Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, Kindle Edition, by Victor Davis Hanson (Editor)
In this prequel to the now-classic Makers of Modern Strategy, Victor Davis Hanson, a leading scholar of ancient military history, gathers prominent thinkers to explore key facets of warfare, strategy, and foreign policy in the Greco-Roman world. From the Persian Wars to the final defense of the Roman Empire, Makers of Ancient Strategy demonstrates that the military thinking and policies of the ancient Greeks and Romans remain surprisingly relevant for understanding conflict in the modern world.
The book reveals that much of the organized violence witnessed today--such as counterterrorism, urban fighting, insurgencies, preemptive war, and ethnic cleansing--has ample precedent in the classical era. The book examines the preemption and unilateralism used to instill democracy during Epaminondas's great invasion of the Peloponnesus in 369 BC, as well as the counterinsurgency and terrorism that characterized Rome's battles with insurgents such as Spartacus, Mithridates, and the Cilician pirates. The collection looks at the urban warfare that became increasingly common as more battles were fought within city walls, and follows the careful tactical strategies of statesmen as diverse as Pericles, Demosthenes, Alexander, Pyrrhus, Caesar, and Augustus. Makers of Ancient Strategy shows how Greco-Roman history sheds light on wars of every age. In addition to the editor, the contributors are David L. Berkey, Adrian Goldsworthy, Peter J. Heather, Tom Holland, Donald Kagan, John W. I. Lee, Susan Mattern, Barry Strauss, and Ian Worthington.
In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy's classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes.
From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including
• Marathon, where Greece’s “greatest generation” repelled Persian forces three times their numbers—and saved Western civilization in its infancy
• Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire
• Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe
• Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution
• Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy
• Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare
• Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad
From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including Marathon, where Greece's "greatest generation" repelled Persian forces three times their numbers-and saved Western civilization in its infancy.
Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire Trafalgar; the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe; Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution; Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy; Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare; Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad, and many more.
Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context-complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations.
With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended. Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today's news, a magisterial tour d'horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided.
Photo: Frank Jack Fletcher, commander of U.S. Task Force 17
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph - http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-f/fj-fltr.htm
Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher in September 1942
Photo: Shigeyoshi Inoue, commander of the Fourth Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Unknown - Scanned from: Dull, Paul S. (1978) A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945, Naval Institute Press, pp. p. 119 ISBN 0-87021-097-1
Photo: Japanese advances in the Southwest Pacific from December 1941 to April 1942
MacArthur's General Staff - United States Army Center of Military History. The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume I. Reports of General MacArthur. Retrieved on 2006-12-08., p. 24 ()
Map of Imperial Japanese advances in the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia areas during the first five months of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.
Photo: A mushroom cloud rises after a heavy explosion on board the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), 8 May 1942. This is probably the great explosion from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar, aft, that followed an explosion amidships at 1727 hrs. Note USS Yorktown (CV-5) on the horizon in the left center, and destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412) at the extreme left.
Unknown - U.S. Navy photo 80-G-16651
Photo: Midway Atoll, several months before the battle. Eastern Island (with the airfield) is in the foreground, and the larger Sand Island is in the background to the west.
Unknown - U.S. Navy photo 80-G-451086
Aerial photograph of Midway Atoll, looking just south of west across the southern side of the atoll, 24 November 1941. Eastern Island, then the site of Midway's airfield, is in the foreground. Sand Island, location of most other base facilities, is across the entrance channel.
Photo: More details
USS Yorktown at Pearl Harbor days before the battle
Unknown - U.S. Navy photo 80-G-13065
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) in Dry Dock No. 1 at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, 29 May 1942, receiving urgent repairs for damage received in the Battle of Coral Sea. She left Pearl Harbor the next day to participate in the Battle of Midway. USS West Virginia (BB-48), sunk in the 7 December 1941 Japanese air attack, is being salvaged in the left distance.
A B-17 attack misses Hiryū; this was taken between 08:00–08:30. A Shotai of three Zeros is lined up near the bridge. This was one of several combat air patrols launched during the day.
Unknown - U.S. Navy photo USAF-3725
The Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu maneuvers to avoid bombs dropped by USAAF Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress bombers during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942.
Photo: More details
Yorktown at the moment of impact of a torpedo from a Nakajima B5N of Lieutenant Hashimoto's 2nd chūtai
USN, photographed from USS Pensacola (CA-24) - Official U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-414423, U.S. National Archives.
USS Yorktown (CV-5) is hit on the port side, amidships, by a Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedo during the mid-afternoon attack by planes from the carrier Hiryu, in the Battle of Midway, on 4 June, 1942. Yorktown is heeling to port and is seen at a different aspect than in other views taken by USS Pensacola (CA-24), indicating that this is the second of the two torpedo hits she received. Note very heavy anti-aircraft fire.
The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases.
In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese and attempt to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 421 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Nicias.
That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse, Sicily; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War.
In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from the Achaemenid Empire, supported rebellions in Athens's subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens's empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens's fleet in the Battle of Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved, but Sparta refused.
The term "Peloponnesian War " was never used by Thucydides, by far its major historian: that the term is all but universally used today is a reflection of the Athens-centric sympathies of modern historians. As prominent historian J. B. Bury remarks, the Peloponnesians would have considered it the "Attic War".
The Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. On the level of international relations, Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection, while Sparta became established as the leading power of Greece.
The economic costs of the war were felt all across Greece; poverty became widespread in the Peloponnese, while Athens found itself completely devastated, and never regained its pre-war prosperity. The war also wrought subtler changes to Greek society; the conflict between democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta, each of which supported friendly political factions within other states, made civil war a common occurrence in the Greek world.
Ancient Greek warfare, meanwhile, originally a limited and formalized form of conflict, was transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, and destroying whole cities, the Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth century BC and the golden age of Greece.