Origin of Hearts and Minds Approach

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Mess_Romantic, May 11, 2006.

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  1. Could anyone please confirm the origin of the 'Hearts and Minds' approach?

    To the best of my knowledge and research, it started with General Templer, the High Commissioner of Malaya (1951-54) who stated that “the answer lies not in pouring more troops into the jungle, but in the hearts and minds of the Malayan people".

    If anyone knows otherwise, then please put your view forward but please, no links to the White House homepage :lol:

    M_R
     
  2. I always thought it was a concept invented by THEM.

    Ah well.
     
  3. I think the American revolutionary, John Adams, first said something about how the war for independence would be won in the hearts and minds of the American people.

    More recently the phrase was as you say used by Gen Templar about the successful Malayan campaign. His civil secretary Sir Robert Thompson was an ex-Chindit who later advised in S Vietnam, and was the author of "Defeating Communist Insurgency".
     
  4. I'm not sure exactly. I know the phrase first started being used by the American Military after the General who founded US Army Special Forces (I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten his name) developed the "Hearts and Minds" doctrine. It was effective, except that it was strained by the infamous "Search-and-Destroy" doctrine developed by his colleagues during the Vietnam war. The result was that they DID when the hearts and minds of certain vietnamese regions, while the "search-and-destroy" had their hearts and minds set on killing American GIs. This can be seen in the film Platoon, with both the team leaders having the opposite doctrine.
     
  5. CJ, you might be thinking of the great Col Aaron Bank. The phrase didnt actually originate with him, though.
     
  6. No, I'm pretty sure the guy I'm thinking of is a general. I even have a US Special Forces book from Osprey, but my friend is borrowed it for a history report 2 years ago and I've yet to get it back. He probably paraphrased it anyway, so it's not that important. The truth is that it probably originated in the CBI theater during WWII, and either from the OSS teams that worked with the Katchins, or from the Chindts. I'm sure someone here knows more
     
  7. Whilst John Adams brought the phrase into the open, as it were, he probably got it from the bible -

    However, Harold Macmillan was certainly the first recorded contemporary user of the phrase that Templer then polished and devloped.

    The idea that a US SF bloke invented it is frankly risible. UK armed forces were doing this stuff while good old Uncle Sam thought carpet bombing was the answer to defeating insurgency.
     

  8. You shouldn't believe all the propaganda D-D. US SF were operating on classic counter-insurgency lines in Vietnam in the 1950s and early 1960s. It all got away from them when MacNamara started to micromanage the whole thing as the campaign escalated in 1965.
     
  9. I was being facetious. You're absolutely right - I should have put an ironic wink smiley or something similar in my post.

    However, US SF did not dream up the idea of 'hearts and minds' as a military construct as we know it. Otherwise, why were key members of Templer's staff acting as 'Special Advisers' in South Vietnam from the outset?

    I accept that as a phrase used in a purely political context, it has existed in America since around 1906, when it was used by Roosevelt.

    I'm not going to die in a ditch over this - out.
     
  10. Or the pragmatist who said "Once you have them by the balls,their hearts and minds will soon follow" :lol:
     
  11. I agree entirely - while US SF employed the methods they did not originate the concept.
     
  12. Thanks one and all - clear as mud!
     
  13. You may as well try asking for the origin of any phrase. This is about as good as it gets.

    Not good enough for you? I hear a small violin playing.

    Thanks for your massive contribution.
     
  14. I have a feeling that the Americans were the first to formalise the concept in a field manual but, equally, hearts and minds is a concept that can be traced back to the very origins of warfare. Think of Ghengis Khan offering citizens of cities he was about to lay siege to the option of surrendering and acknowledging the Mongols (pause for inevitable Mlarring) as overlords or being slaughtered. Pretty extreme example but it does make a point. Think too of the British in India with the manipulation of the principalities. The hearts and minds thing has been a key tool of the British military since the formation of the modern army. Its recognition of the British preference for succeeding without recourse to open warfare where possible, or by only using force when you have placed your enemy where you want him, in the weakest state and with the lowest morale. Today, of course, its a means of achieving far more with far less and allows us to execute the desires of No10 without incurring the wrath of No11.......
     
  15. Hmmm... got out of the wrong side of bed this morning did we D_D?

    I think I may have made the same mistake.

    Thank you for your hostility. I'll dry my eyes.