Jules Louis Lewal
Lewal, Jules Louis
Born Dec. 13, 1823, in Paris; died Jan. 22, 1908, in Senlis. French military theoretician; general. Participant in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71; war minister in 1885.
In his writings (Introduction to the Positive Part of Strategy, 1892; The Strategy of the March, 1893; The Strategy of the Battle, parts 1–2, 1895–96), Lewal criticized the so-called eternal principles in military theory and considered it possible to create a military science on the basis of experience, logic, calculation, and physical capabilities. Mistakenly feeling that with an increase in the size of the army, operations would be a matter of straight-line movement and frontal collision between masses of troops in a small area, Lewal attached crucial significance to the practical (”positive”) part of strategy, making the technique of carrying out the concept (organization of the march, deployment, and introduction of troops into the battle) paramount. Lewal’s strategic ideas are not presented clearly, but in essence he was writing not about strategy but about the operations of an army in a military theater. He felt that strategy did not depend on politics. Lewal’s ideas had a significant influence on the development of bourgeois military thought in the late 19th century.