Military History in the News

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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. 

Churchill’s Heroic Leadership

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two films graced the cinemas of the United States—and Europe—this past year that are worth noting for the light they shine on the past as well as the current sensibilities of our chattering classes. Both cover the same period: May and the first days of June 1940 when the fate of the world hung in the balance. The first, Dunkirk, supposedly covers the escape of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from France as German panzer divisions, having broken through the French defenses at Sedan, rolled toward the Channel ports and appeared to be on the brink of cutting off and destroying the BEF before it could escape. 

Time To Celebrate Munich

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Monday, April 9, 2018

And so here we are with the eightieth anniversary of the Munich agreement to look forward to this coming September. Of course, it represents the best in the great liberal tradition that one can find a reasonable solution to any major international dispute, based on the common threads of humanity and disgust at the myths of military preparedness. Recognizing that Czechoslovakia was far away and that the country’s geographic position and industrial strength were irrelevant to any serious strategic considerations, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed away its citizens’ freedom. 

Failed Wartime Leaders Have A Short Shelf Life In Democracies

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, March 26, 2018

“I have often before now been convinced that democracy is incapable of empire.” So one ancient Athenian politician complained when his countrymen rejected his advice during the Peloponnesian War. “Democracy is acknowledged folly,” said another Athenian politician, after his career took a nosedive. Sour grapes, sure, but not unusual. Today democracy still has plenty of critics.

Chemical Weapons In The Shadow Of Magna Carta

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Located in rural southwest England, Salisbury has long been famous for its medieval cathedral and its proximity to Stonehenge. It even houses a rare copy of that precious document of western constitutional government, Magna Carta.


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.