One way to live : Orde Wingate and the adoption of ‘special forces’ tactics and strategies (1903-1944)

dc.contributor.advisorPedahzur, Ami
dc.contributor.committeeMemberLouis, William R
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBarany, Zoltan D
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBuss, David M
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPalaima, Thomas G
dc.contributor.committeeMemberWoodruff, Paul B
dc.creatorMeyer, John Michael
dc.creator.orcid0000-0002-7931-7734
dc.date.accessioned2021-05-12T01:12:57Z
dc.date.available2021-05-12T01:12:57Z
dc.date.created2020-05
dc.date.issued2020-10-15
dc.date.submittedMay 2020
dc.date.updated2021-05-12T01:12:57Z
dc.description.abstractWinston Churchill declared Major-General Orde Wingate ‘a man of genius’ for developing what he considered low-cost, high-risk, and high-leverage operations in three theaters of the Second World War. One Way to Live: Orde Wingate and the adoption of 'special forces' tactics and strategies (1903-1944) tries to answer two questions: Why did Wingate and his superiors adopt 'special forces' strategies and tactics, and why did individuals choose to join his 'special forces' units? I use biography and comparative biography to help answer these two questions. I provide a narrative of Wingate's life, but I also construct biographical sketches of some of his peers, rivals, superiors, and followers during his campaigns in Sudan, Mandatory Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma. I ultimately find that while Wingate's unusual upbringing contributed to his propensity for creating new military units, it was ultimately his aggressive competition with other British officers for scarce honor and prestige that spurred him to create the units he branded 'special forces.' His leaders, on the other hand, adopted Wingate's special forces strategies out of desperation, and only when they lacked the resources to win 'traditional' campaigns. Wingate's followers did not always volunteer to join his units (compulsion occurred in several instances), but many officers joined his ranks with the intention of obtaining a role in violent combat; like Wingate, they sought the prestige and role-fulfillment that some soldiers seek through war. Despite the inherent risks of special forces tactics, many soldiers paradoxically thought their odds of survival were higher with Wingate than in traditional military formations. In many instances, the competition between soldiers required more personal investment than any action against the ‘enemy.’ The extensive use of comparative biography encourages the examination of previously unused sources, including unpublished memoirs and oral histories. My writing, at times, examines stories that do not answer the central questions of the dissertation, but provide a rich understanding of the behavior of British soldiers in Palestine, Abyssinia, and elsewhere. As a social scientist, I attempt to understand the subject as a salient example of organized violence, and not just as a series of unique historical incidents.
dc.description.departmentGovernment
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/85634
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/12585
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectOrde Wingate
dc.subjectSpecial forces
dc.subjectSpecial operations
dc.subjectOrganized violence
dc.subjectCoalition
dc.subjectCoalitional violence
dc.subjectHierarchy
dc.subjectBiography
dc.subjectLife history
dc.subjectSecond World War
dc.subjectWorld War 2
dc.subjectWorld War II
dc.subjectBurma
dc.subjectAbyssinia
dc.subjectEthiopia
dc.subjectPalestine
dc.subjectIsrael
dc.subjectSudan
dc.subjectSpecial Night Squads
dc.subjectOperation Thursday
dc.subjectOperation Longcloth
dc.subjectGideon Force
dc.subjectMission 101
dc.subjectInstrumental use of violence
dc.subjectEvolutionary psychology
dc.subjectProspect theory
dc.subjectCognitive dissonance
dc.subjectHierarchy
dc.subjectBritish culture
dc.subjectBritish Empire
dc.subjectStatus
dc.subjectHuman behavior
dc.subjectHuman violence
dc.subjectSoldiers
dc.subjectMilitary
dc.subjectSociety
dc.subjectIrregular warfare
dc.subjectUnorthodox
dc.subjectFundamentalism
dc.subjectSex
dc.subjectMating
dc.subjectArchibald Wavell
dc.subjectWinston Churchill
dc.subjectGeorge C. Marshall
dc.subjectStilwell
dc.subjectWilliam Slim
dc.subjectMyanmar
dc.titleOne way to live : Orde Wingate and the adoption of ‘special forces’ tactics and strategies (1903-1944)
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.materialtext
thesis.degree.departmentGovernment
thesis.degree.disciplineGovernment
thesis.degree.grantorThe University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy

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