Discussion Question
Discuss the western technological superiority such as soldiers and weaponry, their military theory and tradition such as populations, decisive victory and civic militarism, and the innovations regarding expanding navies and armies, new technology, and western power.
From the seventeenth to nineteenth century western military supremacy can be ascribed to five foundations; discipline and training, technological superiority, competition, western military tradition, and innovation.
Western military tradition, new technological superiority, innovation, military theory and competition prove the military dominance in the west. The factors are critical for any military force in the world. The west, between seventeenth through nineteenth centuries committed their force in the above enhancements. This paper discusses how the each of the stated elements assists the west in their martial power.
The reliance in superior and advanced technologies in the west compensated for their inferior numbers in the military forces. The west did not enjoy the worldwide superiority in the military technologies until the advent of the field and musketry volleys artillery in the early seventeenth century. The innovations of the gunpowder and stirrup originated from the east and were later adopted by the west. Regardless of the innovations not emerging from the west, it was receptive to the inventions, made advancements and later became an establishment of the western technological warfare.
The foundation of supremacy in the west could be attributed to their discipline and the superior technology which either came from their own innovation or borrowed from other adversaries. The armament superiority alone did not win the battles in the west but increased their chances of victory in the wars between seventeenth through the nineteenth century. In these eras, the war success was much attributed to smart war plans rather than the weapons advancements.
Military success in the west is based on wise war plans, better economic power and, above all, the presence of superior discipline. Rather than exaltation of religion, patriotism or kinship, the western military practices had and have exalted discipline as the basic instrument that converts teams as individuals fighting as an organized unit of soldiers. Other elements of western military supremacy in the 18th and 19th century include many military army formations, local organizations into almost extended family troop in an area under the local leadership, and inclusive slogans such as your country requires you, which enhanced recruitments. However, these elements are entirely under the umbrella of military discipline.
Discipline entailed the formation of a steadfast fight of remaining at war whether attacking the enemy or being attacked. It entailed standing firm without the sways of panic or fear. The western soldiers adopted repeated team activities, either directly related to drills or firing practices. These practices created the artificial groups of kinship, platoons, small fellowships and companies which ultimately enhance cohesion and efficiency during combat and other activities.
The team combat, steadfastness and the progressive armaments were critical for the western military because their inferior numbers compared to other world forces proved overwhelming. Without the advanced technologies and the superb discipline, Alexandria the Great and his Macedonia and Greek troops could hardly win the Persian forces. The inventions of missiles and firearms in the 19th century enhanced the trend. Western military involved the arduous training, superb self-control, and strong team cohesion. In the land, sea and air fighting, discipline and training were essential.
The war traditions in the west can be traced from the practices of the militia during the Roman Empire. The traditions of the war since its composition in AD 390 by Flavius Renatus Vegetius have been the same. Roman Empire introduced drills, sieges, encirclement tactic, military education, war laws, attrition and many other tactics have been used for centuries including the 17th through the 19th centuries. The traditions are still passed on from military generations in the west. The western war supremacy remained with the inclusion of these strategies as they assured the defeat and destructions of their enemies. The bellum romanum brought the logic of war without mercy which is still the measure of military techniques.
Ideological and religion constraints less interfered with the discussions and the conduct of the western war systems. However, until the 19th century, laws concerning wars have been embedded generally though lacked effective enforcement machinery. However, there had been a continuous emphasis on the need of superior technologies, discipline and the war vision based on achieving a decisive victory that led to the unconditional surrender of the enemy. According to the view of Carl von Clausewitz of the treaties of war of the early 19th century, what must be a dominant consideration during fighting is the direct eradication of the forces of the enemy. This is because the destruction of these forces is the overruling war principle. Other theorists such as Fabian Cunctator of Rome stressed on other methods of achieving the victory and attrition in the western military history. Fabian emphasized that the war defeat can be achieved by time reliance to perform campaigning frictions and the superior resources marshaling.
The tactics of war in the west spread to other countries such as China and Japan among other nations who began to utilize the instrument of discipline, aggressive traditions of the militia and technological advancements. Therefore, in the 19th century, what enabled the west to remain superior in their warfare was, first, the special abilities to change while at the same time conserve their military practices depending on the need, and, secondly, the western power to finance the changes. In the areas of less threatening issues, the traditions of war changed slowly, for example in the war against the Mughal India. However, when the war zone was challenged by multiple military forces, the need of new innovation, advanced technologies, became tremendously strong.
The absence of competitors and related powers in terms of artillery and economy gave the West the power of becoming supreme in military affairs. They had greater means of achieving higher coordination between civilian and military instruments. As already mentioned, higher economic power compared to that of the adversary gave the western soldiers ability to replenish their fighting armament and maintain the fight. The introduction of the missiles and gunpowder defense weapons lead to the significant increase in the cost of war. Only centralized states afforded to acquire them. These expenses served to enhance the western states powers.
End Notes
1. Leeson D. The Cambridge History of Warfare, edited by Geoffrey Parker. Canadian Journal of History. 2007, 1-11.
2. Wilson, Brian. Modern martial arts and the reinvention of tradition. Arkansas Tech University, 2015.
3. Harrison JB, Sullivan RE, Sherman D. A short history of Western civilization. Knopf; 1985.

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