Antoine-Henri Jomini

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jomini, Antoine-Henri


(Gendrikh Veniaminovich Zhomini). Born Mar. 6, 1779, in Payerne, Switzerland; died Mar. 24, 1869, in Paris. Baron (1807). Military theorist and historian. General of the infantry in the Russian Army (1826).

Jomini joined the Swiss Army in 1798 and the French Army in 1804, becoming chief of staff of Marshal M. Ney’s Corps from 1805 to 1809 and again in 1813. Violent clashes with Marshal L. Berthier, chief of staff of Napoleon’s army, forced Jomini to accept Russian service in August 1813. He was on the staff and in the suite of Emperor Alexander I.

In his works Jomini generalized from the experience of the wars of the late 18th and early 19th century. Victory over the enemy, he believed, should be won not through maneuver without engagement but through a decisive engagement. He stressed offense over defense and argued that the main forces should be concentrated on the decisive line of operation. Jomini attached great importance to seizing the initiative and to morale and emphasized the exceptionally great role of the military leader.

At the same time Jomini believed that the art of warfare is governed by “eternal and immutable principles” and considered Napoleon’s art of military leadership a permanent model of the art of warfare. He also underestimated the influence of politics on war. Jomini made a great contribution to the research methodology of military history, mainly by applying the comparative method. His works had a great influence on military theoretical thought and the principles of conducting wars through the early 20th century.


Histoire critique et militaire des guerres de la Révolution, vols. 1–15. Paris, 1820–24.
In Russian translation:
Rassuzhdeniia o velikikh voennykh deistyiiakh Hi kriticheskoe i sravnitel’noe opisanie pokhodov Fridrikha i Napoleona, vols. 1–8. St. Petersburg, 1809–17.
Politicheskaia i voennaia zhizn’ Napoleona, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1844.
Ocherki voennogo iskusstva, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1939.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Svechin (1878-1938) and Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893-1937) believed the material conditions of the industrial age called for a departure with the Jominian conceptualization of ground maneuver prevalent since Napoleon.
Undercontrolling air and space power fails to capitalize on joint force integration and orchestration, thus reducing its effectiveness." (43) As the adage goes, "It depends," and there is no black or white answer or Jominian formula for when and to what extent to decentralize the level of execution.
Organizational culture theory expects both military and diplomatic failure (given the extant organizational culture characterized by a military-dominant conception of war and a Jominian norm of civil-military relations), whereas democratic civil-military relations theory forecasts military success but diplomatic failure (given divergent military and diplomatic strategic preferences).
It could help fit them for battle against those who argue the existence of Jominian "optimal military postures" based on this theory's tenets.
The Jominian approach to the past described above is at odds with the fundamental convictions of academically trained historians who, as part of a professionalization impetus in the last decades, have entered the service of Western military organizations to teach and research military history and strategy.
Insurgents usually do not seek a Jominian decisive battle to annihilate their enemy.
He departs slightly from the typical Jominian angle in favor of a more Clausewitzian view.
(11) In the military sphere, this perspective manifested itself through what might be called the Jominian school of strategy, which values rules of war and prescriptive approaches to conflict.
After all, who can really argue with the merits of Jominian unity of command, or unity of effort, or whatever?
Similarly, Gray is quite sympathetic to John Boyd and John Warden for their contributions to reinvigorating strategic thought about airpower while also pointing out the considerable shortcomings in their theories, including the inappropriate application of Boyd's OODA loop to the strategic level of war and the overly Jominian, rigidly mechanistic aspects of Warden's targeting concepts.
In that sense, Douhet's approach has been described as Jominian. (4) But as one student of Douhet has noted, although his rationalism paralleled that of Jomini, it went much further.
Unfortunately, although the Army's 1986 version of FM 100-5 placed great emphasis on the center of gravity, identifying it as the "key to all operational design," it also caused a great deal of confusion by equating CoGs to key geographic features, boundaries between army groups, and lines of communication--in other words, to "decisive points" in the Jominian sense; James Schneider and Lawrence Izzo, "Clausewitz's Elusive Center of Gravity," Parameters, September 1987, pp.