Raoul Castex (1878–1968) was an active naval officer who theorised widely on strategy. As an advocate of ‘jointness’, he took a comprehensive approach rather than relying on any one service.
A child of the predominant geopolitical fashions of his time, Castex was an advocate of keeping diplomats and ministers out of strategy-making during war, of an offensive strategy on all fronts (despite the experience of the First World War), and of France not concentrating all its efforts on defending itself on the continent but seeing itself as, above all, a colonial empire.
He reached the rank of Vice-Admiral after having headed the French Naval College and the Centre for Advanced Naval Studies. He was an author on strategy more generally, which kept him busy following his retirement from the French Navy in 1939 after he failed to be appointed to the Navy's top position. His most important works were a series of volumes on strategic theory.
Our guest for this episode, Professor Martin Motte, teaches at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and also at the French École de Guerre, the war college for higher officers. He is one of three authors of the manual produced by the École de Guerre for the education of its officers.
Castex, Admiral Raoul: Théories stratégiques 5 vols,Société d’Editions, 1929-35. Available at: https://archive.org/details/theoriesstrategi23raou/mode/2up.
Wedin, Lars: Maritime Strategies for the XXIst Century: the Contribution of Admiral Castex, Nuvis, 2016.
Entry on “Castex” in Daniel Coetzee & Lee Eysturlid (eds): Philosophers of War: The Evolution of History’s Greatest Military Thinkers,Praeger/ABC Clio, September 2013, Vol. 2.
Richmond, Herbert W.: “Strategical Theories: A French Authority”, Royal United Services Institution Journal, Vol. 78 Issue 510, 1933, pp. 330-336.
Senior Associate Fellow
Director, Military Sciences