Hearts and Minds: A Strategy of Conciliation, Coercion, or Commitment?, Michael D, 9781288414581

Author: Michael D


The efficacy of the hearts-and-minds concept as initially propounded by British Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer in 1952 to address a communist guerrilla insurgency during the Malayan Emergency has subsequently assumed a storied-even jaded-reputation within Western military establishments not to mention the American psyche. Whether unfairly maligned, inappropriately modified, or simply misunderstood, hearts-and-minds remains at the forefront of today’s counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine largely resulting from General David Petraeus’s successful application of its Field Manual 3-24 documented precepts during the 2007 Iraq surge. The inherent dichotomy of population-centric COIN as exemplified through the hearts-and-minds maxim suggests strategies both of conciliation and of coercion resulting in significant scholarly debate as to intended emphasis. This monograph presents an investigation of the concept’s colonial antecedents, inception at the onset of the Cold War, subsequent U.S. interpretation during Vietnam, and modern application to post-9/11 conflict in order to elucidate its true nature-one which can only properly be understood as commitment. By understanding this evolution over time, an enhanced appreciation of its applicability to future conflict as well as its place within the irregular warfare canon may be more properly apprehended.

Additional information


Page Number