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It’s Time To Change America’s Alliance Approach In Asia

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last week marks the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China. The historic mutual defense treaty, signed on December 2, 1954 in Washington, provided an ironclad guarantee to keep Taiwan from being invaded by the People’s Republic of China between 1955 and 1979. Since President Jimmy Carter unilaterally terminated the vital treaty on January 1, 1979, Taiwan has been subjected to constant threats of invasion by the communist government in Beijing, as the subsequent Taiwan Relations Act does not guarantee direct military assistance to Taiwan if China invades the island democracy.

“Justice Served For War Crimes In The Balkans”

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, November 27, 2017

On Wednesday, November 22, a United Nations tribunal convicted former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, the “butcher of Bosnia,” of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to life in prison. The charges stem from his role in the Srebenica massacre along with ethnic cleansing and deliberate targeting of civilians during the Bosnian civil war. 

Pilgrims And Power—The Military Aspects Of Thanksgiving

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

As Americans celebrate their unique holiday of Thanksgiving this week, they might pause for a moment and reflect on the pilgrims who emigrated from Europe to the New World in search of opportunity and religious freedom. When the pilgrims established their colony at Plymouth Bay in December 1620, the odds were stacked against them. Disease wiped out half of the 100 or so colonists within three months of arrival.

Propaganda Wars: The Rise And Fall Of The ISIS Media Machine

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, November 16, 2017

During World War II English-speaking female broadcasters taunted Allied soldiers, who nicknamed the anonymous radio personalities “Tokyo Rose” and “Axis Sally.” GIs would often listen to the broadcasts for the entertaining music, mostly ignoring the outlandish claims and overt propaganda directed their way.

The 75th Anniversary Of Operation Torch

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Seventy-five years ago this week, American and British forces stormed ashore on the beaches of Morocco and Algeria in the first major test of the Grand Alliance. The intent behind Operation Torch was to eliminate the Axis presence in Africa by placing Allied troops onto the continent behind Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika, at the time retreating westward through Libya after its defeat at the hands of General Bernard Montgomery’s Eighth British Army at the Battle of El Alamein two weeks earlier. 

Are There Consequences For The All-Volunteer Military?

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In the summer of 1970 in the immediate aftermath of a disastrous spring of rioting by university students, President Richard Nixon decided that a draft lottery would determine the following year’s call up. To the astonishment of university administrators who believed that the students were deeply motivated by moral concerns, the troubles disappeared in the fall.

Grant, Sherman, And The American Way Of War

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Russell Weigley, one of America’s leading military historians in the twentieth century, used Sherman’s 1864 scorched-earth March to the Sea that made “Georgia howl,” as an example of the American way of war. While there is some truth in Weigley’s description, he missed another aspect of the framework within which Grant and Sherman broke Confederate resistance and ended the Civil War: namely logistics and the problems that it raised for Union strategists in waging the war.

The Relevance Of World War I

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, October 16, 2017

In the decades before the First World War, vast scientific and technological changes altered the face of the globe. Those changes had immense implications for the world’s military institutions. The invention of the internal combustion engine, nitroglycerine, smokeless power, barbed wire, the telephone, and medical advances had all changed the civilian world and seemed to have major implication for the conduct of war. They did. Most military experts calculated that such technological changes would lead to quicker wars. In that respect, they were wrong.

The Vietnam War Documentary: Doom And Despair

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ken Burns recently released a documentary entitled “The Vietnam War: An Intimate History.” The script concluded with these words, “The Vietnam War was a tragedy, immeasurable and irredeemable.” That damning hyperbole neatly summarized 18 hours of haunting, funereal music, doleful tales by lugubrious veterans, and an elegiac historical narration voiced over a collage of violent images and thunderous explosions.

The Ghost Of The Athenian Past

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In 483 B.C. Athenians struck a particularly rich vein at their silver mine at Larium. The immediate political question confronting the Athenian democracy was what to do with the horde of silver that had just fallen into its hands. The obvious solution was to divide the riches among the citizens, but the great strategist and politician, Themistocles, argued for a different use of the money. He urged that it all be spent to build up the Athenian fleet. At the time, most Athenians believed their success at Marathon in 490 B.C. against the Persian invaders had eliminated the Asiatic threat.

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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.