War, Strategy and Military Doctrines



War, Strategy and Military Doctrines

Professor Azar Gat


The course examines the question of why war occurs and its changing prevalence and form in the modern world and into the 21st century. We study doctrines of nuclear, naval, mechanized and air warfare and the challenges of guerrilla and terror.


Subjects and reading material:

What is War? Why it Occurs?

Kenneth Waltz, Man, The State and War, New York, Columbia University Press, 1959, 1-15.

John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, New York, Norton, 2001, 17-22.

Randall Schweller, “Neorealism’s Status-Quo Bias: What Security Dilemma?” Security Studies, 5.3 (1996), 90-121.

Azar Gat, "So Why Do People Fight: Evolutionary Theory and the Causes of War", European Journal of International Relations, 15, 2009, 571-599.

Or (more advanced):

Azar Gat, The Causes of War and the Spread of Peace: But Will War Rebound? Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, 40-91, 109-126.


Strategy: Its Patterns and Uses

Basil Henry Liddell Hart, Strategy, New York, 1967, 333-339, 366-372.

Lawrence Freedman, Strategic Coercion, Oxford, Oxford UP, 1998, 15-36.

Richard Ned Lebow, “Conclusions,” in Jervis, Lebow and Stein, Psychology and Deterrence, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985, 203-232.

Roberta Wohlstetter, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1962, 1-4, 382-401.


Nuclear Strategy

Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, London, Macmillan, 1981, 63-119.

Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflict, New York, Longman, 2000, 98-131.

Scott Sagan and Kenneth Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, New York, Norton, 1995, 1-91.


Is War Declining – and Why?

Michael Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, 12 (1983), 205-235, 323-353.  Reprinted in Michael Brown et al., Debating the Democratic Peace, Cambridge, MIT, 1996, 3-57.

Bruce Russett and John Oneal, Triangulating Peace, New York, Norton, 2001, 22-42.

Joshua Goldstein, Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide, New York: Penguin, 2011, 12-28.

Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Trading State, New York, Basic Books, 1985, 22-43, 67-85.

Patrick McDonald, The Invisible Hand of Peace: Capitalism, the War Machine, and International Relations Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2009, 4-20.

Azar Gat, The Causes of War and the Spread of Peace: But Will War Rebound? Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, 129-186.


Asymmetrical Warfare: Guerrilla and Counter-Guerrilla

Gil Merom, How Democracies Lose Small Wars, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 5-16, 33-64.


Asymmetrical Warfare: Terror – Past and Future

John Mueller, Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them, New York, Free Press, 2006, 1-28.

Igor Primoratz, 'What is Terrorism?' Journal of Applied Philosophy, 7.2 (1990),


Walter Laqueur, 'Postmodern Terrorism', Foreign Affairs, 75.5 (1996), 24-36.


Doctrines of Maritime Strategy

Azar Gat, A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War, Oxford, 2001, 441-493.


Doctrines of Mechanized Warfare on Land

Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader, New York, 1952, Ch. 2, pp. 18-47.

Richard Simpkin, Deep Battle: The Brainchild of Marshal Tukhachevskii, New York, 1987, 32-65.

Azar Gat, British Armour Theory and the Rise of the Panzer Arm, London, St.   Antony’s College, Oxford/ Macmillan, 2000, 125 pp.


Air War

Gat, Military Thought, 561-597, 789-791, 802-804.

Gat, 'Ideology, National Policy, Technology and Strategic Doctrine between the World Wars', The Journal of Strategic Studies, 24 (2001), 1-18.

Williamson Murray, Luftwaffe, Baltimore, 1985, Ch. I, 1-27.


Into the 21st Century: The World of Today and Tomorrow

Fareed Zakaria, "The Future of American Power", Foreign Affairs, 87.3 (2008), 18-44.

Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs, 72.3 (1993),


Gat, The Causes of War and the Spread of Peace: But Will War Rebound? 187-244.


Grading: Final exam, plus class participation which can add up to one grade (10 points) to the final grade.


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