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  1. Key background reading 9 items
    1. The landmark Thucydides: a comprehensive guide to the Peloponnesian War - Richard Crawley, Robert B. Strassler, Thucydides 2008

      Book Essential

    2. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war 1994

      Book Essential

    3. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war - MacGregor Knox, Alvin Bernstein 2009

      Book Essential

    4. Diplomacy - Henry Kissinger c1994

      Book Essential

    5. The wages of destruction: the making and breaking of the Nazi economy - J. Adam Tooze 2007

      Book Essential a very useful and detailed study of the German war economy, and how strategic decisions are interlinked with economic capacity and development

    6. The Global Cold War: Third World interventions and the making of our times - Odd Arne Westad 2005

      Book Essential

    7. The art of war - Samuel B. Griffith, Sunzi 1971

      Book Recommended

  2. Week 1: Of Strategy, of War 7 items
    This session will deal with basic questions of strategy and war in the broadest sense. What is strategy? What is war? Though this course deals with strategy at the highest level, it is well to remember that wars are fought at the lowest level with drastic consequences for those who fight. This class will help remember the violence of war while at the same time helping us think through strategy.
    1. What it is like to go to war - Karl Marlantes 2012

      Book 

    2. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war 1994

      Book  Please read Williamson Murray and Mark Grimsley, “Introduction: On Strategy" pp 1-23.

    3. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war - MacGregor Knox, Alvin Bernstein 2009

      Book  Please read Williamson Murray and Mark Grimsley, “Introduction: On Strategy" pp 1-23

    4. Makers of modern strategy: from Machiavelli to the nuclear age - Gordon Alexander Craig, Felix Gilbert, Peter Paret 1986

      Book  Please read: Gordon Craig and Felix Gilbert, “Reflections on Strategy in the Present and the Future,” pp. 863-871.

    5. The yellow birds - Kevin Powers 2013

      Book 

    6. Supplementary reading 2 items
      1. The warriors: reflections on men in battle - J. Glenn Gray 1998

        Book 

  3. Week 2: An Iraq Test Case 8 items
    This class will examine the various strategies pursued by the West, largely the United States, after 9/11. In particular, we will examine the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the decision making surrounding these wars. We will use this class as something of a practice run for how to approach strategy.
    1. Surprise, security, and the American experience - John Lewis Gaddis c2004

      Book 

    2. The assassins' gate: America in Iraq - George Packer 2007

      Book 

    3. Power rules: how common sense can rescue American foreign policy - Leslie H. Gelb 2010

      Book 

    4. Supplemental reading 3 items
      1. The forever war: dispatches from the War on Terror - Dexter Filkins 2009

        Book 

      2. Imperial life in the emerald city: inside Baghdad's green zone - Rajiv Chandrasekaran 2007

        Book 

  4. Week 3: Thucydides: History, Strategy, and the Ancient World 7 items
    This session focuses on one of the most well-known histories of war and strategy whose relevance persists to this day. This work calls forth fundamental questions of strategy, the degree to which decisions shape the course of war, and the extent to which leaders are able to escape the strategic culture of their respective polities. How does contingency operate in history and war? Can human disaster be foreseen?
    1. The landmark Thucydides: a comprehensive guide to the Peloponnesian War - Richard Crawley, Robert B. Strassler, Thucydides 2008

      Book Essential Please read the following specific sections: Book I: §1-23, 66-88, 118-146 Book II: §1-25, 34-65 Book III: §1-15, 25-28, 35-50, 70-86 Book IV: §1-41 Book V: §84-116 Book VI: §1-105 Book VIII: §17-19

    2. Supplemental reading 6 items
      1. A War Like No Other - Victor Hanson September 12, 2006 (Paperback)

        Book 

      2. Thucydides: the reinvention of history - Donald Kagan 2010

        Book 

      3. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war 1994

        Book  Please read Donald Kagan's chapter, “Athenian Strategy in the Peloponnesian War.”

      4. The humanity of Thucydides - Clifford Orwin c1994

        Book 

  5. Week 4: Machiavelli and Statecraft 7 items
    Machiavelli’s classic text, The Prince, remains a text that sketches out a particular approach to international politics that is influential today. Yet, it is often misinterpreted in our modern context. We will examine the historical context this classic text and attempt to discover the message that Machiavelli was attempting to get across. Machiavelli’s era raises fundamental questions for the history of strategy, encompassing contingency, sudden violent change, and what were the potential responses by leaders in the Renaissance context.
    1. The prince - Niccolò Machiavelli, Harvey C. Mansfield 1998

      Book Essential

    2. The Renaissance - Eric Cochrane, Julius Kirshner 1986

      Book  Please read Machiavelli on 'The Discourses of Titus Livius'

    3. The proper study of mankind: an anthology of essays - Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer 1998

      Book  Please read “The Originality of Machiavelli,” pp. 269-325.

    4. Supplemental reading 4 items
      1. No virtue like necessity: realist thought in international relations since Machiavelli - Jonathan Haslam c2002

        Book  Please read: Jonathan Haslam's “Reasons of State”

  6. Week 5: Phillip II and the Contest with England 8 items
    This class concentrates on the contest between Spain and England in the 16th and 17th centuries. In many ways, this seems to be contest between a giant and a dwarf, a contest between the first European world power and an insular, fractured island state. How did religion, geography, and the early modern states in formation in Spain and England shape strategy? What was the role of contingency in the conflict between England and Spain? Does operating under conditions of scarcity have implicit advantages for powers when it comes to strategy?
    1. The Armada - Garrett Mattingly 1987

      Book Essential

    2. The rise and fall of British naval mastery - Paul M. Kennedy 1976

      Book Essential Please read the chapter “The Early Years of English Sea Power"

    3. The rise and fall of British naval mastery - Paul M. Kennedy 2017

      Book Essential Please read the chapter “The Early Years of English Sea Power"

    4. The grand strategy of Philip II - Geoffrey Parker c1998

      Book Essential Please read: Geoffrey Parker, “Conclusion: Agent and Structure,” pp. 281-296

    5. Supplemental reading 4 items
      1. The grand strategy of Philip II - Geoffrey Parker c1998

        Book 

  7. Week 7: The Strategies of Eighteenth Century European Empires: North America from 1713 to 1776 8 items
    This session will explore the strategies of empires in this era of “first” European empires through concentrating on the British and French Empires in North America. How did these far-flung territories shape strategies coming out of Europe itself? What was the role of Native American tribes and overseas colonists in shaping strategies? How did the center assess the relative benefits of overseas empire in this case? Finally, we will investigate why and how these empires collapsed and what the implications were for European empire in the 19th and 20th centuries.
    1. The war that made America: a short history of the French and Indian War - Fred Anderson, R. Scott Stephenson 2005

      Book Essential

    2. The War for America, 1775-1783 - Piers Mackesy, John W. Shy 1993

      Book Essential

    3. The war for America, 1775-1783 - Piers Mackesy, John W. Shy 1993

      Book Essential

    4. A people numerous and armed: reflections on the military struggle for American independence - John W. Shy, American Council of Learned Societies 2008

      Book Essential

    5. Supplemental reading 3 items
      1. Champlain's dream - David Hackett Fischer 2008

        Book 

      2. Liberty's exiles: American loyalists in the revolutionary world - Maya Jasanoff 2012

        Book 

  8. Week 8: Clausewitz and the Shattering Wars of the Early 19th Century 8 items
    This class explores strategy in the age of the Napoleonic Wars and particularly concentrates on the response of Carl von Clausewitz to these wars. It will concentrate in particular on the way in which these wars shattered the European state system and appeared to be impossible to control. Among other things, it will consider whether or not wars can actually be rationally managed. It will also consider how European policymakers reacted to these wars and the strategic changes that these wars required.
    1. On war - Carl von Clausewitz, Michael Eliot Howard, Peter Paret c1984 (electronic resource)

      Book Essential This is an ebook version of the Howard and Paret edition. Please read: Book I, Chapters 1-8 Book II, Chapters 1-6 Book III, Chapters 1-18 Book IV, Chapter 11 Book V, Chapter 3 Book VI, Chapters, 1, 5, 23, 27 Book VII, Chapters 2-5, 22 Book VIII, Chapters 1-9

    2. On war - Carl von Clausewitz, Bernard Brodie, Michael Howard, Peter Paret c1984

      Book Essential Please read: Book I, Chapters 1-8 Book II, Chapters 1-6 Book III, Chapters 1-18 Book IV, Chapter 11 Book V, Chapter 3 Book VI, Chapters, 1, 5, 23, 27 Book VII, Chapters 2-5, 22 Book VIII, Chapters 1-9

    3. Supplemental reading 4 items
      1. The first total war: Napoleon's Europe and the birth of modern warfare - David Avrom Bell 2007

        Book Recommended

  9. Week 9: Kant, Metternich, and International Politics 12 items
    Kant and Metternich present alternative visions of international politics that also bracket the Napoleonic Wars that we examined in our last class. We will examine how both men thought about creating peace and stability in international politics, and we will also think about the respective legacies of both of these statesmen in the twentieth century.
    1. After victory: institutions, strategic restraint, and the rebuilding of order after major wars - G. John Ikenberry c2001

      Book Essential This is the physical copy, the e-book is below. Please read Chapter 4.

    2. After victory: institutions, strategic restraint, and the rebuilding of order after major wars - G. John Ikenberry c2001

      Book Essential Please read Chapter 4. If you prefer to read a physical copy, the library does have one.

    3. A world restored - Henry Kissinger 1964

      Book Recommended Please read pp 1-61.

    4. Kant: political writings - Immanuel Kant, H. B. Nisbet, Hans Reiss 1991

      Book Essential Please read: “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose” “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch”

    5. The transformation of European politics 1763-1848 - Paul W. Schroeder 1994

      Book Essential Please read Paul Schroeder's chapter, “The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815”

    6. Supplementary reading 5 items
      1. The great powers and the European states system 1815-1914 - F. R. Bridge, R. J. Bullen 1980

        Book 

      2. On the law of nations - Daniel P. Moynihan 1990

        Book 

  10. Week 10: The Rise of the United States 10 items
    This week, we consider the United States' rise to world power status. How did the origins of the United States shape that rise to world power and how did they influence American perceptions of the world once a world power? Did they create a unique strategic culture in the United States?
    1. Avalon Project - The Federalist Papers

      Webpage Essential Please read Nos 1-5, and 8-11.

    2. Dangerous nation - Robert Kagan 2007

      Book Essential

    3. Lincoln's code: the laws of war in American history - John Fabian Witt c2012

      Book Essential

    4. Supplementary reading 5 items
      1. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war 1994

        Book Recommended Please read: Peter Maslowski, “To the Edge of Greatness: The United States, 1783-1865”

      2. A country of vast designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent - Robert W. Merry c2009

        Book 

      3. The rise of American democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln - Sean Wilentz 2005

        Book 

  11. Week 11: Bismarck. Blood, Iron, and the Creation of Germany 9 items
    This class examines the rise of the other “new” world power of the late nineteenth century, Germany. In particular, we concentrate on the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s consideration of strategy and the use of power. Was he a genius or reckless reactionary who created a system that could no longer be manipulated by his successors?
    1. Bismarck and the development of Germany - Otto Pflanze 1990

      Book Essential Please read pp xviii-100.

    2. The German Empire 1871-1918 - Hans Ulrich Wehler 1985

      Book Essential Please read pp. 9-31, 52-62, 232-246.

    3. Bismarck: a life - Jonathan Steinberg 2012

      Book Recommended

    4. The sword and the sceptre: the problem of militarism in Germany - Gerhard Ritter, Heinz Norden 1972

      Book Essential Please read Chapter 8: 'Moltke and Bismarck--Strategy and Policy'.

    5. Supplementary reading 4 items
      1. The making of strategy: rulers, states, and war 1994

        Book  Please see: Holger Herwig, “Strategic Uncertainties of Nation-State: Prussia-Germany, 1871-1918”

      2. The rise and fall of the great powers: economic change and military conflict from 1500-2000 - Paul M. Kennedy 1989

        Book  Please see: “The Coming of a Bipolar World and the Crisis of the ‘Middle Powers'”

      3. Diplomacy - Henry Kissinger c1994

        Book  Please see pp. 103-200.