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Does International Law Promote Peace Or War?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

On October 24, 1648, the Holy Roman Empire, Sweden, Spain, France, several German princi-palities, etc. signed what became known as the Treaty of Westphalia, or the Peace of Westphalia, ending thirty years of war among European sovereigns, ostensibly about whether the Roman Catholic Church or the several reformed churches should be practiced or forbidden, but actually about the prerogatives of political sovereignty. Though the sovereigns continued to disagree about church matters, they agreed completely that their rule would be absolute in the places they controlled.

Anti-Colonialism’s American Wars

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Europe’s political-military impotence continues to burden the United States. October reminds us that the key events in the creation of this impotence occurred during this month in 1956, and that U.S. policy bears substantial responsibility for creating it.

Colonialism and War

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Thursday, October 1, 2020

“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” And, after 33 days of dead reckoning navigation, he bumped into the Western Hemisphere on October 12. Spain’s colonization began as a military conquista, coupled with the extraction of precious metals. Within fifty years, Spanish colonists had built cathedrals and libraries in Mexico and Peru. A century later, British civilians colonized North America.

Trump’s History Conference

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

President Trump’s remarks about the need to “restore patriotic education” at the White House Conference on American History have provoked a flurry of defenses and counterattacks from academic historians. The defenders dispute the notion that their teaching undermines patriotism, contending that any criticisms they might make of the United States are intended to improve the United States, not destroy it. The counterattackers denounce the President for threatening their academic freedom and advancing a version of history that ignores racism and pays too much attention to dead white males.

The Military-Industrial Complex

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Thursday, September 17, 2020

President Donald Trump’s recent warning about the influence of the defense industry has sparked comparisons to Dwight Eisenhower’s assertion that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” When Eisenhower spoke those words in his 1961 farewell address, he believed that the massive growth of America’s peacetime armed forces had given them and the defense industry enough power that they could “endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

Supporting Our Troops?

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Jeffrey Goldberg’s allegation that President Trump derided American troops has injected much-needed adrenaline into Joe Biden’s supporters. The unwillingness of Goldberg’s sources to identify themselves and the holes poked in the story by named witnesses have done little to stem the flood of articles and Tweets characterizing the episode as the latest proof of Trump’s depravity. The badmouthing of the military is said to be a “new low.”

The Army Marches Into The Future

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Thursday, September 3, 2020

During a public speech last week, Army Chief of Staff General James C. McConville called for rapid transformation of the U.S. Army to deal with new domains of warfare, particularly the electronic, cyberspace, and space domains. The Army has been seeking to adapt to “multi-domain operations” for several years, but McConville and others are dissatisfied with the rate of progress. With the outbreak of war possible at any time, they argue, the transformation has to take place at breakneck pace.

Cleopatra Sails Again

by Barry Straussvia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 27, 2020

September 2 marks 2050 years since the Battle of Actium (31 B.C.), the naval engagement that made Imperial Rome and shaped the future of western civilization. The anniversary reminds us that navies have had a massive impact on the history of the Mediterranean. That, in turn, throws a spotlight on the ominous rise in naval tensions in the region today.

A Small Island And Perhaps A Big Conflict

by Barry Straussvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What do Cleopatra, the man who blew up the Parthenon, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, and Turkey’s President Erdoğan have in common? A shared interest in a tiny Mediterranean island. Kastellorizo, population 500, is only 4.6 square miles in area but it has the unlikely official name of The Biggest (Megisti), which it is, compared to the smaller islands beside it. Although photogenic enough to be the site of the delightful film Mediterraneo (1991), Kastellorizo is coveted for its geostrategic importance.

The Guns Of August

by Barry Straussvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In 1962, Barbara Tuchman published The Guns of August, a book about the negotiations among the Great Powers that led to the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. Her thesis was that bungled diplomacy caused the war. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and is said to have influenced President John F. Kennedy in his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis later that year.


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.