Strategy History

Fundamentals, Principles and Development

No Website about strategy can be complete without few pages on military strategy history.

While other parts of this Website deals specifically with the 2500 years old strategy history of Sun Tzu, this section will mainly deal with modern strategy history starting in the late 18th Century.

Strategy in essence is a "style" of thinking, we like to call "conscious" thinking; therefore you may find the following section that is mainly on military strategy history, equally applicable to business today.

The Chinese like to say, "The market place is a battlefield".

They see the same wisdom that guides the general in the battlefield as the same wisdom that guides the businessman in the market place.

So, let's get on with some strategy history...

"Strategy History - Fundamentals, Principles and Development"

On Strategy Definition

Strategy, narrowly defined, means “the art of the general” (from the Greek stratçgos). In a strictly military sense, the term first gained currency at the end of the 18th century, when warfare was still relatively simple and limited.

In Search of Strategy Principles

The starting point of all strategic planning and action is national policy (Company Policy). Once the national aims are set forth by the leaders of the state, the commander sets about drawing up his plans. He must take many matters into account; for example, factors of space and time, the state of his own forces, the enemy's capabilities and intentions, and reactions at home and abroad to his projected moves.

On Strategy and Tactics

In the theory of warfare, strategy and tactics have generally been put into separate categories. The two fields have traditionally been defined in terms of different dimensions: strategy dealing with wide spaces, long periods of time, and large movements of forces, tactics dealing with the opposite.

Strategy Development up to the second world war

Though the serious and systematic study of modern strategy development may be dated from the 18th century, various authorities have identified strategic precedents going back to earliest times. Students of warfare of primitive ages have associated with primitive tribes and clans a stratagem of surprise from darkness or by ambush, and they have identified a strategy of hunt and pounce, like that of a lion or tiger.

Strategic Leadership

Count Alfred von Schlieffen, the famous German military leader of the period just before World War I, once said:

“A man is born, and not made, a strategist.”

But it is obvious that even a born strategist if there be such a natural genius has much to learn.

18th Century's Frederick The Great Warfare Strategy

In Prussia of the mid-18th century, however, circumstances compelled Frederick the Great to try a new and aggressive approach and to break through the accepted military pattern of the day. Frederick the Great Confronted at the outset of the Seven Years' War (1756–63) by a coalition of Austria, France, Russia, Sweden, and Saxony, found himself virtually surrounded.

Napoleon Warfare Strategy

The French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic periods (1789–1815) witnessed great changes in the methods of war, the revolution in society accompanying and reinforcing the one in warfare. When Napoleon, the first great military strategist of the modern Western world, burst upon the European scene, the groundwork for a new age in warfare had already been laid.

You may also be interested in...

From Strategy History, Return Home