Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better military technology does not lead to shorter wars, analysis reveals

Date:
March 31, 2010
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
It is generally assumed that military technology that is offensive rather than defensive in nature leads to shorter wars. Yet, new research from Sweden shows that this assumption is not correct.

It is generally assumed that military technology that is offensive rather than defensive in nature leads to shorter wars. Yet, a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that this assumption is not correct.

Related Articles


For long, researchers have thought that offensive military technology, such as armoured cars and attack jets, makes it easier to shorten the duration of a war. It is also generally perceived that when the offensive technology is more effective than the defensive technology, it is more advantageous to start a war.

"While this may be seen in some wars where the attacker is clearly superior, it is not true on average. This means that the improved military technology has not resulted in any advantages for the attacking force, at least not in terms of war duration," says Marco Nilsson, who recently earned his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg.

To investigate the effect of offensive technology on war duration, Nilsson statistically analysed all wars in the state system from 1817 to 1992. Interestingly, he did not find any effect at all.

"I found that, in reality, the potential advantages of attack-oriented technology is limited by for example terrain, technological development, training of military personnel, climate, weather and norms. Due to these limitations, attack-oriented technology normally does not allow a state to run over an enemy as easily as expected. Unless the attacked country collapses right away, the duration of most wars is decided at the negotiation table," says Nilsson.

If two fighting countries could sit down at the negotiation table and base their demands only on military capacity, it would be easy for them to reach a mutually acceptable solution to their armed conflict -- the stronger would make high demands and the weaker would accept them. Yet, this hardly ever happens in real life. Nilsson's study of four different wars (the Winter War 1939, the Continuation War 1941-1943, the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 and the war between India and Pakistan 1965) shows that states do not always base their demands at the negotiation table on military capacity.

"A major problem arises when a state has offensive expectations that do not match what is actually seen on the battlefield. These seemingly unrealistic expectations can for example be a result of a conviction that God will step in and influence the outcome of a war. Another reason may be that a country for some reason expects its offensive ability to soon improve," says Nilsson.

Unfortunately, some states start wars expecting their attack-oriented technology to warrant quick success. Therefore, too much confidence in offensive technology may increase the likelihood of new wars and speed up arms racing, all due to a misunderstanding among decision makers. A better understanding of the potentials and limitations of military technology could lead to a world where many drawn-out and costly wars are avoided.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Better military technology does not lead to shorter wars, analysis reveals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329093615.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2010, March 31). Better military technology does not lead to shorter wars, analysis reveals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329093615.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Better military technology does not lead to shorter wars, analysis reveals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100329093615.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins