Military deterrence in history: a pilot cross-historical survey

State University of New York Press Albany Published In Pages: ??
By Naroll, Raoul, Bullough, Vern L. , Naroll, Frada


This book takes a cross-cultural, cross-historical approach to the study of military deterrence. Political, economic, and geographic correlates are considered, particularly military and diplomatic strategy. Several hypotheses are tested and some are supported.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
historical reports

Hypotheses (11)

"It was predicted, in accordance with the deterrence hypothesis, that wars would be less frequent during the periods when the 'Conspicuous State' while in a defensive stance, enjoyed the specific military advantages, than during other periods"(329)Partially supported
"The geographical factors we studied have had little if any relationship to war frequency among the Conspicuous States we studied . . . . War tended to be slightly less frequent when the Conspicuous States shared a common land boundary with their Conspicuous Rivals" (332)Partially supported
"None of the administrative . . . [factors] we examined proved to have any clear relationship with war frequency" (336)Partially supported
"Diplomatic policies of the sort here studied have had little if any effect on war frequency among the conflicts we studied. Announcements of intention--warnings by aggressor states--were, if anything, associated with longer or more frequent wars" (333)Partially supported
"We found trade to be more frequent in more peaceful decades than in less peaceful ones. So too we found the exchanges of culturally influential elites such as visiting teachers, students, missionaries, royal brides, entertainers, or hostages to be more frequent in the peaceful decades"Supported
There are some indications that military preparation promotes territorial gain. Defensive stance correlated negatively with territorial gain, while quality of armed forces correlated positively. However, territorial gain showed no relation to border fortifications, and none to strength, mobility or prestige of armed forces (337)Supported
Geographical factors do not promote territorial gain, considering strategy (the winning of entire wars) rather than tactics (the winning of a particular battle) (338)Partially supported
"We find no evidence that diplomacy . . . [furthers] the success of . . . states in gaining territory. . . . The only substantial relationship uncovered offers no comfort [to the hypothesis that diplomacy promotes territorial gain. We found that] the more territory a state is losing, the more active its diplomats" (point-biserial -.50, p = .01) (338, 339)Partially supported
"Territorial gain proved unrelated to one-sided benefits [subsidy, women or honors conferred by one state on its rival] or trade. However . . . there may be a relationship between cultural exchange and territorial gain" (339-340)Not Supported
"Our findings suggest that centralized states or those led by experienced rulers tend to do well in the game of power politics [i.e., gain territory], while hereditary monarchies tend to do less well, as do states divided by civil war" (340)Not Supported
An intercorrelation of the independent variables revealed the following "communication cluster". Civil war was correlated significantly with intense diplomacy; and capital city located near the frontier was correlated significantly with the following variables: absence of natural barriers, trade, and cultural exchange (341, 342)UNKNOWN

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:mas Amelia Piazza