Basil H. Liddell Hart (1895–1970) was a military historian and is considered among the great military strategists of the twentieth century. He served as an officer in the British Army during the First World War where he witnessed the horrors of the trenches. In the following years he set out to discover why the casualty rate had been so high during the conflict, and arrived at a set of principles that he considered the basis of all good strategy, principles that, he claimed, were ignored by most commanders in the First World War.
He published his theories during the 1920s. They were well received by many of the younger officers who would emerge as leaders in the Second World War. Paradoxically, Liddell-Hart saw his theories successfully adopted by Germany and used against Britain and its allies. His theories were a central part of the German blitzkrieg tactics which were designed to hit the enemy so fast and so hard that he would not be able to establish or maintain an equilibrium. They were also openly endorsed by the German’s most successful general, Erwin Rommel.
He retired from the British Army as a Captain in 1927 and spent the rest of his career as a writer. He was initially a military analyst for various British newspapers; later, he began publishing military histories and biographies of great commanders who, he thought, were great because they illustrated the principles of good strategy. Among these were Scipio Africanus, William T. Sherman, and T. E. Lawrence.