Portuguese strategic thinking at the dawn of the twentieth century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Any historical study of strategy must necessarily challenge the nature of that field of knowledge by outlining its characteristics and by dissecting it to better highlight its features. Strategy has its own history, which derives from a socially and culturally developed construction. Strategy, as a field of knowledge constructed by the thinkers who engendered it and by the political and military agents who implemented it, is a recent phenomenon dating back to the eighteenth century. Furthermore, over the last two centuries, the disciplines contained in that field of knowledge have varied as the scope and framework of strategy expanded. What, then, must we analyse and dissect when attempting to study the strategic thinking of yesteryear? The strategic treatises of the time? War-related political thinking? Or geopolitics? And can strategic thinking occur in periods when the concept of strategy did not yet exist? And if it did occur in some form, in what terms was it framed? These are important issues for those who seek to conduct a historical study of strategy. The present text considers that, just as with the study of economy, strategic thinking and strategy in general can be studied even during times when the concept did not yet exist, because for both sciences reflection and practice are not an end in themselves, but a way to understand specific external realities: the problems with overcapacity and shortages, in the case of economy; violent and hostile conflict between organized groups and human communities, in the case of strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeminar Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationThe Portuguese Campaigns in Africa: from the imposition of sovereignty to the Great War
EditorsCarlos Filipe Afonso, Vítor Lourenço Borges
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherInstituto Universitário Militar (IUM)
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)978-989-99532-4-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event'The portuguese campaigns in Africa: from the imposition of sovereignty to the Great War - Institute of Higher Military Studies, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 25 Jun 201526 Jun 2015

Publication series

NameColeção ARES


Conference'The portuguese campaigns in Africa: from the imposition of sovereignty to the Great War


  • Política
  • Estratégia
  • I Guerra Mundial


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