Lawrence of Arabia on War: Ideas, Utilisation and Exploitation
This is a critical military appraisal of T.E. Lawrence’s ideas on war, examining his guerrilla campaign and his theories on strategy, juxtaposed against the operations conducted by the Ottoman Empire and those of the Allied army in Palestine. It sets out the strategic and political context of his thinking, contrasting these with Lawrence’s understanding of the nature of war, and how he conceived of strategic success beyond the tactical activities of insurgents. This work traces the evolution of Lawrence’s ideas about guerrilla warfare, from theoretical beginnings to hard-won experience. It concludes with a brief survey of how Lawrence has been used by his successors, not least by military personnel in countering insurgency and by those seeking to celebrate his achievements as a heroic champion of liberation.
Dr Rob Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War (CCW) Research Centre at the University of Oxford ( www.ccw.ox.ac.uk
) and Senior Research Fellow of Pembroke. His primary research interests are in the history of strategy and war, and their contemporary applications. Amongst his historical works, he has written True to Their Salt (Hurst and OUP, 2017) on partnering local forces; The Great War and the Middle East (OUP, 2016); and co- edited, with Dr James Kitchen, a new international study entitled The Great War in the Middle East (Routledge, 2018). Over the last twenty years, he has written on several other conflicts and internal security operations in Asia, Africa, and Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His current research is a new study of Anglo-American strategic decision-making in the two world wars. However, the subject of this seminar, appropriate to his return to All Souls, is the recently completed book on T.E. Lawrence’s ideas on war.