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How Do Political, Economic and Social Realities of a Society Shape Its Perceptions and Ability to Make War?

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  • May 6, 2013
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Political Economic and Social Realities of 17th Century France Political, economic and social realities of a society can significantly shape its perceptions and ability to make war. At his death, King Louis XIV’s final words were, “I have loved war too much.” In this reflection, King Louis XIV no doubt considered his many conquests as the longest reigning monarch in France, but more importantly, his words gives rise to the systemic political and social changes that revolutionized warfare in seventeenth-century France. Generally, revolutions in military affairs (RMA) convey technological and organizational developments and advancements in military tactics. According to Rogers, “military revolutions comprise four elements: technological change, systems development, operational motivation, and organizational adaptation.” Technology alone does not in itself create a revolution in military affairs. While there were no new implementations of weapons and tactics (France continued using flintlock muskets, socket bayonets and siege warfare through the 1690s) the French empire was able to make significant changes in the size, administration and structure of its army, creating an organizational innovation. As indicated by Rogers, technological developments require organizational and doctrinal adaption before their tactical and strategic potential can be fully realized. Doctrine and organizational development and implementation drive the revolutionary process. During his reign, King Louis XIV significantly influenced the administration of military operations and tactics that increased France’s ability to make war, thus casting France as a dominant European Power. Political and social dynamics significantly shaped the purpose, style, and administration of armed conflict as illustrated by seventeenth-century France. Seventeenth-century France illustrates how the purpose of armed conflict shaped political and social dynamics during the seventeenth-century. During...