|An image from the article "The Thermodynamics of War" by Melvin Klegerman, and Hugh McDonald, published in the American Laboratory journal, wherein they attempted to ferret out the beginnings of an instrument-based quantitative social thermodynamics, which they apply to the phenomena of war. |
In 1918, American historian William Thayer, in his address “Vagaries of Historians”, delivered before the American Historical Association, commented in his critique of Henry Adams' 1910 theory that historians begin to incorporate the second law into history studies and history theory, that: 
“The time may come when human affairs may be described no longer by words and sentences, but by a system of symbols or notation similar to those used in algebra or chemistry. It may then be possible, as Adams suggests, to invent a common formula for thermodynamics and history.
But, what means of measuring this dissipation would the historian have? If Kelvin’s law is true, there must have been less energy in 1865, when our Civil War [1861-1865] ended, than in 1861, when it began. The energy dissipated during these four years was not only human but material, solar, sidereal, cosmic. Who can compute it?”
The difficulty here, in the modern view, is that both Adams and Thayer were applying what's called the isolated potential, of the various five types of thermodynamic potentials, to the governance of humans, whereas the correct potential, as explained in Gilbert Lewis' 1923 Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances, is the isothermal-isobaric potential, or Gibbs free energy, according to which entropy increase acts such that the Lewis inequality of natural processes governs the direction of human nature. This is diagrammed below (left) on the extent of reaction coordinate plot.
|A Gibbs free energy G versus time t reaction coordinate for global combined reaction of World Wars I and II, spanning from 1914 to 1945, a transformation process that took over 100 million casualties, resulting in an final state Gf being at a more stable position that the initial state Gi, hence the over all process was natural, according to the governance of the Lewis inequality for natural processes (ΔG < 0). |
In 1915, English physiologist William Bayliss, in his Principles of General Physiology, re-interpreted Wilhelm Ostwald’s 1912 energetic imperative (the thermodynamic imperative version of Kant's original 1785 categorical imperative), rather interestingly, as: "waste not free energy; treasure it and make the best use of it", and went on to argue that this has great philosophical value, one example of which he gives is that it can be applied to warfare to remedy the "waste involved in war".
In 1919, Russian engineer and writer Yevgeny Zamyatin outlined a thermodynamics theory of revolution. In his 1923 essay “On Literature, Revolution, Entropy, and Other Matters”, for example, he attempted to describe the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 in the language of thermodynamics, supposedly arguing to effect that in wars and revolutions, there are two opposing forces at work, namely energy and entropy. 
In 1960, American fighter pilot instructor and combat theorist John Boyd was looking for deeper engineering and modern physical science insight into figuring out anomalous combat statistics from the Vietnam war, namely why the slower bigger less-maneurvable American planes (F-86 Sabre) had a better kill ratio than the faster smaller more-maneuverable Vietnamese planes (Russian Mig-15), and and in this direction entered into the industrial engineering program at Georgia Tech, where he learned the fundamentals of thermodynamics, which he began to apply to his puzzle in regards to pilot combat training behaviors and dog fight reaction behaviors.
|American fighter pilot and industrial engineer John Boyd combined his thermodynamics education with his combat experience to develop his energy-entropy decision based reaction cycle model of combat operation processes (OODA loop). |
The following is Boyd's thermodynamics based combat reaction theory (second law, uncertainty principle, dissipative structures, complexity theory, Godel's incompleteness theory), parts of which were used in the successful architectural invasion design of the Gulf War (1990-1991). 
In 1967, Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, in his “Entropy and the General Theory of Peace”, a mix of thermodynamics and information theory, attempted to explain peace and conflict using conceptions such as “conflict energy”, “conflict transformation”, “actor entropy”, and “interaction entropy”; postulates that macro-conflicts, such as war between nations, will occur when entropy level is low, while micro-conflicts, such as cognitive dissonance, will occur when the entropy level is high; defines entropy condition of messiness or disorder but not in a pejorative sense; the incapacity of a system to crystallize or establish order permits, for instance, greater complexity and diversity, thus acting to mitigate the reification of violent structures.
In 1976, Melvin Klegerman (Ѻ), a noted thermodynamic coupling theorist (Ѻ), and Hugh McDonald, in their “The Thermodynamics of War” article, published in the American Laboratory journal, attempted to ferret out the beginnings of an instrument-based quantitative social thermodynamics, which they apply to the phenomena of war; the following are snippets from page 62: 
They define (Ѻ) the main thermodynamic variables (see: human thermodynamics variables table) as follows:
G is the capacity of a system to do useful work.
H is the resources available to a system.
S represents the entropy, disorder, freedom, or randomness.
Here, of note, we see them making a reference (Ѻ) to Bruce Lindsay’s “thermodynamic imperative”, conjoined with citation to Albert Lehninger’s Bioenergetics and Gilbert Lewis’ Thermodynamics; and in which they seem to be attempting to quantify work done "by a social system" as being a quantified by a "negative ΔG", i.e. exergonic, and work done "on a social system" as being quantified by a "positive ΔG", i.e. endergonic.
In 1993, French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard stated his views on relationship between war and thermodynamics as follows: 
“Conflict and ultimately war do not arise between human and nature; rather, the struggle is between more developed systems and something else that is necessarily less developed and that the physicists know as entropy, the second principle of thermodynamics.”
In the 2007 book Age of Fallibility, author George Soros states that the expression "far-from-equilibrium conditions", of the Prigogine school of thermodynamics, can be applied to political and social situations. Soros argues that “in financial markets, far-from-equilibrium conditions prevail often, but by no means all the time.” In respect to World War Two, Soros states that Jews during the 1944 Nazi Germany occupation of Hungary, faced with daily extermination, were in a far-from-equilibrium condition. As another example, the collapse of the Soviet empire, according to Soros, was a “far-from-equilibrium process par excellence.” 
|The 2009 book The Scientific Way of Warfare, by Antoine Bousquet, uses thermodynamics principles to explain aspects of war. |
Bousquet considers that the identification of the rules of thermodynamics directly influenced the military doctrines of rapid, dispersed, and unpredictable movement that culminated in WWII with such tactical and operational formulations as the German Blitzkrieg.
Bousquet gives credit to the increasingly recognized ideas of US air force colonel and military strategist John Boyd who deliberately used such scientific theories as the second law of thermodynamics and chaos theory in his military thinking. Using these theories, Boyd for example developed his famous Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) "loop" which is said to be a very accurate conceptual model for all command and control (C2) systems. 
In c.2010, Turkey mechanical engineer Yunus Cengel and American mechanical engineer Michael Boles state that that entropy can be applied to warfare organizations and processes, to the effect that a high entropy army is less powerful than a low-entropy army, namely one that is divided into divisions. The state that the old cliché ‘divide and conquer’ equates thermodynamically to the phrase ‘increase the entropy and conquer’.
In 2009, idea of physical intelligence (PI), a thermodynamics upgrade to artificial intelligence (AI), so to speak, was conceived as a two-year research and development project, initiated by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), of the US Department of Defense, under the direction and conception of program manager Todd Hylton.
The outline of the program is hinged on three independent but connected points: (a) creating a theory (a mathematical thermodynamic formalism) and validating it in natural and engineered systems; (b) building the first human-engineered systems that display physical intelligence [chemical thermodynamic based intelligence] in the form of abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems; (c) developing analytical tools to support the design and understanding of physically intelligent systems.
Several different teams worked on this project for a period of two-years, the end objective to build PI systems that could be used in the battlefield.
1. (a) Thayer, William, R. “Vagaries of Historians”, Presidential address prepared to be read before the American Historical Association, at Cleveland, Dec. 28, 1918. (Reprinted from the American Historical Review, January, 1919).
(b) Thayer, William R. (1921). “Vagaries of Historians”. Annual Report of the American Historical Association (pgs. 77-88, esp. pgs. 80-84). G.P.O. (c) Adams, Henry. (1910). A Letter to American Teachers of History. (PDF). Washington.
2. (a) Buchanan, Mark. (2000). Ubiquity: Why Catastrophies Happen (pg. 3). Three Rivers Press.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (Gavrilo Princip, pg. 62). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(c) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
3. Zamyatin, Yevgeny. (1923). “On Literature, Revolution, Entropy, and Other Matters”; In: Yevgeny Zamyatin, A Soviety Heretic: Essays by Yevgeny Zamyatin, ed. And trans. Mirra Ginsburg, 1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4. Bousquet, Antoine. (2009). The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity (ch. 3: Thermodynamic Warfare and the Science of Energy, pgs. 63-92). Columbia University Press.
5. (a) World War I casualties (37 million) – Wikipedia.
(b) World War II casualties (60 million) – Wikipedia.
6. Lyotard, Jean-François. (1993). Political Writings (pg. 99-100). University of Minnesota Press.
7. Soros, George. (2007). The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror (pg. 8). PublicAffairs.
8. (a) OODA loop – Wikipedia.
(b) Osinga, Frans P.B. (2006). Science, Strategy and War: the Strategic Theory of John Boyd (thermodynamics, 75+ pgs). Routledge.
9. Safranski, Mark and Barnett, Thomas P.M. (2008). The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War (thermodynamics, pgs. 7, 20, 45; theory overview diagram, pg. 6). Nimble Books.
10. Klegerman, Melvin E. and McDonald, Huge J. (1976). “The Thermodynamics of War”, American Laboratory (abs, pg. 4), 8:61-62; 72-73.
● Krishna-Hensel, Sai F. (2010). Order and Disorder in the International System (pg. 47). Ashgate Publishing.
● Herman, Guy. (2013). Thermodynamics, War and Investment Banking. Publisher.