Dialectics of War: An Essay in the Social Theory of Total War and Peace

92 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016

See all articles by Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw

University of Sussex - School of Global Studies; Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals - IBEI; University of Roehampton - Social Sciences

Date Written: January 01, 1988

Abstract

A critique of strategic and sociological thought on war, leading to an outline historical-sociological account of the dynamics of total war from the C19 industrialisation of war to the First and Second World Wars and the nuclear arms race. The book, first published by Pluto Press in 1988, argues that in the first half of the twentieth century the mode of warfare increasingly dominated society, remaking social and political contradictions and leading to change, but that the connection between war and social change altered with the nuclear phase, which accentuated the 'total destruction' side of total war at the expense of the 'total social mobilisation' which was implicated in change. In consequence, the book argues for the historical redundancy of modern interstate war and the appropriateness of a philosophy of 'historical pacifism'.

Keywords: total war, Clausewitz, Second World War, nuclear warfare, pacifism

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Shaw, Martin, Dialectics of War: An Essay in the Social Theory of Total War and Peace (January 01, 1988). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2718985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2718985

Martin Shaw (Contact Author)

University of Sussex - School of Global Studies ( email )

University of Sussex
Brighton, BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals - IBEI ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

University of Roehampton - Social Sciences ( email )

United Kingdom

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