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In military operations, economic warfare is economic policy followed as a part of covert operations during wartime. The purpose of economic warfare is to capture critical economic resources so that the military and intelligence agencies can operate at full efficiency or deprive enemy forces of those resources so that they cannot fight the war properly.
The concept of economic warfare is most applicable to conflict between nation states, especially in times of total war - which involves not only the armed forces of an enemy nation, but mobilization of that nation's entire economy towards the war effort. In such a situation, causing damage to the enemy's economy directly damages the enemy's ability to fight the war. Some of the types or policies followed in economic warfare include blockade, blacklisting, preclusive purchasing, rewards and capturing of enemy assets.
Clear examples of economic warfare could be seen during World War II when the Allied powers followed these policies to deprive the Axis economies of critical resources. In turn, the Axis powers attempted to damage the Allied war effort via submarine warfare, and the sinking of supply ships carrying supplies, raw materials, and war related equipment.
- Commerce raiding
- Industrial warfare
- Merchant raider
- Strategic bombing
- Tonnage war
- Total war
- War economy
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