German views of irregular warfare
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Increasingly, so-called weak actors employ irregular warfare to successfully challenge the strong. The British, French, and Americans are recognized for their irregular warfare experience, but the comparatively rich German tradition remains overlooked. German contributions to irregular warfare, in fact, rival their reputed expertise in modern maneuver warfare. This thesis surveys German irregular warfare cases from the eighteenth century forward. Beginning in the American Revolution, Hessian officer Johann Ewald revealed important counter-insurgency principles. In the early nineteenth century, Carl von Clausewitz spoke to the larger idea of people’s war and noted its efficacy. In a peripheral theater of World War I, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck mastered the art of irregular adaptation and survival. In the Second World War, Otto Skorzeny perfected the strategic commando raid. After serving in the same war, Friedrich A.F. von der Heydte published a theory of modern irregular warfare, unique for its views on terrorism and the combined employment of irregular and other forms of warfare. Otto Heilbrunn studied partisan warfare and endorsed pseudo operations to counter asymmetric threats such as those faced by the United States today. German irregular warfare offers strategic answers to contemporary security challenges.
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