War in European History by Michael Howard

By Michael Howard

This reissue of Howard's vintage textual content features a brief new afterword via the writer. "Wars have usually made up our minds the nature of society. Society in alternate has decided the nature of wars. this is often the topic of Michael Howard's stimulating publication. it truly is written with all his traditional ability and in its small compass might be the main unique booklet he has written. although he surveys 1000 years of heritage, he does so with out sinking in a slough of evidence and attracts a large define of advancements so that it will pride the overall reader."--A.J.P. Taylor, Observer

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War in European History

This reissue of Howard's vintage textual content contains a brief new afterword by way of the writer. "Wars have frequently decided the nature of society. Society in alternate has made up our minds the nature of wars. this can be the subject of Michael Howard's stimulating booklet. it's written with all his ordinary ability and in its small compass may be the main unique booklet he has written.

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Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Howard, Michael War in European History. ] -viii- Foreword Until comparatively recently the study of war has been didactic and normative: that is, the wars of the past were studied in order to deduce either immutable principles or lines of devel- opment as guides to the efficient conduct of war in the future.

It was another profes- sional group who enjoyed no social status whatever and were barely accorded even the humble status of soldiers: the gunners. The use of some form of combustible material—'Greek fire' as it was loosely called—had long been used in warfare both by the Byzantine armies and the Moslems, normally in the form of fireballs propelled by catapult in siege or naval warfare. To reverse the process and use combustion itself as a propellant of missiles was a more difficult and dangerous affair, demanding among other things an expertise in metal casting which was developed in the West, ironically enough, to serve that most peaceful of purposes, bell founding.

That Christians should fight one another was deplorable and the Church deplored it as regularly and as ineffectively then as it has done ever since. But Christian theologians agreed that certain wars were 'just'; broadly speaking, those waged on the authority of a lawful superior in a righteous cause. And it was not surprising that a class of men -5- brought up for generations for fighting, when an external adversary was lacking (and even when he was not) should fight one another. In the absence of any commonly accepted authority with the power to enforce its judgements, armed conflict would have been probable in a far less bellicose community.

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