Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Civilians Win Wars, Too

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shielding civilians from warfare has not always been routine practice. Homer tells of Troy in flames, soldiers of the Greek alliance raping, pillaging, and burning the city to the ground. Thucydides recounts how in 427 B.C. the Athenians nearly killed all the rebellious Mytilenean men and enslaved their women and children, but ultimately executed only the leaders of the revolt. Over a decade later in 416/5 B.C, the Athenians failed to exercise restraint and did bring about that very punishment against the neutrality-seeking Melians.

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The Fire And Fury Of Presidents

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, August 24, 2017

History shows that bombastic rhetoric is often less dangerous than silence and appeasement. 

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Feminine Spycraft

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Times of London report that Mata Hari, the notorious World War One double agent, owed her downfall to MI5 rather than to the French secret service comes at a time when the British domestic security service could do with some good news, even if it is one hundred years old. Still reeling from the shock of three terrorist attacks in two months in London and Manchester this year—two of them perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists who were known to the organization—perhaps MI5 can learn something from the superb professionalism of their forebears in 1916.

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Battlestations! The U.S. Navy And Damage Control

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Seven American sailors on the USS Fitzgerald died last Saturday after their destroyer was rammed by the Philippine-registered cargo ship ACX Crystal. The incident, now under investigation, occurred at 2:20 a.m. local time off the Japanese coast. Although the loss of life was tragic, heroic damage control efforts by the ship’s crew saved the vessel from sinking. 

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The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Seventy-five years ago this week the U.S. Navy pulled off one of the all-time upsets in the history of military affairs when it defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway. Beginning on December 7, 1941, with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that crippled the U.S. Pacific fleet as it lay at anchor, the Imperial Japanese Navy put together an incredible run of victories. 

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Andrew Jackson And John Quincy Adams Teach National Security

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On May 24, 1818, General Andrew Jackson occupied Pensacola, then the capital of the Spanish province of Florida. This was the terminus of an expedition in which his forces had destroyed a band of marauders which had been preying on the southern edges of U.S. territory from bases in Spanish territory. 

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May 11-23, 2003: From Peace To War In Iraq

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Friday, May 19, 2017

In the middle of May 2003, the U.S. government threw away a victory that its armed forces had won and started a new war that it had no idea how to win. This fortnight’s events remind us that the lack of unity of conception and command can turn victory into disaster.

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Unjustifiable Tribute

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

On May 10, 1801, Yusuf Karamanli, the Pasha of Tripoli, announced his intention to commence hostilities against the United States and then formally declared war on May 14 when his men chopped down the consulate’s flagpole. Tripoli, along with the other North African (Barbary) states of Tunis and Algiers, was demanding tribute for the passage of American ships. This war ended in 1805 with a U.S. military victory over Tripoli, but without removing any of the Barbary states’ pretensions regarding the United States. 

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Toronto And The Lessons Of A Forgotten Battle

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hard as it is to believe, a little over two hundred years ago today American forces sacked Toronto. The date was April 27, 1813. Yes, “Toronto the Good,” as the once straitlaced city was nicknamed, the city also known as “Hollywood North” because of all the movies and television shows (many American) filmed there, and a cherished annual tourist destination for almost three million Americans, was burnt and plundered by American arms. 

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China, North Korea, And 1950’s Shadow Of War

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 24, 2017

When the subject is North Korea, it is hard for a military historian not to think of Thanksgiving 1950. It was around that date that Chinese forces, having stealthily entered the country and already engaged in their first attacks, hit American troops and hit them hard. Two months earlier U.S., South Korean, and other allied forces crossed the 38th parallel dividing the two Koreas, defeated North Korean forces, and advanced toward the Chinese border on the Yalu River. It was part of America’s response to the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950. America saved the south but incautiously tried to conquer the north without reckoning on Chinese intervention. It was a blunder of the first order.

Pages

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.

News

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.