Focusing on an age of rapid technological change and increased competition among nations, Imagining Future Wars compares visions of warfare's future as imagined by military professionals and educated civilians.
Rapid and momentous technological changes at the turn of the 20th century forced military professionals and educated civilians to envision the future of war and warfare, especially during an age where nations found themselves aggressively competing for dominance on the world stage. Antulio J. Echevarria II offers a comparative study of these predictions to assess who got it right and why. He concludes that professionals were particularly adept at predicting the warfare of the immediate future by framing their discussions in terms of solving tactical problems, but they were much less successful at thinking of the long-term. Unburdened by the necessity of strategic problem-solving, educated amateurs were allowed more flexibility to imagine the long-term future of warfare, and, at times, proved to be remarkably accurate.
Echevarria organizes his study by comparing visions of future wars on land, at sea, undersea, and in air. In each instance professionals and amateurs had their own distinctive imaginings. Among the notable speculators included in this book are science fiction author H.G. Wells and military theorist Ivan Bloch. This approach to the study of warfare is one of those rare examples of a book that can appeal to and inform a wide cross-section of readers.
Reviews "Provides an excellent historial overview of the visions of possible technological change which challenged both military and educated civilians to envision the potentials of future war."—Midwest Book Review
"Examining the writings of professional military thinkers such as Ivan Bloch together with works by relative military amateurs such as H.G. Wells, Echevarria compares how pre-World War I thinkers imagined the future of warfare. After painting portraits of general speculative thinking at the time and the actual status of warfare in broad strokes, he compares writings about land, sea, and air warfare, finding that the amateurs generally were better at predicting long-term trends in warfare but were not as good as the professional military thinkers in predicting short-term tactical developments."—Reference & Research Book News