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Did China Have A Chance To Win The Opium War?

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The most consequential war involving a European nation in Asia in the 19th century is the 1839-1842 Opium War. The war was fought between a large British expeditionary force composed of nearly 20,000 British troops and three dozen of the Royal Navy’s modern warships, against about 100,000 Chinese defenders. 

China’s Strategic Ambiguity

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 25, 2018

Since the end of the Cold War, leading Western military leaders and strategists have consistently pressured China to answer a meaningless question: “What are your intentions for the massive military buildup?”

The Dialectics Of Host And Guest On The Korean Peninsula

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 18, 2018

In the ancient Chinese military strategy classic, Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong, the great Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong of the 7th century famously ruminated that, “In war, we prefer the position of the host to that of the guest.”

Know Neither Your Enemy Nor Yourself—The Lessons of Vietnam

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 11, 2018

The sage, albeit overly quoted, wisdom of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu still applies in modern warfare: “Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.”

Military Pageantry At The Royal Wedding

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 21, 2018

Although Prince Harry’s marriage last week to Ms. Meghan Markle was not a military occasion, the groom and best man wore uniform and more than 250 servicemen from units with storied military histories took part, so I think it’s acceptable to report on it for Military History in the News.

Indian Military Truths

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Military history has been much in the news in India this month because it was twisted by Narenda Modi, the Prime Minister and leader of the ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, in a blatant attempt to besmirch his great rival, the Congress Party. Campaigning in Karnataka in the south-west of India, Mr. Modi declared, “In 1948 we won the war against Pakistan under General [Kodendera Subayya] Thimayya’s leadership. 

Through The Minefield To Victory

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Somewhere that military history is constantly in the news—or at least in the newspapers—is in the obituaries of old soldiers. With the generation who comprised the generals and colonels from World War II now almost completely gone, it is the officers from later conflicts who tend to feature now. In the London Times last week, the death notice of Colonel John Cormack, a mining expert who won the Military Cross in the King’s Royal Irish Hussars in the Korean War, reminds us that that conflict never formally ended with a peace treaty, but only sputtered out with an armistice.

Rebuilding The Navy

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A scholarly and well written article in National Review Online (“The Naval War of 1812: TR’s Forgotten Masterpiece,” April 28, 2018) by a neophyte writer Moshe Wander addresses Theodore Roosevelt’s seminal work The Naval War of 1812 and the effect it had on American thinking about naval rearmament at the end of the 19th century.

Repeating The Past

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, April 30, 2018

The United States appears to be slowly emerging out of the wreckage that it has made of the Middle East. One would hope that the country’s political, intellectual, and military leaders would use the coming years to think seriously about the lessons to be learned from a lack of understanding that has marked America’s strategy over the past half century. It would be nice if they would, but I doubt they will. They certainly will not, if the past is any guide. 

Sacrifice In War

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Friday, April 27, 2018

Seventy-five years ago, over the period from March through early July 1943, the RAF’s Bomber Command was waging what was called at the time, the Battle of the Ruhr. In our own time, only a few antiquarian military historians—a rapidly disappearing breed—would recognize the importance of that battle. Certainly, none of those social historians who today inhabit the halls of academia would have any comments except to condemn the merciless slaughter of “innocent” German civilians by what was part and parcel of the Anglo-American Combined Bomber Offensive. 

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Wars, terrorism, and revolution are the daily fare of our globalized world, interconnected by instantaneous electronic news.

Military History in the News is a weekly column from the Hoover Institution that reflects on how the study of the past alone allows us to make sense of the often baffling daily violence, not by offering exact parallels from history, but rather by providing contexts of similarity and difference that foster perspective and insight—and reassurance that nothing is ever quite new.