Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart (31 October 1895 – 29 January 1970), commonly known throughout most of his career as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, was an English soldier, military historian and military theorist. Following World War II, he was a proponent of the West German rearmament and the moral rehabilitation of the German Wehrmacht. As part of these two interconnected initiatives, Liddell Hart significantly contributed to the creation of the Rommel myth.Read about B. H. Liddell Hart in Wikipedia
. . . regrettable as it may seem to the idealist, the experience of history provides little warrant for the belief that real progress, and the freedom that makes progress possible, lies in unification. For where unification has been able to establish unity of ideas it has usually ended in uniformity, paralysing the growth of new ideas. And where the unification has merely brought about an artificial or imposed unity, its irksomeness has led through discord to disruption.
The principle of compulsory service, embodied in the system of conscription, lias been the means by which modem dictators and military gangs have shackled their people after a coup d'état, and bound them to their own aggressive purposes. In view of the great service that conscription has rendered to tyranny and war, it is fundamentally shortsighted for any liberty-loving and peace-desiring peoples to maintain it as an imagined safeguard, lest they become the victims of the monster they have helped to preserve.
The art of the indirect approach can only be mastered, and its full scope appreciated, by study of and reflection upon the whole history of war. But we can at least crystallize the lessons into two simple maxims- one negative, the other positive. The first is that, in face of the overwhelming evidence of history, no general is justified in launching his troops to a direct attack upon an enemy firmly in position. The second, that instead of seeking to upset the enemy's equilibrium by one's attack, it must be upset before a real attack is, or can be successfully launched
It is folly to imagine that the aggressive types, whether individuals or nations, can be bought off. . . since the payment of danegeld stimulates a demand for more danegeld. But they can be curbed. Their very belief in force makes them more susceptible to the deterrent effect of a formidable opposing force.
In war the chief incalculable is the human will, which manifests itself in resistance, which in turn lies in the province of tactics. Strategy has not to overcome resistance, except from nature. Its purpose is to diminish the possibility of resistance, and it seeks to fulfil this purpose by exploiting the elements of movement and surprise.
Direct experience is inherently too limited to form an adequate foundation either for theory or for application. At the best it produces an atmosphere that is of value in drying and hardening the structure of thought. The greater value of indirect experience lies in its greater variety and extent. History is universal experience, the experience not of another, but of many others under manifold conditions.