بیسل لیدل هارت
سر بِیسِل هنری لیدل هارت (متولد ۱۸۹۵ در پاریس - درگذشتهٔ ۱۹۷۰ در مارلو، انگلستان) (به انگلیسی: Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart) مورخ نظامی، و استراتژیست جنگی بریتانیایی بود. لیدل هارت که در دو جنگ جهانی شرکت داشت از طرفداران جنگهای مکانیزه بود و نظریات وی تأثیر مهمی در تکامل جنگهای زرهی گذاشت.
لیدل هارت فرزند یک کشیش متدیست انگلیسی بود. وی با آغاز جنگ جهانی اول در سال ۱۹۱۴ تحصیل در دانشگاه کمبریج را رها کرده و به ارتش بریتانیا پیوست و دو سال بعد درجهٔ سروان را دریافت کرد. در سال ۱۹۲۰ «دستنامهٔ رسمی تمرینات پیادهنظام» ارتش بریتانیا را نوشت که شامل شیوههای جنگی ابداعی او میشد. لیدل هارت در این دوران از اولین طرفداران استفاده از نیروی هوایی و نبردهای مکانیزه تانک بهشمار میرفت. وی استراتژی را «هنر توزیع امکانات نظامی برای تحقق اهداف سیاسی» تعریف میکرد و «رویکرد غیرمستقیم» جنگی را ترجیح میداد که باعث جابجایی دشمن و کاهش توانایی مقاومت آن شود. لیدل هارت با توجه به تجربیاتی که در دوران جنگ به دست آورده بود بر اهمیت عنصر تحرک و غافلگیری تأکید داشت.
لیدل هارت در سال ۱۹۲۷ از خدمت نظامی بازنشسته شد و وقت خود را صرف نویسندگی و خبرنگاری کرد. وی بین سالهای ۱۹۲۵ تا ۱۹۳۵ خبرنگار نظامی دیلی تلگراف و از ۱۹۳۵ تا ۱۹۳۹ مشاور نظامی روزنامه تایمز بود؛ و بین سالهای ۳۸–۱۹۳۷ مشاور شخصی وزیر دفاع بریتانیا، لزلی هوری بلیشا، بود و بسیاری از اصلاحات پیشنهادی او در این انجام شد هرچند تلاشهای لیدل هارت برای مکانیزه کردن نیروی زمینی با نیروهای تانک و ضدهوایی با مخالفت اغلب افسران باتجربه روبرو شده بود.
نوشتههای لیدل هارت بیش از آنکه بر ارتش کشور خودش اثرگذار باشد مورد توجه دشمن آنها یعنی آلمان قرار گرفت. تئوری معروف به «گسترش سیلآسا» ی لیدل هارت و دکترین ژنرال فولر در مورد کاربرد تانکها از سوی رهبران نیروهای زرهی آلمان به کار گرفته شد و اساس دکترین جنگی حملهٔ برقآسا را تشکیل داد که ارتش آلمان با استفاده از آن در طول دو سال بخش اعظم قاره اروپا را به تصرف خود درآورد.
در طول جنگ جهانی دوم لیدل هارت برای روزنامه دیلی میل مطلب مینوشت. وی پس از جنگ نسبت به بازدارندگی هستهای مشکوک بود و بر حفظ نیروی نظامی متعارف تأکید داشت اما در عین حال مخالف یک «جنگ تمام عیار» در دوران هستهای بود. وی در سال ۱۹۶۶ لقب شوالیه را از ملکه الیزابت دوم دریافت کرد.
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 a British 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.
Life and career
Born in Paris, the son of an English Methodist minister, Liddell Hart received his formal academic education at St Paul's School in London and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (where he was a student of Geoffrey Butler). His mother's side of the family, the Liddells, came from Liddesdale, on the Scottish side of the border with England, and were associated with the London and South Western Railway. The Harts were farmers from Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. As a child Hart was fascinated by aviation.
World War I
On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Liddell Hart volunteered for the British Army, where he became an officer in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and served with the regiment on the Western Front. Liddell Hart's front line experience was relatively brief, confined to two short spells in the autumn and winter of 1915, being sent home from the front after suffering concussive injuries from a shell burst. He was promoted to the rank of captain. He returned to the front for a third time in 1916, in time to participate in the Battle of the Somme. He was hit three times without serious injury before being badly gassed and sent out of the line on 19 July 1916. His battalion was nearly wiped out on the first day of the offensive on 1 July, a part of the 60,000 casualties suffered in the heaviest single day's loss in British history. The experiences he suffered on the Western Front profoundly affected him for the rest of his life. Transferred to be Adjutant to Volunteer units in Stroud and Cambridge, he was in charge of training new units. During this time he wrote several booklets on infantry drill and training, which came to the attention of General Sir Ivor Maxse, commander of the 18th (Eastern) Division. After the war he transferred to the Royal Army Educational Corps, where he prepared a new edition of the Infantry Training Manual. In this manual Liddell Hart strove to instil the lessons of 1918, and carried on a correspondence with Maxse, a commanding officer during the Battle of Hamel and the Battle of Amiens.
Journalist and military historian
Liddell Hart was placed on half-pay from 1924. He later retired from the Army in 1927. Two mild heart attacks in 1921 and 1922, probably the long-term effects of his gassing, precluded his further advancement in the downsized post-war army. He spent the rest of his career as a theorist and writer. In 1924 he became a lawn tennis correspondent and assistant military correspondent for the Morning Post covering Wimbledon and in 1926 publishing a collection of his tennis writings as The Lawn Tennis Masters Unveiled. He worked as the Military Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph from 1925 to 1935, and of The Times from 1935 to 1939.
In the mid to late twenties Liddell Hart wrote a series of histories of major military figures, through which he advanced his ideas that the frontal assault was a strategy that was bound to fail at great cost in lives. He argued that the tremendous losses Britain suffered in the Great War were due to her commanding officers not appreciating this fact of history. He believed the British decision in 1914 to directly intervene on the Continent with a great army was a mistake. He claimed that historically "the British way in warfare" was to leave Continental land battles to her allies, intervening only through naval power, with the army fighting the enemy away from its principal front in a "limited liability".
In his early writings on mechanised warfare Liddell Hart had proposed that infantry be carried along with the fast-moving armoured formations. He described them as "tank marines" like the soldiers the Royal Navy carried with their ships. He proposed they be carried along in their own tracked vehicles and dismount to help take better-defended positions that otherwise would hold up the armoured units. This contrasted with Fuller's ideas of a tank army, which put heavy emphasis on massed armoured formations. Liddell Hart foresaw the need for a combined arms force with mobile infantry and artillery, which was similar but not identical to the make-up of the panzer divisions that Guderian developed in Germany.
According to Liddell Hart's memoirs, in a series of articles for The Times from November 1935 to November 1936, he had argued that Britain's role in the next European war could be entrusted to the air force. He further theorised that Britain could pursue to defeat her enemies while avoiding the high casualties and limited influence that Britain could impart by placing a large conscript army on the Continent.[better source needed] These ideas influenced Chamberlain, then Chancellor, who argued in discussions of the Defence Policy and Requirements Committee for a strong air force rather than a large army that would fight on continental Europe.
As Prime Minister in 1937, Chamberlain placed Liddell Hart in a position of influence behind British grand strategy of the late thirties. In May he prepared schemes for the reorganisation of the British Army for defence of the British Empire and delivered them to Sir Thomas Inskip, the Minister for the Co-Ordination of Defence. In June he gained an introduction to the Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha. Through July 1938 the two had an unofficial, close advisory relationship. Liddell Hart provided Hore-Belisha with ideas that he would argue for in Cabinet or committees. On 20 October 1937, Chamberlain wrote to Hore-Belisha: "I have been reading in Europe in Arms by Liddell Hart. If you have not already done so you might find it interesting to glance at this, especially the chapter on the “Role of the British Army”". Hore-Belisha wrote in reply: "I immediately read the “Role of the British Army” in Liddell Hart's book. I am impressed by his general theories".
With the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 the War Cabinet reversed the Chamberlain policy advanced by Liddell Hart. With Europe on the brink of war and Germany threatening an invasion of Poland, the cabinet chose instead to advocate a British and Imperial army of 55 divisions, for intervention on the Continent to come to the aid of Poland, Norway and France.
After the war, Liddell Hart was responsible for extensive interviews and debriefs for several high-ranking German generals, who were held by the Allies as prisoners-of-war. Liddell Hart provided commentary on their outlook. The work was published as The Other Side of the Hill (UK Edition, 1948) and The German Generals Talk (condensed US Edition, 1948).
A few years later Liddell Hart had the opportunity to review the notes that Erwin Rommel had kept during the war. Rommel had kept these notes with the intention of writing of his experiences after the war; the Rommel family had previously published these notes in German as War without Hate in 1950. Some of the notes had been destroyed by Rommel and the rest (including Rommel's letters to his wife) had been confiscated by the American authorities. With Liddell Hart's help, these were later returned to Rommel's widow. Liddell Hart then edited and condensed the book and helped integrate the new material. The writings, along with notes and commentary by former general Fritz Bayerlein and Liddell Hart were published in 1953 as The Rommel Papers. (See below for Liddell Hart's role in the Rommel myth.)
The Queen made Liddell Hart a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours of 1966. As of 2009, Liddell Hart's personal papers and library form the central collection in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's College London.
Influence on Panzerwaffe
Following the Second World War Liddell Hart pointed out that the German Wehrmacht adopted theories developed from those of J.F.C. Fuller and from his own, and that it used them against the United Kingdom and its allies (1939–1945) with the practice of what became known as Blitzkrieg warfare. Some scholars, such as the political scientist John Mearsheimer, have questioned the extent of the influence which the British officers, and in particular Liddell Hart, had in the development of the method of war practised by the Panzerwaffe in 1939–1941. During the post-war debriefs of the former Wehrmacht generals, Liddell Hart attempted to tease out his influence on their war practices. Following these interviews, many of the generals claimed that Liddell Hart had been an influence on their strategies, something that had not been claimed previously nor has any contemporary, pre-war, documentation been found to support their claims. Liddell Hart thus put "words in the mouths' of German Generals" with the aim, according to Mearsheimer, to "resurrect a lost reputation".
Shimon Naveh, the founder and former head of the Israel Defense Forces' Operational Theory Research Institute, stated that after World War II Liddell Hart "created" the idea of Blitzkrieg as a military doctrine: "It was the opposite of a doctrine. Blitzkrieg consisted of an avalanche of actions that were sorted out less by design and more by success." Naveh stated that,
Naveh stated that in his letters to German generals Erich von Manstein and Guderian, as well as to relatives and associates of Rommel, Liddell Hart "imposed his own fabricated version of Blitzkrieg on the latter and compelled him to proclaim it as original formula".
Naveh pointed out that the edition of Guderian's memoirs published in Germany differed from the one published in the United Kingdom. Guderian neglected to mention the influence of the English theorists such as Fuller and Liddell Hart in the German-language versions. One example of the influence of these men on Guderian was the report on the Battle of Cambrai published by Fuller in 1920, who at the time served as a staff officer at the Royal Tank Corps. Liddell Hart alleged that his findings and theories on armoured warfare were read and later taken in by Guderian, which thus helped to formulate the basis of operations that would become known as Blitzkrieg warfare. These tactics involved deep penetration of the armoured formations supported behind enemy lines by bomb-carrying aircraft. Dive bombers were the principal agents of delivery of high explosives in support of the forward units.
Though the German version of the Guderian memoirs mentions Liddell Hart, it did not ascribe to him his role in developing the theories behind armoured warfare. An explanation for the difference between the two translations can be found in the correspondence between the two men. In one letter to Guderian, Liddell Hart reminded the German general that he should provide him the credit he was due, offering "You might care to insert a remark that I emphasise the use of armoured forces for long-range operations against the opposing Army's communications, and also the proposed type of armoured division combining Panzer and Panzer-infantry units – and that these points particularly impressed you."
Role in Rommel myth
Liddell Hart was instrumental in the creation of the "Rommel myth", a view that the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was an apolitical, brilliant commander and a victim of the Third Reich due to his (now disputed) participation in the 20 July plot against Adolf Hitler. The myth was created with Rommel's participation as a component of Nazi propaganda to praise the Wehrmacht and instil optimism in the German public. Starting in 1941, it was picked up and disseminated in the West by the British press as they sought to explain its continued inability to defeat the Axis forces in North Africa. Following the war, the Western Allies, and particularly the British, depicted Rommel as the "good German" and "our friend Rommel". His reputation for conducting a clean war was used in the interest of the West German rearmament and reconciliation between the former enemies – Britain and the United States on one side and the new Federal Republic on the other.
After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, it became clear to the Americans and the British that a German army would have to be revived to help face off against the Soviet Union. Many former German officers were convinced, however, that no future German army would be possible without the rehabilitation of the Wehrmacht. Thus, in the atmosphere of the Cold War, Rommel's former enemies, especially the British, played a key role in the manufacture and propagation of the myth.
The German rearmament was highly dependent on the image boosting that the Wehrmacht needed. Liddell Hart, an early proponent of these two interconnected initiatives, provided the first widely available source on Rommel in his 1948 book on Hitler's generals. He devoted a chapter to Rommel, portraying him as an outsider to the Nazi regime. Additions to the chapter published in 1951 concluded with laudatory comments about Rommel's "gifts and performance" that "qualified him for a place in the role of the 'Great Captains' of history".
1953 saw the publication of Rommel's writings of the war period as The Rommel Papers, edited by Liddell Hart, the former Wehrmacht officer Fritz Bayerlein, and Rommel's widow and son, with an introduction by Liddell Hart. The historian Mark Connelly argues that The Rommel Papers was one of the two foundational works that lead to a "Rommel renaissance", the other being Desmond Young's biography Rommel: The Desert Fox.[n 1] The book contributed to the perception of Rommel as a brilliant commander; in an introduction, Liddell Hart drew comparisons between Rommel and Lawrence of Arabia, "two masters of desert warfare", according to Liddell Hart.
Liddell Hart had a personal interest in the work: he had coaxed Rommel's widow into adding material alluding to the fact that Liddell Hart's theories on mechanised warfare had influenced Rommel. Thus, Rommel emerged as his "pupil", giving Liddell Hart credit for Rommel's dramatic successes in 1940. (The controversy was described by the political scientist John Mearsheimer in his work The Weight of History. A review of Mearsheimer's work, published by the Strategic Studies Institute, points out that Mearsheimer "correctly takes 'The Captain' [Liddell Hart] to task for [...] manipulating history".)
According to the historian Mark Connelly, Young and Liddell Hart laid the foundation for the Anglo-American myth, which consisted of three themes: Rommel's ambivalence towards Nazism; his military genius; and the emphasis of the chivalrous nature of the fighting in North Africa. Their works lent support to the image of the "clean Wehrmacht" and were generally not questioned, since they came from British authors, rather than German revisionists.[n 2]
On 4 September 2006, MI5 files were released which showed that in early 1944 MI5 had suspicions that plans for the D-Day invasion had been leaked. Liddell Hart had prepared a treatise titled Some Reflections on the Problems of Invading the Continent which he circulated amongst political and military figures. It is possible that in his treatise Liddell Hart had correctly deduced a number of aspects of the upcoming Allied invasion, including the location of the landings. MI5 suspected that Liddell Hart had received plans of the invasion from General Sir Alfred "Tim" Pile who was in command of Britain's anti-aircraft defences. MI5 placed him under surveillance, intercepting his telephone calls and letters. The investigation showed no suggestion that Liddell Hart was involved in any subversive activity. No case was ever brought against Pile. Liddell Hart stated his work was merely speculative. It would appear that Liddell Hart had simply perceived the same problems and arrived at similar conclusions as the Allied general staff.