1Approaching Military Revolutions

The notion of military revolution appeared in the vocabulary of strategists, historians and political scientists during the 20th Century. However, before further examination, it is important to try and understand it, and to tackle three preliminary points. First, questions concerning military revolution appeared in two distinct realms. From one side, in the historical realm, in Roberts’ work [ROB 56], who, in his research supported by tactical reforms of the Dutch army, tried to show a radical break with the recent past. Even though Parker [PAR 88, PAR 76] and Black [BLA 91a] criticized this thesis, it remains the most quoted study of the emergence of the debate on American RMA1. From the other side, in the realm of political and strategic science, the nuclear question was quickly perceived as a revolution in itself, since the goal of the armies was no longer to make war but to avoid it2. In both cases, these “revolutions” were techno-centered, and were respectively supported by the power of fire (artillery, individual weapons), maritime navigation techniques or the process of popular mobilization (through a slow process of state constitution [FIN 75, FOR 09]), and the scheme of the nuclear weapons and its vectors. In some ways, they already imply information flows.

We can thus consider that the definition of RMA in the debate of a possible “revolution” in the 1990s quickly embraced the ideas that had been previously developed. In a first approach, ...

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