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The Heavy Toll Of Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

An article in the Sunday Times (of London) echoes several others that try to put present-day Russian losses in Ukraine into their correct historical perspective. One very obvious problem is that we cannot be certain exactly what Russian losses actually are at the time of writing in late March 2022, but it does not seem unreasonable for the Sunday Times, using Western military intelligence sources, to estimate a death toll of 10,000, which although much more than the Kremlin admits (at 1,500) is also lower than the Ukrainians claim (at 16,000).

Caesar’s Assassination In Gold

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

One of the rarest coins of the Roman Republic, commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March (15 March 44 B.C.), has been put up for sale in Zurich in May. It has been on display in the British Museum for over a decade, but is now being sold by its anonymous owner.

The US–UK Relationship: Solid As Ever

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Friday, March 11, 2022

Diplomatic gifts are often given, well, diplomatically, to draw attention to the historical friendship and cooperation between the countries of the giver and receiver. So what are we to make of the brick that the White House Historical Association has given Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, that originally came from The President’s House burned down by the British in 1814? As it was undoubtedly the historical nadir of the last quarter-millennium of Anglo-American relations, how diplomatic was it to put this particular piece of military history in the news?

Battles Of Kharkov

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The military history story that has featured very widely in newspapers and websites recently has, for obvious reasons, been the four great battles of Kharkov during World War Two. These titanic struggles were at least as important as the more famous battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, and Kursk in determining the outcome of Hitler’s invasion of Russia. They led to an almost unimaginable loss of life on the Russian side, but the Soviet victory in the fourth and last battle—also known as the Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive—led directly to the eventual Russian victory on the Eastern Front, and thus the downfall of Nazism.

False-Flag Operations

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

We have heard quite a bit recently about how Russia is planning a “false-flag” operation to justify an invasion of Ukraine. What are false-flag operations, and how have they been used in the past?

Ukrainian Battlefields

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 14, 2022

Should the Russian forces massed on Ukraine’s borders initiate hostilities, the resulting conflict will be only the most recent of many that stretch back through the history of the region. Having no natural borders to provide a geographic shield, Ukraine offers invaders from both east and west a highway of endless steppes—unforested grassland—through which to travel.

The Russian Army And Winter Warfare

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 8, 2022

As Russian forces mass on the borders of Ukraine waiting for the go-ahead from President Vladimir Putin to invade, an examination of the Russian Army’s history in winter warfare is in order. From Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia in 1812 through World War II, the Russian/Red Army has engaged in numerous battles and campaigns in the often-deadly Russian winter.

Putin’s Ukrainian Fantasy

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, February 3, 2022

Russian forces numbering around 130,000 troops armed with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery, and other weapons of mobile combined arms warfare have massed on the Ukrainian border. Another 35,000 rebels and 3,000 Russian advisors are positioned inside the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. More Russian troops are deploying into Belarus to the north, enabling Russian forces to attack towards Kyiv on two fronts should Vladimir Putin decide to invade. What are Putin’s goals vis-à-vis Ukraine, and why is he willing to go to war to accomplish them?

The Futility of a Beijing-friendly Strategy

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Friday, October 1, 2021

One unique aspect of America’s strategic competition with China is the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) weaponization of all domains of U.S.-China bilateral interactions. From Mao to Xi, all dealings with the U.S., ranging from trade, supply chain, cultural exchange, diplomatic routines, to academic and scientific research, engineering innovation, and defense technology development, have been viewed as nothing but matters of “struggle,” an essential Leninist strategy that centers on the uncompromising nature of the inner contradictions between socialism and capitalism.

The Lin Biao Incident And The People’s Liberation Army Of Purges

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A hallmark of communist military culture is the ruthless purge of the most senior commanders who are considered able but simultaneously threatening to the supreme leader. During the Great Purge of the 1930s, Stalin purged three of his five Red Army marshals, thirteen of his fifteen army commanders, and eight of his nine admirals.

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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.