Total Victory Through Total War

  • Colonel Donn H. Hill

Total War is destruction, horror and loss at the greatest scale imaginable short of the Apocalypse. Historically, Total Wars have ended in a clearly defined victory for one side with a resolution of the issues that caused the war in the first place. Total Wars generally result in a lasting peace between the belligerents. Total War has not been practiced since the end of World War II. Aversion to Total War is attributed to the revulsion at the destruction, horror and loss that Total War entails, despite its decisiveness. The countless limited wars that have been waged since 1945 have brought about varied results, frequently with no real resolution to the conflict but merely a temporary halt in the fighting that is picked up at a later date. The destruction, horror and loss are significantly less in the short term, but drawn out for much longer with less well defined results. This paper argues that the means for waging Total War must be maintained in order to deter it and, if deterrence fails, to be able to win it.