The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is to get an old one out.
In war, the chief incalculable is the human will.
The most dangerous error is failure to recognize our own tendency to error.
If you want peace, understand war.
In strategy the longest way round is often the shortest way there- a direct approach to the object exhausts the attacker and hardens the resistance by compression, whereas an indirect approach loosens the defender’s hold by upsetting his balance.
War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it.
The downfall of civilized states tends to come not from the direct assaults of foes, but from internal decay combined with the consequences of exhaustion in war.
The theory of the indirect approach operates on the line of least expectation.
Air Power is, above all, a psychological weapon – and only short-sighted soldiers, too battle-minded, underrate the importance of psychological factors in war.
The profoundest truth of war is that the issue of battle is usually decided in the minds of the opposing commanders, not in the bodies of their men.
Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible, adaptable to circumstances. Your plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success or failure.
For whoever habitually suppresses the truth in the interests of tact will produce a deformity from the womb of his thought.
Every action is seen to fall into one of three main categories, guarding, hitting, or moving. Here, then, are the elements of combat, whether in war or pugilism.
A commander should have a profound understanding of human nature, the knack of smoothing out troubles, the power of winning affection while communicating energy, and the capacity for ruthless determination where require by circumstances. He needs to generate an electrifying current, and to keep a cool head in applying it.
Loss of hope rather than loss of life is what decides the issues of war. But helplessness induces hopelessness.
The unexpected cannot guarantee success, but it guarantees the best chance of success.
A complacent satisfaction with present knowledge is the chief bar to the pursuit of knowledge.
The most effective indirect approach is one that lures or startles the opponent into a false move – so that, as in ju-jitsu, his own effort is turned into the lever of his overthrow.
For the spread and endurance of an idea the originator is dependent on the self-development of the receivers and transmitters.
In war the chief incalculable is the human will, which manifests itself in resistance, which in turn lies in the province of tactics. Strategy has not to overcome resistance, except from nature. Its purpose is to diminish the possibility of resistance, and it seeks to fulfil this purpose by exploiting the elements of movement and surprise.
The military weapon is but one of the means that serve the purposes of war: one out of the assortment which grand strategy can employ.
No man can exactly calculate the capacity of human genius and stupidity, nor the incapacity of will.
The easiest and quickest path into the esteem of traditional military authorities is by the appeal to the eye, rather than to the mind. The `polish and pipeclay’ school is not yet extinct, and it is easier for the mediocre intelligence to become an authority on buttons, than on tactics.
In the case of a state that is seeking not conquest but the maintenance of its security, the aim is fulfilled if the threat is removed – if the enemy is led to abandon his purpose.
The most consistently successful commanders, when faced by an enemy in a position that was strong naturally or materially, have hardly ever tackled it in a direct way. And when, under pressure of circumstances, they have risked a direct attack, the result has commonly been to blot their record with a failure.