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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.

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...

The Coming Explosion in the Middle East

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, April 13, 2015

By the end of the sixteenth century Europe had largely recovered from the massive kill off of its population that the Black Death had brought in its wake in the fourteenth century. But by that point, the ability for the continent to feed its growing population was reaching its limit, while the economy was incapable of supporting the increasing numbers of young men.


by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 6, 2015

Hannibal of Carthage (in modern Tunisia) was one of history’s greatest generals. He invaded Italy in the third century BC and nearly brought Rome to its knees. At Cannae in southern Italy in 216 BC Hannibal won one of the most crushing victories in all of military history—and it is only the most famous of his battlefield successes.

A Test Of South Korea’s Diplomatic Skills

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Thursday, April 2, 2015

Small and medium-sized states located between great powers often develop impressive survival skills. At the dawn of history in the third millennium BC, the smaller city-states of Sumer no doubt had to scramble to survive the wars between such giants as Lagash and Umma or Uruk and Ur.


by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, March 30, 2015

In the sixth century BC, King Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire, the largest realm in human history to date. His advisors suggested that Cyrus relocate his people from their rugged homeland in southwestern Iran to a more imperial seat in one of the lush lands that they now controlled. Cyrus said no; he called the plan a recipe for ruin...

Smashing Idols from Rome to ISIS

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Thursday, March 12, 2015

The destruction of Iraqi and Syrian archaeological treasures by ISIS appalls the entire civilized world, and rightly so. Yet what we call cultural vandalism, ISIS calls tearing down idols, the symbols of an unholy, pagan past.

The Air Campaign against ISIS

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, March 9, 2015

One of the enduring myths of the Second World War is that strategic bombing had little impact on popular morale in Germany. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Combined Bomber Offensive, much of which targeted civilians, had a profound effect on German morale, while it severely impeded the ability of the Nazi war economy to meet the war’s spiraling demands.

ISIS: More Than Just A Terrorist Organization

by Max Bootvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 23, 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been dominating headlines for the past year and more. But what manner of organization is it? Is it a terrorist group, a guerrilla group, or something else? The answers to those questions, rooted in the study of military history, may hold the key to defeating the evil that is ISIS.

No Need To Declare War Against Our Current Enemy

by Max Bootvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Congress is now debating President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Limited Military Force to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Yet the president’s request for this action from Congress comes more than six months after U.S. aircraft began bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria...


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.