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Colonel E.G. Keogh p3

Colonel Keogh talks about the motivations of people in war, which must be understood when forming strategy…

The book Shenandoah 1861-62 is also a good overall history of the US Civil War, which the author describes as “four years of ruinous strife”. The author says that war is a political act undertaken to attain a political aim. The political aim is not necessarily achieved by a military victory. He said that throughout history, nations had achieved military victories without achieving a political aim.

He talked about the origins of the Civil War. He described slavery and how the cotton farmers and others in the South were making money from the cheap labour of the slaves. (It’s the same as in some countries today, where the population are state slaves, for cheap labour, to make a lot of money for a select group or aristocracy.) 

Colonel Keogh writes: There is a tendency to oversimplify the matter by saying that the war was fought to abolish slavery in the United States. While this is fundamentally true, it is not sufficient for the military student. It was not the abolition of slavery on the one hand, nor its retention on the other, that dictated the grand strategy of the belligerents; it was the question of the right of one or more States to secede from the Union. Unless this distinction is clearly made, and unless the part which each question played in the protracted and passionate argument preceding the outbreak of hostilities is fully appreciated, it is impossible to understand the political motives, and therefore the initial strategy, of either side…It is not necessary to agree with either view, but it is essential to see the situation as they saw it, to feel as they felt. Otherwise we shall never understand why or how they fought.