Williamson Murray

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Alliances: Past, Present, And Future

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 30, 2019

In the 1930s, the British military pundit B. H. Liddell Hart argued vociferously that traditional British conduct of war in the seventeenth and eighteenth had represented a strategy of minimal commitment to the wars on the European Continent while focusing on a blue-water strategy to attack the enemy on the periphery. Thus, Britain’s effort in the First World War with its emphasis on the British Expeditionary Force in France had been a terrible mistake. He could not have been more mistaken. 

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Intelligence And Imagination

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Military historians tend to spend far too much time on the combat arena in which armies, navies, and air forces contend. Yet, underlying their performance is the organizational behavior of intelligence agencies which should be responsible for guiding and framing their actions and reactions. Nothing displays this more clearly than a comparison of the cultures of the British and German intelligence organizations during the Second World War. The latter was hierarchical, compartmentalized, and separated the military from the civilians. Within the German system, there was virtually no tolerance, much less interest in, passing opinions and original ideas up the chain of command. But perhaps the greatest weakness in German military culture was the general contempt for intelligence and its purveyors.

Who Carried the Burden in the Second World War?

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Over the past several decades, as historians have unraveled the archives of the Red Army after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the new narrative of the history of the Second World War that has emerged has emphasized the fighting on the Eastern Front as the crucial theater of the war in Europe. Certainly, the casualties that the Soviet peoples endured were far beyond the losses the Western Allies suffered, while the fighting on the Eastern Front contributed substantially to breaking German ground forces. Yet, an overemphasis on Soviet casualties, no matter how impressive, fundamentally distorts the extent of the effort that the Western Powers waged against the Third Reich.

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On the Eightieth Birthday Of WWII

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 16, 2019

Eighty years ago this month the most catastrophic war in history broke out. On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded her neighbor, Poland. From before dawn German shells and bombs fell across the breadth and width of the country. Despite the obvious buildup of military forces on the other side of the frontier, the Poles had not fully mobilized because British and French statesmen worried that such a mobilization might encourage Hitler to go to war—as if he needed any encouragement. In every sense, the German invasion of Poland proved to be a disaster for Poland, a disaster exacerbated by the willful policies of appeasement that the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had fostered over the previous two and a half years.

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

The Monroe Doctrine: Guide To The Future

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Friday, September 6, 2019

The Monroe Doctrine, which purports to warn other states from interfering in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere, has supposedly remained a basic principle of American foreign policy since the first half of the nineteenth century. From the point when it was issued, its actual relevance has depended on the willingness to enforce it, or whether there was any real threat. President Monroe issued it during a period when all of the major Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere were in the process of gaining their independence from Spain. 

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Political Correctness And History: In Defense Of Churchill

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 28, 2019

In October of this past year, the astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a famous quote from Winston Churchill: “in victory, magnanimity.” For his troubles he received a host of outraged tweets from the politically correct crowd that Churchill was a racist, responsible for the 1943 famine in Bengal, and numerous other supposed atrocities as Britain’s leader during the Second World War. The tweets are a remarkable tribute to the widespread ignorance of the past among those who so delightedly cast their fury at the past.

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Preparing For The Future

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The use of history to think about the present and the future is always difficult for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important difficulty is that to use it successfully one has to have read deeply and widely in it, and even then, its potential lessons are ambiguous and uncertain. 

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On Grand Strategy And China

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Friday, February 22, 2019

Whether one talks about grand strategy or military strategy, one must recognize both the crucial importance of means–end analysis, and also of geography. Not surprisingly, given the contempt the German military displayed towards strategic thinking in the two world wars they fought and lost, the Reich’s naval leaders and the Kaiser ignored those two crucial elements in developing the High Seas Fleet in the period before the Second World War.

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On Grand Strategy And Russia

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Vladimir Putin has proven himself a masterful tactician, who, as all tacticians do, maneuvers in the present with little regard for the future. He has managed to attack Georgia for its arrogance in daring to consider joining NATO, seize the Crimea, cause a nasty struggle in eastern Ukraine, and while destabilizing that state, launch a massive cyberattack on Estonia, assassinate various Russian defectors in the United Kingdom through the use of radioactive materials, and interfere in the 2016 elections in the United States along with other crimes and misdemeanors inflicted on his own people.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

A New Space Service! Hurrah!!

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Monday, October 15, 2018

The talk among some commentators on America’s defense, furthered by the comments of the president of the United States, is that America needs a new military service, entirely devoted to wartime and peaceful operations in space. It is a brilliant idea which possesses all sorts of possibilities. What a wonderful opportunity this would present in a time in which entitlements are increasingly siphoning funds away from other federal expenditures. A whole new service, my goodness, the opportunities seem extraordinary!

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