Introduction to Strategic Studies/Guerrilla

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Ernesto "Che" Guevarra

part of Strategic Studies

"In the process we lost sight of one of the cardinal maxims of guerrilla war: the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win."
Henry Kissinger, Diplomat.

Summary[edit | edit source]

An introduction to the nature, history, capacities and limitations of Guerilla warfare as a tool of state or non-state policy in proxy conflicts, civil wars, and conventional (inter-state) wars.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

"The enemy advances, we retreat. The enemy camps, we harass. The enemy tires, we attack. The enemy retreats, we pursue."
Mao Zedong, Chinese General and Head of State.

"Guerrilla" comes from the Spanish diminuitive of the word "war," thus implying a meaning of "war in miniature." It is a strategy of avoiding pitched battles and engaging the enemy in such a way that he is forced to commit an asymmetric force to counter guerrilla attacks. This course covers the basics of guerrilla and invites discussion about what constitutes guerrilla warfare, how and when it is effective, and its relationship to radical ideology.

Readings[edit | edit source]

Required Readings[edit | edit source]

Optional Readings[edit | edit source]

Please read one book from the following before the class lecture:

  • Lawrence, T.E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963 (originally published 1926). ISBN 0-9546418-0-9
  • Guevarra, Che. Guerrilla Wafare.
  • Marighella, Carlos. Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla.
  • ...

Please read two articles from the following list by different authors, minimum, before beginning this class lecture:

Lecture[edit | edit source]

"If the Tiger does not stop fighting the Elephant, the Elephant will die of exhaustion."
Ho Chi Minh, Leader of the Viet Cong.

Guerrilla has been used for a lot longer than we often give it credit. It was key to British victory in the war of 1812, it sapped Napoleon of strength during the Peninsular War (where the term was coined), and has been a tool of proxy conflicts for almost two centuries.

Project[edit | edit source]

The guerrilla project is a series of suggestions for learning activities in order to answer a few basic questions about the course and gain confidence with the material.
Guerrilla Project

Denouement[edit | edit source]

This will detail what has been learned and encourage you to add feedback to this page from your own experiences from the project.