Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective

Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective



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Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective by Ephraim Kam

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The striking thing about surprise attack is how frequently it succeeds--even in our own day, when improvements in communications and intelligence gathering should make it extremly difficult to sneak up on anyone. Ephraim Kam observes surprise attack through the eyes of its victim in order to understand the causes of the victim's failure to to anticipate the coming war.

Kam analyzes eleven major surprise attacks that have been launched since the outbreak of World War II (by no means the only ones that occured), starting with the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in 1940 and ending with the Eyptian-Syrian attack on Isreal in 1973, in a systematic comparative effort to find the elements that successful sorties have in common. He tackles the problem on four levels: the individual analyst, the small group, the large organization, and the decision makers.

Emphasizing the psychological aspects of warfare, Kam traces the behavior of the victim at various functional levels and from several points of view in order to examine the difficulties, mistakes, and idées fixes that permit a nation to be taken by surprise. He argues that anticipation and prediction of a coming war are more complicated than any other issue of strategic estimation, involving such interdependent factors as analytical contradictions, judgmental biases, organizational obstacles, and political as well as military constraints.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674857452
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 11/15/1988
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Kam Ephraim :

Ephraim Kam is Deputy Head, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.Schelling Thomas C. :

Thomas C. Schelling is Distinguished University Professor, Department of Economics and School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland and Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, Harvard University. He is co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.

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