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Approaching total war: Ivan Bloch’s disturbing vision

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Chapter Summary

As the battle for the fortress at Port Arthur was reaching its final stages, a translation of a book was published in Tokyo. This chapter defines “total war” as follows: (a) A war that is not decided in a short space of time, or by a few decisive battles, and that instead becomes a prolonged war of attrition. (b) A war that requires the use of additional military and financial resources produced in the course of the conflict. Using Ivan Bloch’s The War of the Future, It investigates in what ways the Russo-Japanese War was and was not a “total war”. The chapter locates the Russo-Japanese War in terms of the development of the concept of “total war” at the beginning of the 20th century. The sections of The War of the Future devoted to the navy are not very extensive but contain some predictions that proved accurate.

Keywords: Ivan Bloch; Port Arthur; Russo-Japanese War; The War of the Future; Tokyo; total war



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