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The Vigorous Future

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Chapter Summary

In opposition to the Vaubanian ideal, many generals supplemented efficient tactics with brute force, tactics which suited their wide-ranging belief in the importance of vigorous action. The struggle between efficiency and vigor would continue well beyond the War of the Spanish Succession, and the victory of vigor would inform more modern views of the ‘proper’ conduct of war. Those who survived Louis XIV’s later wars reinvigorated the attack by calling in their treatises for more lively operations. The competition between efficiency and vigor extended to defending fortresses as well as attacking them. Many of the political, social, economic and cultural conditions have changed radically since the 1700s, yet an offensive mentality remains one of the fundamental features of the dominant Western military tradition.

Keywords: Spanish succession; Vaubanian ideal; Western military tradition



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