Two-front war

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
World map in May 1940, prior to the Battle of France with the Western Allies in blue, the Axis Powers in black and the Comintern Soviet Union and Mongolia in red. The Comintern joined the Allies in June 1941 upon the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, thus confining Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war.

According to military terminology, a two-front war occurs, when opposing forces encounter on two geographically separate fronts. The forces of two or more allied parties usually simultaneously engage an opponent in order to increase their chances of success. The opponent consequently encounters severe logistic difficulties as he is forced to divide and disperse his troops, defend an extended front line and is at least partly cut off from access to trade and exterior resources. However, by virtue of the central position he might possess the advantages[1] of the interior lines.[2][3]

The term has widely been used in a metaphorical sense, for example to illustrate the dilemma of military commanders in the field, who struggle to carry out illusory strategic ideas of civilian bureaucrats, or when moderate legal motions or positions are concurrently opposed by the political Left and Right.[4][5] Disapproval and opposition by the domestic anti-war movement and civil rights groups as opposed to the bloody military struggle of the late Vietnam War has also been described as a two-front war for the US troops, who fought in Vietnam.[6][7]

Wars in antiquity[edit]

As it ascented to supremacy in Italy, Rome routinely fought on multiple fronts.

During the 5th-century BCE First Peloponnesian War the Greek polis of Athens had been embroiled in a drawn out struggle with the poleis of Aegina and Corinth among others and its primary enemy Sparta. Aware of the dangers of a battle with the superior Spartans, Athens concentrated on the conquest of Boeotia and thus avoid a prolonged two-front war.[8]

On several occasions during the third century BCE, the Roman Republic engaged in two-front conflicts while clashing with the Gauls and Etruscans to the north and also campaigning in Magna Graecia (the coastal areas of Southern Italy). When Rome was enmeshed in the Second Punic War against Carthage, Hannibal, formal ally of the Sicilian city of Syracuse, intrigued with Philip V of Macedon in 215 BCE, who promptly declared war on Rome.[9][10] After the establishment of the Roman Empire and the consolidation of its frontiers under Augustus, the Roman legions regularly battled multiple enemies, most notably Germanic tribes on the Rhine and the lower Danube and the Parthian Empire in Syria and Mesopotamia.[11] Various emperors, such as Septimius Severus and Aurelian forcibly led large armies to the opposite ends of the empire in order to deal with the various threats. Beginning in the third century the Roman - and its eastern successor the Byzantine Empire, trying to preserve its territories in Italy, struggled with the Sassanid Empire to the east for a period of more than 400 years. Large-scale incursions of Germanic tribes, such as the Goths and Hunnic raids in the west began during the fourth century and lasted for more than a hundred years.[12][13]

Seven Years' War[edit]

Allied Indian troops ambush a British contingent on the march, Battle of the Monongahela

The French and Indian War was a local conflict in North America, that occurred in the context of the trans-continental Seven Years' War. In 1755 armed forces of Great Britain under the command of General Edward Braddock invaded the territories of New France (eastern part of modern Canada) and attacked Fort Duquesne. Although numerically superior to the local French militia and their Indian allies, the British army became ensnared in a two-front conflict and was routed.[14][15]

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Grande Armée of France regularly maintained multiple fronts. In the seven year long Peninsular War (1807–1814) imperial French contingents and Spanish and Anglo-Portuguese armies wrestled for control of the Iberian Peninsula in numerous battles. Nonetheless, in 1812 as French military presence in Iberia had begun to decline, emperor Napoleon Bonaparte personally lead an army of more than 600.000 troops to the east into Russia, seeking to decisively defeat the Russian Empire and force Tsar Alexander I to comply with the Continental System.[16] Great Britain was also present on multiple fronts of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the Canadian, the Chesapeake Bay and Louisiana theaters of the War of 1812 in North America.[17][18]

World War I[edit]

Germany[edit]

Europe in 1914, prior to World War I, Germany and Austria-Hungary (Italy joins the Allies in May 1915) in a two-front war scenario, are politically isolated, can effectively be cut off from marine trade, while facing Triple Entente frontlines to the East and West.

During World War I, Germany fought a two-front war against France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium and later also American forces on the Western Front and Russia and later Romania on the Eastern Front. Russian participation in the war ended with the 1917 Bolshevik October Coup and the peace treaty with Germany and Austria-Hungary was signed in March 1918.

Its central location in Europe and (currently) borders with nine neighboring nations fundamentally define Germany's politics and strategy. Bismarck successfully integrated Germany in his elaborate system of alliance of the European powers from 1871 until he was dismissed in 1890 by the new Emperor Wilhelm II.[19] Wilhelm embarked on an imperialist great power political course, neglected the alliances and his irrational expansion of the Imperial Navy triggered an arms race and seriously damaged the relations with France and Great Britain. By 1907, France had established an alliance with Great Britain and Russia. The German Empire found itself encircled and isolated.[20][21][22][23]

German military strategists had to adapt to the new strategic situation and developed the Schlieffen Plan. A series of military operations, that were to counteract being surrounded and, if exacted ruthlessly, will lead to victory.[24] Under the Schlieffen Plan, German forces would invade France via Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (the idea to go through the Netherlands was abandoned because of the country's neutrality), quickly capturing Paris and forcing France to sue for peace. The Germans would then turn their attention to the East before the Russian army could mobilize its massive forces. The Germans failed to achieve the plan's objectives.[25][26][27]

Austria[edit]

In 1866 the Austro-Hungarian Army was left with no other option but to divide its armed forces and disperse them on two fronts during the Austro-Prussian War against Prussia to the North and the Kingdom of Italy to the South in the Third Italian War of Independence. The Prusso-Italian alliance was agreed upon an initiative of the Prussian Minister President Otto von Bismarck.[28]

In 1914 Austria-Hungary commenced the First World War by attacking Serbia at the Balkan front. After just a few weeks Austria-Hungarian troops clashed with the numerically far superior Russian imperial army in the Battle of Galicia at the Eastern front.[29] When Italy joined the conflict in May 1915 on the Allied side and deployed in strength at the Alpine front to the south, Austria-Hungary was already critically undermanned and faced serious recruitment shortfalls, which diminished the chances to exact an early defeat on any of the opponents, instead be confined to struggle in a two-front war at the periphery of its own territory. Consequently, the Austro-Hungarian Army lacked the initiative and the contributions at the Macedonian front (Salonikifront) were marginal. Nonetheless, when Romania entered the war on the Allied side in August 1916 at the southern tip of the Eastern front, Austria-Hungary acted promptly and concluded this stage in late 1916 and occupied large areas of Romania. The greater two-front war only ended after the separate peace with Russia in March 1918, which, after all, did not forestall the collapse of the imperial army in the course of summer and autumn.[30]

World War II[edit]

Map of remaining German-controlled territory (in white) on December 15, 1944.

A two-front war scenario, almost identical to the first World War would eventually aggregate in the European theatre during World War II, when Nazi Germany confronted allied France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and later the United States in the west and the Soviet Union to the east.[31]

Adolf Hitler initially attempted to avoid a two-front war as he engaged and crushed his opponents successively. In 1940, however, he failed to beat Great Britain in the air battle and in 1941 attacked the Soviet Union. Great Britain in relative safety on its island remained unbeaten and managed to maintain the western front. Hitler also failed to neutralize Great Britain and avoid a two-front war.

Germany, that lacked the resources for a long war, failed to achieve a quick victory in the east and eventually collapsed under the pressure of a war of attrition on two fronts, accelerated by a surge of resistance and partisan groups in virtually all occupied countries. Reduced production output and dwindling replacements of casualties as a consequence of massive material warfare and Allied strategic bombing and shortages in fuel and raw materials increasingly prevented the continuation of German offensive - and Blitzkrieg tactics. In contrast, steadily improving Allied cooperative warfare, based on an exponentially growing war industry brought about the inevitable total military defeat for Germany.[32][33][34][35]

The United States, who had, since December 1941, primarily focused on the conflict with the Japanese Empire, eventually established an Atlantic front in order to support their European allies, beginning in November 1942 with an amphibious landing in North Africa, later to continue the campaign in Sicily and on the Italian peninsula and invade France on the beaches of Normandy in 1944.[36][37] Their colossal military strength and favorable strategic position in between two oceans without territorial borders to any of the Axis powers allowed the US forces to safely wage an offensive two-front war by maintaining the initiative in the Pacific War, contain and defeat Japan and also increase American presence in Europe that ensures Allied victory over Nazi Germany.[38][39]

The Axis Powers had the opportunity to force the Soviet Union into a two-front war by means of a Japanese attack in the Soviet Far East, but Japan decided against it as it had been defeated in the Soviet–Japanese border conflicts. The Soviet Union and Japan refrained from mutual hostilities until the 9 August 1945, three months after the surrender of Germany. Thus, Japan fought a two-front war in China in the Second Sino-Japanese War and against the United States in the Pacific Theatre. The Soviet Union worsened the Japanese position by invading Manchuria.[40]

Cold War[edit]

A major rationale for the American 600-ship Navy plan in the 1980s was to threaten the Soviet Union with a two-front war, in Europe and the Pacific Ocean, in the event of hostilities.[41]

Israeli-Arab Wars[edit]

In the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, the Israelis fought the Egyptians to the south and the Jordanians and Syrians in the east and the north. Israel again fought two-front wars in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.[42][43][44]

Conflicts of the 21st century[edit]

India, Pakistan and China[edit]

India's relations with Pakistan and China have for many decades been uneasy and, in fact, greatly disturbed by unsettled border feuds. The discord with Pakistan is by far the more complicated one, because both parties claim exclusive sovereignty over an entire historic region, the state of Jammu and Kashmir.[45] Although matters were settled and signed in 1972, armed forces face each other, entrenched on both sides of the volatile border, the Line of Control. Attempts to directly or indirectly wrest territory from each other has hardly been successful and always caused fierce reactions.[46][47]

India and China have, despite more than a dozen rounds of border talks and the uneasy Line of Actual Control, as yet failed to negotiate a conclusive agreement. For decades, the Indian press and media have pointed at political tensions and deteriorating relations with China, caused, among other things, by occasional Chinese military incursions into Indian-controlled territory.[citation needed]

In 2013 the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a series of high-profile infrastructure development projects in Pakistan was established. Chinese-Pakistani cooperation proved to be a success and a modern infrastructure had emerged within six years and by 2019 focus has shifted to the next phase. CPEC has disclosed its programs for concrete economic development and employment creation.

The Government of India has professed security concerns and repeatedly expressed its disapproval of the CPEC project, as a number of the projects come about on territory claimed by India.[48][49]

According to an Indian army general in 2018, war on multiple fronts was "very much in the realm of reality", as the consequence of ideas of isolation and concerns about the clandestine strategic commitment of China and Pakistan, as the Congress in Beijing has provided assistance to Pakistan's nuclear weapon and missile programmes.[50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bernard Wasserstein (12 February 2009). Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in our Time. OUP Oxford. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-19-162251-9.
  2. ^ Cathal J. Nolan (2002). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations: S-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 1712–. ISBN 978-0-313-32383-6.
  3. ^ "Interior Lines". Encyclopedia Com. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Joshua Moon (13 September 2012). Wellington's Two-Front War: The Peninsular Campaigns, at Home and Abroad, 1808-1814. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-0-8061-8610-8.
  5. ^ Uri Friedman (March 3, 2017). "America's Two-Front War of Ideas". The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Lawrence Allen Eldridge (18 January 2012). Chronicles of a Two-Front War: Civil Rights and Vietnam in the African American Press. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-7259-1.
  7. ^ Theo Farrell; Terry Terriff (2002). The Sources of Military Change: Culture, Politics, Technology. Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-1-55587-975-4.
  8. ^ Victor Davis Hanson (30 November 2011). A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 125–. ISBN 978-1-58836-490-6.
  9. ^ Salmon, Julie Andrew; E. T. Salmon (2 September 1967). Samnium and the Samnites. Cambridge University Press. pp. 281–. ISBN 978-0-521-06185-8.
  10. ^ Brian Todd Carey (18 October 2007). Hannibal's Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage. Pen and Sword. pp. 74–. ISBN 978-1-84415-635-1.
  11. ^ Michael Auslin (September 9, 2014). "Don't Do As the Romans Did…". POLITICO LLC. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Peter Heather (28 October 2005). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-515954-7.
  13. ^ "Transoxiana 04: Sasanians in Africa". Transoxiana.com.ar. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  14. ^ Anderson, Fred (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. [1]. ISBN 0375406425.
  15. ^ "The Battle of the Monongahela". WDL. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  16. ^ Victoria Tin-bor Hui (4 July 2005). War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-139-44356-2.
  17. ^ Carl Benn (6 June 2014). The War of 1812. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4728-1009-0.
  18. ^ Jeremy Black. "Wellington's Two-Front War: The Peninsular Campaigns, at Home and Abroad, 1808-1814". Academia. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  19. ^ John A Smoot. "The Bismarck Plan: German Unification and the Balance of Power". Academia. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Neugebauer, Wolfgang (2003). Die Hohenzollern. Band 2 – Dynastie im säkularen Wandel (in German). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-3-17-012097-6.
  21. ^ On the Kaiser's "histrionic personality disorder", see Tipton (2003), pp. 243–245
  22. ^ Röhl, J. C. G. (Sep 1966). "Friedrich von Holstein". Historical Journal. 9 (3): 379–388. doi:10.1017/s0018246x00026716.
  23. ^ Herwig, Holger (1980). Luxury Fleet: The Imperial German Navy 1888–1918.
  24. ^ Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, Gerhard P. Gross, David T. Zabecki (14 October 2014). The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-4747-5.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Michael Peck (November 11, 2018). "Germany Could Have Won World War I. Here's How". Center for the National Interest. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Andrew Roberts (6 August 2009). The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 173–. ISBN 978-0-14-193886-8.
  27. ^ Terence Zuber (31 October 2002). Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-164771-0.
  28. ^ Geoffrey Wawro (13 September 1997). The Austro-Prussian War: Austria's War with Prussia and Italy in 1866. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-62951-5.
  29. ^ Richard Frederick Hamilton; Richard F. Hamilton; Holger H. Herwig (24 February 2003). The Origins of World War I. Cambridge University Press. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-521-81735-6.
  30. ^ "Crisis mounts in Austria-Hungary amid hunger and discontent". HISTORY com. November 16, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  31. ^ Richard W. Harrison (13 April 2010). Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson. McFarland. pp. 216–. ISBN 978-0-7864-5667-3.
  32. ^ Fern Chandonnet (15 September 2007). Alaska at War, 1941-1945: The Forgotten War Remembered. University of Alaska Press. pp. 345–. ISBN 978-1-60223-135-1.
  33. ^ Jeffrey Billman. "The Effects of the Two-Front War on Germany During WWII". Leaf Group Ltd. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  34. ^ Higgins Trumbull (April 1, 1967). "Hitler And Russia: The Third Reich in a Two-Front War, 1937–1943". Oxford University Press. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  35. ^ Lee Baker (13 September 2013). The Second World War on the Eastern Front. Routledge. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-1-317-86504-9.
  36. ^ Leo J. Meyer. "The Decision To Invade North Africa (TORCH)". U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  37. ^ Alan Axelrod (2008). The Real History of World War II: A New Look at the Past. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-1-4027-4090-9.
  38. ^ Professor Louis Morton (15 August 2014). United States Army in WWII - the Pacific - Strategy and Command - Part three: Seizing the initiative. Verdun Press. ISBN 978-1-78289-397-4.
  39. ^ Maury Klein (16 July 2013). A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II ´The feasibility follies, p. 377 -. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60819-409-4.
  40. ^ Larry H. Addington (22 October 1994). The Patterns of War Since the Eighteenth Century. Indiana University Press. pp. 303–. ISBN 978-0-253-11109-8.
  41. ^ "Ship Building 1981-89 - Reagan, Ronald". Global Security. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  42. ^ Frank Aker (22 October 2014). October 1973 The Arab Israeli War. First Edition Design Pub. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-62287-755-3.
  43. ^ Abraham Rabinovich (18 December 2007). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-42965-0.
  44. ^ R. Harkavy; S. Neuman (30 April 2016). Warfare and the Third World. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-1-137-07926-8.
  45. ^ "Jammu and Kashmir, union territory, India - History". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  46. ^ "Kashmir Fast Facts". CNN. March 26, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  47. ^ Edmund Jan·Osma鈔czyk; Edmund Jan Osmańczyk (2003). Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: G to M. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1191–. ISBN 978-0-415-93922-5.
  48. ^ "PM Modi told China, Pakistan economic corridor unacceptable: Sushma Swaraj" (31 May 2015). Zee News. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  49. ^ "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 'unacceptable', Modi tells China". The Express Tribune. 1 June 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  50. ^ Rajat Pandit (July 13, 2018). "Two-front war is a real scenario, says General Bipin Rawat". The Economic Times India. Retrieved May 2, 2020.