Cult Of The Offensive Essay

925 Words4 Pages
The final phase of industrialization at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, saw the creation of railroads that allowed for rapid mobilization, and increasingly lethal military technology, such as machine guns. While these new technologies gave an inherent advantage to the defender, a “Cult of the Offensive” had enveloped pre-World War One Europe. In his essay, Civil-Military Relations and the Cult of the Offensive, 1914 and 1984, Jack Snyder argues that the offensive doctrines of the militaries of the major powers created an instable system that was a contributing cause to World War One (108). The offensive bias exhibited by each of the major powers was due to skewed civil-military relations attributed due to a lack of civilian control over the military, and the bureaucratic…show more content…
His case studies of Germany, France, and Russia, allows for one to clearly see the trend of the continental powers of Europe adopting offensive doctrines. Most importantly, his explanation of the social and bureaucratic roots of the “Cult of the Offensive” clearly demonstrates the drift of the case studies coming to believe that preemptive war was the only option left. Finally, Snyder’s correlation of the “Cult of the Offensive” that enveloped pre-WW1 Europe with Soviet military policy in 1984, shows the practical applications of his theory to be used as a tool in identifying worrying trends in international relations. In a modern context, one could take North Korea as a case study, and see if the roots of the “Cult of the Offensive” that Snyder identified as evidence for his thesis have taken hold of the state. Therefore, his explanation of the root causes of the “Cult of Offensive” and the unstable system it created, shows how it was a contributing cause to World War
Open Document