Former Austrian Ambassador Visits Norwich Campus

By Katie Sanders’13


Former Austrian Ambassador Wendelin Ettmayer

Norwich University’s  Peace and War Center was honored to host former Austrian Ambassador Wendelin Ettmayer on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, for a special presentation about the development of warfare.


Ettmayer is the former Austrian Ambassador to Finland (1994-2000), Canada (2000-2003), and the Council of Europe (2005-2008). He was a member of the Austrian National Parliament for 16 years and the former head of the Department for Bilateral and Multilateral Economic Relations in the Austrian Foreign Ministry. He has a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and is the author of several books

During Ettmayer’s stay, he gave the lecture,“Is it Still Possible to Win Wars? The Revolution in Non-Military Affairs” to the Norwich community in the Kreitzberg Library Multipurpose Room. Attendees were treated to his unique insight into this critical aspect of international relations.

The evolution of war has been multi-faceted and vast, from the means by which a war is fought to the motivation of the fighting and the eventual winning. Advancements in communication and technology have played a major role in this evolution and have changed the nature of warfare.

Ettmayer shared the journey of evolution, from the first wars, which were fought by small tribes with fists and spears, to the current, modern, multi-state and non-state wars with assault rifles, bombs, and body armor. Part of that evolution is the role of modern technology in communications, which means that wars are playing out via the media.

Similarly, the motivation underlying war has changed. Nations used to wage war over power, land, to combat ideas, and revolution, and seldom had much impact on the general population; however, with the evolutions in technology and communications, a new version of war is being fought. More individuals are hearing about conflicts and formulating opinions. Ettmayer shared that: “It has become more necessary than before to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the most educated people on which the country waging war wants to impose its will.”

Ultimately, Ettmayer concluded that, yes, it is still possible to win wars, but wars are not won on the battlefield any longer.