Victory disease

Victory disease

Victory disease afflicts military commanders and armies who, after victories, become weak and susceptible to defeat [] .


The signs are:
* arrogance,
* overconfidence,
* ,
* use of previously victorious patterns of fighting, "and" not developing new tactics to anticipate enemy advances,
* stereotypes of enemies, underestimating enemies,
* ignorance of contrary intelligence or refusal to recognize it.While the winning side grows complacent, arrogant, feeling , the enemy adapts. Military disaster ensues.

While "victory disease" does not automatically foretell failure, it is a strong indicator. The term applies outside the military world (see references).


The origin of the term ("(戦勝病 senshoubyou)" in Japanese, [] ) is associated with the Japanese advance in the Pacific Theater of World War II, where, after attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941, they won a series of nearly uninterrupted victories against the Allies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific [] , [,M1] .

Although they had planned to establish a perimeter and go on the defensive, victories encouraged them to continue expanding to where it strained logistics and navy. This led to 1942's Battle of Midway, a catastrophic defeat to the Japanese navy — all four of their aircraft carriers involved were sunk. The decision of Japan to start a war against the United States is viewed as victory disease.


* The Battle of Salamis in 480 BC in the Greco-Persian Wars, in which the hubris of Xerxes I led to the defeat of the Persian Empire by the Greeks.

* Spanish naval assault on England in 1588 suffered the defeat of the "unsinkable" Spanish Armada

* The decision of Napoleon to invade Russia in 1812. A force of about 500,000 French soldiers invaded, and about 20,000 returned.

* United States victories in the Mexican–American War and the Indian Wars made Union forces over-confident going into the American Civil War, losing their first battle — they expected a quick victory. The Confederates similarly stereotyped the Union, at times leading to military disaster.

* Confederate decisions made at and before their loss at the Battle of Gettysburg, after their outnumbered-five-to-two victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville during the Civil War.

* The 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which the Sioux nearly annihilated the entire 7th Cavalry of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Expecting a repeat of the Battle of Washita River, Custer ignored contrary intelligence or did not seek it out.

* The catastrophic decision of Hitler to invade the Soviet Union in 1941, underestimating Soviet military resilience, counting on success of old tactics.

* Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This followed wins in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War.

ee also

* Groupthink
* Hubris
* Communal reinforcement
* Confirmation bias
* Narcissism

External links

* [ U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection on victory disease]
* [ Long article from the US military with much on Little Bighorn & Task Force Ranger]
* [ On Napoleon's disaster]
* [ Origin of the term]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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