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Command Failure in War

Psychology and Leadership

Command Failure in War by Philip Langer
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Why do military commanders, most of them usually quite capable, fail at crucial moments of their careers? Robert Pois and Philip Langer -- one a historian, the other an educational psychologist -- study seven cases of military command failures, from Frederick the Great at Kunersdorf to Hitler's invasion of Russia. While the authors recognize the value of psychological theorizing, they do not believe that one method can cover all the individuals, battles, or campaigns under examination. Instead, they judiciously take a number of psycho-historical approaches in hope of shedding light on the behaviors of commanders during war. The other battles and commanders studied here are Napoleon in Russia, George B. McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, Robert E. Lee and Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, John Bell Hood at the Battle of Franklin, Douglas Haig and the British command during World War I, "Bomber" Harris and the Strategic Bombing of Germany, and Stalingrad.

Indiana University Press; May 2004
303 pages; ISBN 9780253110930
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Title: Command Failure in War
Author: Philip Langer; Robert Pois