Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Why the Islamic State Is Weathering the Air Campaign

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On June 2, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken told France Inter radio that the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS had killed 10,000 members in the nine months since the attacks began. This was undoubtedly a salvo in the information campaign against the extremist group, as well as an attempt to downplay the recent loss of Ramadi to the Islamic State.

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Why National Reputation Matters

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, June 11, 2015

The multipolar world that has emerged from the brief moment of American unilateralism following the end of the Cold War has pitted the United States against strategic competitors in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Taking advantage of American military and economic weakness, but more importantly acting on a very real perception that American policymakers are no longer capable of providing the leadership required to knit together a global order, Chinese, Russian, and Iranian leaders are busy carving out pieces of neighboring regions.

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The Patriot Act And The History Of American Code Breaking

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, June 4, 2015

The uproar over the recent failure of the Senate to renew several key provisions of the Patriot Act highlights the love/hate relationship that Americans have with their intelligence agencies. During periods of heightened international tension, Americans depend on their intelligence agencies to provide accurate forecasting and early warning of pending threats to national security.

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A Lesson Of Waterloo

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo—perhaps the most significant battle in European history—is already being celebrated, despite the crescendo not coming until the anniversary itself, Thursday, June 18th. The sheer number of events taking place connected to the commemorations is astonishing, and not just in the victorious countries.

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Where Is NATO’s Military Headed?

by Bing West via Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Peter Mansoor concluded his overview of NATO by writing, “fear of Russian revanchism has served as inspiration for the maintenance of a healthy military relationship among NATO allies… a pivotal, stabilizing role in European security, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

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Civilization In The Crossfire

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A media that has generally consigned the advances of ISIS in Iraq and Syria to its inside pages and minor news reports, has suddenly been forced to give them full prominence, not because of the thousands of deaths that ISIS is causing but rather the threat it poses to the splendid urban architecture of Zenobia’s surviving jewel of a city, Palmyra.

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Propaganda On Parade

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

There can hardly be a more direct connection between military history and current affairs than over the celebration of the 70th anniversary of V-E Day in Russia on May 9. Vladimir Putin attempted to use the huge commemorations to promote the Russian armed forces, criticize the United States, sabre-rattle against Ukraine, cement alliances with rivals and opponents of the West, and generally to stoke up Russian hyper-nationalism.

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Turkey’s Inglorious Past

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The centenary of the start of the “Meds Yeghern” (Great Calamity)—the Turkish genocide against the minority Armenian Christian population of the Ottoman Empire—has come at an awkward time for the government of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Clausewitz: Dead at Last?

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At a recent meeting of the senior officers of one of the services, an academic expert on terrorism—one of the fashionable topics in Washington these days—announced that in the modern world Clausewitz was irrelevant because he had nothing to say about ISIS or the various other nasty malignancies bothering the international landscape.

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Wars of Religion

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Thursday, April 16, 2015

In his masterful account of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides lays out the bitter fruit of civil wars within the Greek poleis of his time, particularly in the city state of Corcyra. In words that echo through the centuries, the great Greek historian warned that in such conflicts (3.82), “words, too, had to change their usual meanings...


From left to right: Bing West, Peter Mansoor, Ralph Peters, Victor Davis Hanson

Military History Working Group meets at Hoover

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict met for a workshop during October 7 and 8 to chart its long-term objectives and review its new online journal, Strategika.


The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts. 

As the very name of Hoover Institution attests, military history lies at the very core of our dedication to the study of "War, Revolution, and Peace." Indeed, the precise mission statement of the Hoover Institution includes the following promise: "The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life." From its origins as a library and archive, the Hoover Institution has evolved into one of the foremost research centers in the world for policy formation and pragmatic analysis. It is with this tradition in mind, that the "Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict" has set its agenda—reaffirming the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. By bringing together a diverse group of distinguished military historians, security analysts, and military veterans and practitioners, the working group seeks to examine the conflicts of the past as critical lessons for the present.

Victor Davis Hanson on War in the Contemporary World — WATCH

The careful study of military history offers a way of analyzing modern war and peace that is often underappreciated in this age of technological determinism. Yet the result leads to a more in-depth and dispassionate understanding of contemporary wars, one that explains how particular military successes and failures of the past can be often germane, sometimes misunderstood, or occasionally irrelevant in the context of the present.

The working group is chaired by Victor Davis Hanson with counsel from Bruce S. Thornton and David L. Berkey, along with collaboration form the group’s distinguished scholars, military historians, analysts, journalists, and military officers.