategic principles resulted in their ultimate success. The “Principles of War and Operations” states that a successful army must “direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective… [and that this principle] drives all military activity”1. The average American history course portrays the objectives of the Union as noble and just; the North fought to end slavery and liberate the oppressed. The Union’s original objective, however, was to simply “reconcile the Union”2. The reason for this being that secession is a treasonous act of war3. To that effect, the Union’s first objective is strictly
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