The Term ' Total War '

1838 Words8 Pages
The comprehension of the term ‘total war’ has had great significance towards the understanding as to how wars are fought, affect society and differ from other conflicts. The main issue that arises is conclusively defining total war and is continually differing between both historians and military combatants alike. Roger Chickering defines states “total war is distinguished by its intensity and extent. Theatres of operation span the globe; the scale of the battle is practically limitless” all the while adding “total war requires the mobilisation not only of armed forced but also of whole populations” This definition, while not quintessential is a good starting point for a definition due to its broadness and acceptance of the idea of the incapability to fully mobilise a society’s entire resource. David A. Bell states that it is often defined as ‘a war involving the complete mobilization of a society’s resources to achieve the absolute destruction of an enemy, with all distinction erased between combatants and non-combatants’ . However, he notes the limitations of such an idea including the inability for societies to meet such criterion, in particular, the ability for a society to completely utilise its resources towards the war effort. Ultimately, Jeremey black, while not giving a conclusive definition for the term, total war, does acknowledge different definitions by various individuals distilling many of their arguments and consequently outlining main characteristics of
Get Access