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Considering Preemptive War

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 10, 2017

President Trump set off a rhetorical hand grenade this week, threatening North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The Secretary of State rushed to reassure Americans that there was no imminent threat and they could “sleep safe at night.”

Passchendaele At 100

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, July 31, 2017

The centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, has been the big military history story in the news this week, with the British press covering it far more extensively than any other Great War centenary story, except perhaps that of the first day of the Somme Offensive last year. With over 1.5 million soldiers from almost every part of the British Empire having taken part in the battle—which lasted from July 31 to November 6, 1917—it has also been extensively covered in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. The French also contributed six divisions of 180,000 men.

A Fake False Flag

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An article in the British Daily Mail was entitled “Did the British plant a bomb at the 1940 World’s Fair to kill two NYPD officers and bring the U.S. into World War II?” It was one of those classic newspaper headlines to which the answer is “No,” but which helps sell papers anyhow. The bomb that went off on July 4, 1940 was originally planted in the British pavilion of the World’s Fair in New York, which also contained the Crown Jewels and an original copy of the Magna Carta, and a member of the pro-Nazi Bund organization was deported over the incident.

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.

Stalin’s Greatness?

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“The Red Army could have defeated Nazi Germany without Allied help,” records The Times of London, “according to two thirds of Russians, who are adopting an increasingly positive view of Joseph Stalin’s wartime leadership despite the enormous casualties suffered under his command.” This worrying sign of increased ultra-nationalism under Vladimir Putin was based on findings from a poll conducted by the respected Levada Center in Moscow. 

Civilian Casualties In The Battle For Mosul

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

As the battle against ISIS in Mosul reaches its climax with an assault by Iraqi forces on the remaining enemy stronghold in the old city west of the Tigris River, predictable appeals for a lessening of civilian casualties have been issued by various pundits. Since August 2014 the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has killed just under 500 civilians. 

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. 

ISIS And Tora Bora—Back To The Future

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reports today have confirmed that a branch of the Islamic State has seized Tora Bora, once the stronghold of the iconic founder and leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden. The terrorists of al-Qaeda used this remote and forbidding mountain fortress, honeycombed with caves and tunnels, as protection against airstrikes and ground assault in the weeks after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.”

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. 

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. 


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.