Civil War Total War?

Topics: American Civil War, William Tecumseh Sherman, Confederate States of America Pages: 2 (659 words) Published: February 11, 2008
The definition of total war is when one side mobilizes all available resources in order to destroy another side¡¯s ability to engage in war. The Civil War was a total war because both Union and Confederate Generals like William Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and Robert E. Lee used total war tactics against each other when the other side hinted weakness. They used these tactics to try and put an end to the war. The Civil War was a total war because both sides used tactics that were defined by the Powell Doctrine as total war. These tactics was to unite the hearts and minds of the people, go in with overwhelming force, and have a clear, exit strategy. Nationalism was a big factor for the South during the Civil War because they were completely undermanned and out supplied compared to the North. The Confederate generals had to rally their people with speeches of freedom and independence. The South was able to go into war with such undersized numbers because they believed the serious issue was worth fighting for. They were merely fighting to a standstill because they knew they had very little chance of winning. The Union was able to unite their hearts and minds through the book Uncle Tom¡¯s Cabin written by Harriet Beecher Stowe; the book really opened the eyes of many northerners to how cruel and unjust slavery actually is. Karl von Clausewitz said ¡°Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.¡± Both the north and the south had differing goals and history shows that they did everything they could to obtain their goals. The next tactic that defines a total war is to go in with overwhelming force. This strategy was used many times in the Civil war when one side felt they had an opportunity to end the war. Robert E. Lee used this total war tactic on the last day of the infamous Battle of Gettysburg. He felt like he had a chance to end the war if he could overpower the North head on with devastating force. This tactic, famously known as Pickett¡¯s charge,...
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