Military Coalitions in War

Andrew Graham

in The Oxford Handbook of War

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199562930
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Military Coalitions in War


Coalitions are most potent and effective when they are formed to deal with shared adversity. When the situation is more opaque and the objectives more tenuous their ability to endure setbacks or hold together can be fragile, particularly once success is in sight or when a partner becomes increasingly parochial in terms of their perspective. Effective coalitions will almost certainly have a lead nation, with selection for command and high office based on the scale of effort offered in financial and military terms, political clout, and the relative level of risk that each contributing nation will tolerate. By contrast to alliances, coalitions are what might be termed ‘partnerships of unequals’ since comparative political, economic, and military might, or more particularly the extent to which a nation is prepared to commit and ‘put some skin in the game’, dictates who will lead, who is in the inner circle, and who will have influence.

Keywords: military coalitions; war strategy; alliances; military might; command; financial terms

Article.  6001 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »