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Divided ArmiesInequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War$
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Jason Lyall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192444

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192444.001.0001

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Divided Armies

Divided Armies

A Theory of Battlefield Performance in Modern War

(p.39) 2 Divided Armies
Divided Armies

Jason Lyall

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues for a causal connection between (rising) military inequality and (declining) battlefield performance. It does so by first exploring the nature and severity of ethnic inequalities within political communities before detailing how exposure to state policies can affect soldier beliefs and actions. Next, the chapter considers how military commanders, aware of possible issues arising from inequality, adopt a mixture of four strategies to manage soldiers from suspect populations. The chapter then examines how these strategies induce trade-offs between combat power and cohesion that actually undermine battlefield performance. Finally, the chapter considers how enemy actions can intensify these internal contradictions and trade-offs before concluding with a discussion of how several of the arguments' core assumptions can be relaxed.

Keywords:   modern warfare, military inequality, battlefield performance, ethnic inequalities, state policies, enemy actions, internal contradictions, military commanders

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