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"Forgotten materiala" Eugene Messner as a precedent updating military thought of the Russian Diaspora in discussions about the wars of the new generation
Material posted: Publication date: 14-11-2014

Reform of the Armed forces of the Russian Federation is in full swing. The troops received modern equipment, conducted large-scale exercises of the army and whole units of the military districts, revived the system of training, interested in new phenomena and concepts of warfare. In the information space is increasingly common notion, which several years ago was the subject of discussion of a narrow circle of military specialists and professionals dealing with military-political issues. Today at all on hearing such concepts as "network centric war", "military activities in cyberspace", "information warfare", "psychological operations," etc.

In recent months, in the lexicon of TV and radio journalists entered the term "hybrid war", which is a calque of the English "hybrid warfare".

In the construction of the Russian army military creatively comprehended and processed the advanced experience of foreign armies (especially armies of the West). The study, extrapolation and borrowed the introduction of advanced technologies and concepts can only be welcomed. However, in the pursuit of all the most relevant and contemporary domestic specialists often do not pay the deserved attention to the presence of a large reservoir of national military thought. A similar pattern is observed, including in discussions about the wars of the new generation. And if the legacy of the Soviet era, for objective reasons, is still used and studied, the original views of representatives of the military thought of the Russian Diaspora is almost completely ignored and have no prospects for approbation. A vivid example of the undeservedly forgotten concept is the theory of materialy Eugene E. Messner (1891 – 1974) and the figure itself is an outstanding military theorist.

Evgeny Messner is a prominent representative of Russian abroad, officer, war thinker and Professor of military science, which is a big part of his life spent outside the country. Being in exile and being a staunch and consistent anti-Communist, Messner, continued to work for the benefit of Russia. The main legacy of Eugene Messner, of course, are his military-scientific works, a list of which is extensive. It should be noted that in Russia today published only a few works Messner, many of them with significant job cuts. However, the most well-known stratum of his works are the works devoted to war, the scientist started to describe in the late 50-ies and continued until 1974. Evgeny Messner introduced in scientific and military theory use the term "materially", which he used in many of his writings, but most fully he reveals it in such works as "the Mutiny – the name of the third world", "world medievala", "space Typhoon", the "Face of modern war", etc.

Messner became one of the first scientists, who not only drew attention to the steadily changing characteristics of warfare since the First world war, but also comprehensively approached the study of this issue. He linked the processes taking place on the battlefield, with fundamental changes in human society, social order, revolutions occurred in the twentieth century. Materially, according to Messner, is "war troops and people's movements," "psychological warfare". "Materially there is a nationwide movement, movement, which is fighting the entire nation, is struggling physically and mainly mentally: psychological warfare requires the application of the art of psychological Boevaya" . She, according to the author, radically different from all previous, "classical" wars. The scientist is surprising just managed to describe the main features of the new type of wars that are unfolding before our eyes. Let us discuss some of them.

In discussions about the wars of the sixth (in the American tradition – the fourth) generation there are both supporters and opponents of the statement that modern war is fundamentally different from all previous wars. However, even opponents of this position acknowledge that the diversity of the participants in contemporary conflicts and wars has drastically increased compared to previous historical periods. This trend was noticed and described by Eugene Messner. According to Messner, to list all players participating in materialy – impossible. This list includes not only States, with their armies, military unit, militia and other structures, but also non-state actors such as terrorists or insurgent groups. Participants materialy by virtue of its globality and lack of geographical reference, in essence, are all the people, all the people: "Totally, from small to large, regardless of gender, people involved in all-out war". If earlier "the army broke the enemy army <...>, in a future war, the army and the people will break the enemy army and the people: the people will be an active participant in the war, and maybe even more active than the host".
Messner believes the growing role of irregular forces as an objective fact for a number of reasons, chief of which is the psychological component: the modern man has forgotten how to obey, he "is not so strict in command and not as pliable in obedience". That is why irregular materialy participants will be divided into those who act in the framework of the so-called "polovinsky discipline" (partisans, saboteurs, terrorists), on the one hand, and those who will combine "soft civil discipline" (saboteurs and wreckers).

The role of volunteers, which, however, are, according to Messner "polovinki" groups. This is not a complete list of what writes Messner. Perhaps the Russian scientist could not only predict the emergence of private military companies (although, presumably, it was not the purpose of his works), the most important players in modern warfare.

Undergo a fundamental change, according to Messner objective of the war. In materiale to the fore the aims of the psychological, rather than military or economic nature. While Messner notes a variety of purposes and, as a consequence, the difficulty of the choice. He writes: "you Can set a hierarchy of goals: 1) the collapse of morality, an enemy of the people, 2) the defeat of its active parts (host, Partizanska fighting popular movements), 3) the capture or destruction of the objects of psychological values, 4) seizure or destruction of objects of material value, 5) the effects of external order for the sake of acquiring new allies, turmoil of spirit allies of the enemy. Along the way, we should strive: a) to conserve the morals of its people, b) to conserve their active fighting forces) for defense or psychologically vital objects and d) to avoid all that will give an unfavorable response in the States is neutral, but interesting for us. In all cases, to mean the reaction not only at leadership levels but also at the grassroots, full-fledged participants in the war or insurrection".

The format of this work does not imply more detailed illumination of this question, however it is important to note Messner used the word "effects", which so actively used in our days, the U.S. military and is recorded in official documents (see Effects-based operations). Much of what he wrote Russian philosopher, reflected in the concepts of NATO countries, primarily the United States. Overall, Messner writes that all actions and plans of governments who wish to succeed in materiale must be consistent "with psihasteniceskie plans and actions and in determining psihoticeski the plans of the enemy and ways of countering them".

The difference between materialy from war classic in the fact that earlier, according to Messner, the state could only be two positions: peace or war. The third was not given. Nowadays, however, everything is different: there was a "disclaimer of Express war, abolished a definite, obvious line between peace and war international relations." Scientist proposes to operate the following concepts that characterize the form of relations between Nations: "war, polovina, arassociati and diplomacy" . These features, described by Messner, are being actively discussed by modern specialists and are reflected in such terms as "proxy war" (eng. – proxy war) or "hybrid war" (eng. – hybrid war), already mentioned above.
Borders are erased not only in the forms of inter-state relations. According to Yevgeny Messner, during materialny we cannot talk about a specific theater of operations.

In materiale there is no clear separation to the front where he fought the army and the rear, where the front for the benefit of the working people. "Now we have to reckon with the fact that there is no more division into the theater of war and on fighting the country: a collection of territories opponents this theater of war." Major foreign and domestic scientists agree with this statement and develop it when I write about the peculiarities of warfare of a new generation. For example, Vladimir Slipchenko noted that if previously, in order to win, you had to occupy enemy territory by using land forces, but today the blows of precision weapons capable to destroy the industrial and economic potential of the enemy, to break the political will and the will of the population to resist. The blurring of boundaries and the absence of a clearly defined theater of war pushes modern States to the conclusion that there is no need to rely on the destruction of enemy manpower: enough to achieve a violation of supply and the level of combat readiness of the armed forces of the enemy, destroying industrial and economic centers, and infrastructure.

However, in the approach of Messner and Slipchenko there is an important difference: if Slipchenko describes the coordinate system wars of the new generation as a three-dimensional, Messner allows himself to expand it, with an emphasis on the fourth dimension: "In a future war to fight are not on the line, and the entire surface areas of both opponents, because oruzhno behind the front will have the fronts of political, social, economic; the fight will be on a two-dimensional surface, as of old, not in three-dimensional space, as it was since the emergence of military aviation, and in four-dimensional, psyche warring Nations is the fourth dimension." Add to that the cyberspace, which, in the opinion of modern specialists, is another field of warfare, and the theatre of conducting materialy can really be described as comprehensive.

Evgeny Messner in his works in detail does not stop at the means and ways of doing materialy, implying that all the technological advances that somehow can be used for conducting covert and overt hostilities, will be delivered at her service. "Now there is no difference between legal and illegal methods of war - all the ways legitimized if not the Convention, then spur of the moment" . International law in its current form is not able, according to Messner, to make war more humane. To refrain from using those or other means of warfare, the parties will be only by mutual "silent agreement", as it were, for example, during the Second world war with chemical and biological weapons: "If of old for duelists invented machine guns, just aim at the heart of the enemy, it is not abolished the duel: fighting on swords. The USA and the USSR have "machine guns", nuclear weapons, well aimed at vulnerable points of the enemy. However, these "guns" will not abolish war, but make likely to go to war, threatening with hydrogen bombs, not using them. <...> Vigilantly watching the enemy behind the enemy, you fight in fusion tactics, and strategies "pethadine", that is, not splitting the hydrogen atoms, but the atoms of an enemy of the people, his spirit, his psyche. Not nuclear war, will be materially".

Talking about the benefits of the work of Messner for domestic and military professionals, it should be noted that they have something to learn from the work of Messner in the creation of distinctive and vibrant terminology. Unlike modern authors, who often simply transferred to Russian language American terms, Messner resorted to creating their own definitions in the best traditions of the Russian scientific school. What are they used such concepts as "cyanophyceae", "Talovaya", "polovina", "agressivley", "conquest", etc. of the Modern Russian military thought, unfortunately, can not boast of good examples of creating your own conceptual apparatus.

The above material is only a brief overview of the key aspects of the work of Eugene Messner materiale. The figure of the author and his works are a bright example of Russian military thought abroad. This experience could be reflected in the discourse of modern military science, especially when discussing wars of the new generation. So, already mentioned, the term "hybrid war" in the United States in official doctrinal documents to date is not fixed, but since the middle of 2000-ies is becoming more common . In our country it could easily be replaced with the term "materially" after certain corrections and adjustments.
The reform of the Russian army, no doubt, has to happen with the wide use of foreign experience. However, sustainable long-term development of the armed forces of Russia should be based on the national military tradition, and it includes the whole range of Russian military thought, as rightly noted in his works Alexander Savinkin and Igor Domnin . Here and representatives of Imperial Russia: Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Ivanovich [Stepan Osipovich Makarov. This and such prominent military thinkers as Andrey Evgenievich Snesarev or Alexander Andreyevich Svechin, who felt it his duty to promote Russian military science in the Soviet Russia, and the classics of Soviet military thought Mikhail Nikolaevich Tukhachevsky, Zhukov, Nikolai Ogarkov. The classics of military thought modern Russia has become Vladimir Ivanovich Slipchenko and Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev. However, this list would be incomplete without representatives of the military thought of the Russian Diaspora, which includes Anton Antonovich Karnowski, Alexander Gerua and Eugene E. Messner. Comprehensive development of the domestic concept of wars of a new generation of demands, including the unification of the Russian military thought in one big layer. This is an important but necessary task that lies ahead.


V. Neelov


Sources and literature

  1. Messner E. Materiala // Independent military review. 1999. On 5 November. <>
  2. The collection "if you Want peace, fight materialno" // the Russian military collection / Under the General editorship of V. I. Marchenkova. Compiled By I. V. Domnin. 2005 M. <>
  3. Report: Hybrid Warfare // U.S. Government Accountability Office. 2010. <>
  4. A. Savinkin, Domnin I. Military classic – our gold reserves // Military industrial courier. 2010. April 28. <>
  5. A. Savinkin, Domnin I. Not on the sand – on the rock // Military industrial courier. 2010. March 17. <>
  6. Slipchenko V. To what war should prepare the armed forces // Otechestvennye Zapiski. 2002. No. 8 <>
  7. Slipchenko V. To what war must be prepared Russia // Political <>

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