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Thoughts on War$
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Phillip S. Meilinger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178899

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178899.001.0001

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Decisive Victories and What They Mean

Decisive Victories and What They Mean

(p.87) 6 Decisive Victories and What They Mean
Thoughts on War

Phillip S. Meilinger

University Press of Kentucky

The subject of decisive victory was another subject that caught my attention while at the Naval War College, where we would ask students to list Napoleon’s decisive victories. The term “decisive” is overused, and too often engagements with only transient strategic significance—despite the number of casualties—were given the term. The number of truly decisive battles throughout history is few. The first step therefore was to define decisive, and the key was to identify victories having long-term significance. After defining the term, listed are what in my view are the Top Eleven throughout history.

Keywords:   Decisive victory, turning points, Persian-Greek Wars, Alexander the Great, Battle of Tours, Constantinople, Crusades, Schlieffen Plan, Battle of the Marne, atomic bomb, Hiroshima, Battle of Britain

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