To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Traditional principles studied in this chapter – mission command (decentralisation) and partnership between a commander and his chief of staff – are seen as a special characteristic of German command. Part of the mechanism for handling the first command task, co-ordinating a mass army. Why mission command’s implementation was limited in Western Front conditions, and how granting autonomy of action could go badly wrong. Lack of trust in subordinates, risk aversion, the growing complexity of battle, shortages of manpower and matériel and good communications led to increased micro-management.
Mission command linked to the partnership between a commander and his chief staff officer, the command team. Composition, strengths and weaknesses of the commander and general staff officer cadres. Great efforts to create effective command teams: reasonably successful in terms of their duration, less so in the vital combined arms balance required by modern battle. General staff officers increasingly influential, but commanders remained important.
Explanations for the successes or failures of militaries in both war and peace have traditionally focused on key factors such as technology, leadership, personnel, training, or a combination of all of these. A more recent addition to the list of possible variables contributing to military effectiveness is the concept of organizational culture – the pattern of shared assumptions that an organization learns as it solves problems, that has worked well enough to be considered valid, and that is therefore taught to new members as the correct way to approach those problems. This chapter combines the organizational culture concepts of Edgar Schein with the nine cultural dimensions of the GLOBE research program. The resulting model provides a useful framework to analyze a military’s organizational culture. Perhaps more importantly, the model also provides prescriptive actions leaders can take to align a military’s organizational culture with its mission and environment.
Strategic culture drives patterns of national statecraft, which in turn drive military strategy. Grand strategy also derives from strategic culture, which emerges from geographical, economic, and historical circumstances. A nation’s circumstances give rise to a distinctive manner of perceiving national power – including the use of military force. Strategic culture is ethnically and nationally driven, derived from a combination of factors. It may be national or subnational, and it may be based on real or imagined traits. It tends to be both enduring and unexamined. It involves intersectionality between national, subnational, and organizational cultures, and it may invoke fictive and contingent identities. It manifests in how individuals and organizations make sense of reality. Individuals and subgroups are presumed to self-ascribe to a certain identity, to absorb distinctive attitudes about force, and thus to adopt a “way of war.” Organizational and ethnic cultures coexist, and any military unit may have multiple subcultures. But strategic culture, since it derives from ethnic and national characteristics, precedes and supersedes organizational culture. Strategic culture influences the organizational culture of a national military, with ethnic and historical factors setting the parameters within which organizational culture and individual initiative operate. Ethnic culture frames strategic culture, which in turn interacts with organizational structure, institutional form, and individual incentives to create military organizational culture.
The American Civil War presented an exceptional state of affairs in modern warfare, because strong personalities could embed their own command philosophies into field armies, due to the miniscule size of the prior US military establishment. The effectiveness of the Union Army of the Tennessee stemmed in large part from the strong influence of Ulysses S. Grant, who as early as the fall of 1861 imbued in the organization an aggressive mind-set. However, Grant’s command culture went beyond simple aggressiveness – it included an emphasis on suppressing internal rivalries among sometimes prideful officers for the sake of winning victories. In the winter of 1861 and the spring of 1862, the Army of the Tennessee was organized and consolidated into a single force, and, despite deficits in trained personnel as compared to other Union field armies, Grant established important precedents for both his soldiers and officers that would resonate even after his departure to the east. The capture of Vicksburg the following summer represented the culminating triumph of that army, cementing the self-confident force that would later capture Atlanta and win the war in the western theater.
German military history of 1871 to 1945 is often seen as a direct continuation of Prussian military history. Taking a closer look at the organizational and cultural background of German military forces produces a slightly more nuanced picture and makes it possible to divide the history of the German Army into five phases. Initially, the German Empire effectively had four different forces – the Prussian, Bavarian, Saxon, and Württemberg armies – united only in times of war. During the First World War, these German "armies" increasingly lost their prewar independence, while the war itself had a unifying effect on German society and on its armed forces. Following the defeat of 1918, the army of the newly founded Weimar Republic was developed as a small, elite force exclusively based on Prussian traditions. The 1936 rearmament then turned this force into a mass army, the Wehrmacht, which, while still sticking to Prussian traditions, struggled with various issues caused by rapid expansion. Finally, during the Second World War, the Wehrmacht evolved from a purely German force into one in which significant numbers of foreigners from all over Europe served as volunteers, resulting in an army transcending the boundaries of the nation-state.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.