Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Russia Poised To Play A Lead Role In Asia Pacific

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Squeezed in Europe by U.S-led sanctions and robust NATO reactions in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, Russia is now finding itself in a prime position to exploit the unfolding geopolitical dramas stirred up by China in East and Southeast Asia. Moscow has proactively demonstrated its determination to play a leading role in shaping the outcome of the highly explosive regional conflicts, at the expense of Beijing and potentially Washington as well.

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The Hiroshima Question

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Anytime anyone mentions Hiroshima, the word “bomb” becomes an inevitable association. On May 10, the White House dropped another Hiroshima-related bomb on the world through an official announcement: President Barack Obama will “make a historic visit to Hiroshima” on May 27.

Autobiography & Memoir

Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain

by Williamson Murrayvia Classics of Military History
Monday, May 16, 2016

Vera Brittain arrived at Somerville College, Oxford concurrently with the outbreak of the First World War. Almost immediately she left the comfortable confines of that most beautiful of universities to volunteer to serve on Western Front as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment. The fact that the men in her family as well as those she befriended had joined up immediately was undoubtedly a factor that motivated her to leave Oxford. 

Battle History

History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides

by Williamson Murrayvia Classics of Military History
Monday, May 16, 2016

In his introduction, Thucydides remarks that “it will be enough for me, however, if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future.” 

Period Military History

The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece, by Victor Davis Hanson (2nd edition)

by Williamson Murrayvia Classics of Military History
Monday, May 16, 2016

Professor Hanson has written a number of important and interesting historical works on ancient Greek history and the relevance of that great period in human activity to our own world. But by far and away his most important and interesting work is this study of hoplite war (from the seventh century B.C. to the end of the fifth century B.C.) among the Greek city-states. 

Military Handbooks

On War, by Carl von Clausewitz (translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret)

by Williamson Murrayvia Classics of Military History
Monday, May 16, 2016

Of all the efforts to discover existential truths about the fundamental nature of war, Clausewitz’s On War comes closest to the mark. Tragically, Clausewitz died before he could complete his work. Yet, what he left us captures a number of fundamental truths. 

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The Myth Of Progress

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

President Obama thinks the world is destined to become a more just place, but history proves otherwise. 

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Understanding China’s Strategic Culture Through Its South China Sea Gambit

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 9, 2016

While armed conflicts still rage in Syria, Iraq, and other troubled spots of the world, a major conflagration of epic proportions that may involve some of the world’s most powerful sovereign powers, including the United States, China, Japan, and even Russia, is brewing in earnest in the South China Sea. At the center of this conflict is China’s extravagant maritime and territorial claims for almost the entire South China Sea, riling most countries in the region, upsetting key stakeholders along the world’s busiest commercial shipping lanes, and challenging key international maritime laws and interpretative frames of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

North Korean Missiles And Greek Spears

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 29, 2016

North Korea has launched three intermediate range ballistic missiles in the last two weeks. Each one was a failure and ended in an explosion or crash. The UN Security Council has banned such tests and issued a warning about increasing sanctions if such misbehavior continues. Indeed, there might be worse trouble in store. Many expect North Korea to conduct another nuclear test, its fifth. On May 6 the country is holding the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years.

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World War II Amnesia

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

For seventy years, the war’s lessons guided U.S. foreign policy—but no longer.


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.