Military strategy is an area of growing interest in the study of international conflict. It is linked to the outbreak, duration, and outcome of wars. This article presents the first quantitative empirical tests of the proposition that military strategy affects the outbreak of international conflict. The focus is on maneuver-oriented military strategies, such as the German blitzkrieg in World War II, which are hypothesized to be particularly conflict prone. Tests were conducted on the initiation and escalation of militarized interstate disputes for a sample of states from 1903 to 1992. The results indicate that states with maneuver strategies were significantly more likely to initiate disputes in general, although not disputes that escalate to the use of force. However, dispute participants with maneuver strategies were significantly more likely to escalate a dispute to war if the adversary employed a military strategy that emphasized attrition.
The Journal of Conflict Resolution is an interdisciplinary journal of social scientific research and theory on human conflict. The journal focuses largely on international conflict, but also explores a variety of national, intergroup and interpersonal conflicts.
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