Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Mud-Level Reason Our Nation-Building Fails

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our military leaders have just proclaimed a renewed, more-effective policy for Afghanistan, which they assure us will turn around the decaying situation.

We’ll see…

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Network Concerns

by Mark Moyarfeaturing Niall Fergusonvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The publication this month of Niall Ferguson’s new book The Square and the Tower has illuminated both the power of networks and the human tendency to overstate the power of networks. For longer than one might expect, tech enthusiasts, corporate executives, social scientists, and military theorists have proclaimed that networks will revolutionize some, if not all, aspects of human existence, generally for the better. As Ferguson’s book explains in devastating detail, their lofty visions have been repeatedly confounded by reality.

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Cornstalks, Calvinball, And The Bridges At Toko Ri: Rightsizing The U.S. Navy

by Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. via Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The main street of Washington, Georgia, is called Toombs Avenue in honor of the Georgia senator and Civil War general who was born nearby. In promoting the South’s secession as the war approached, Toombs reportedly claimed, “We can beat those Yankees with cornstalks!”

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

The Sinews Of Empire

by Seth Cropseyvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Modern scholars of politics revel in their complex descriptions of state action. Rather than oversimplifying and reducing the state to a unitary body, they separate its internal components and assess each of their relative strengths. There’s something to this.

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The Legacy Of Operation Desert Storm

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On January 16, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced the start of armed hostilities with Iraq. Operation Desert Storm, as the Americans called the offensive, followed the five months of Operation Desert Shield, during which American and allied forces from around the world had sailed to the Persian Gulf to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

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A Stretched Navy And A Fiscal Disconnect

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last year, within two weeks’ time, two deadly collisions of U.S. Navy ships in western Pacific sea-lanes brought home the reality of a Navy in increasing demand yet stretched precariously thin. The captains and those responsible on watch those nights, as they operated in congested Asian waters, were held to account, but it remains the nation that has allowed and accepted the conditions that led to those tragic events and the loss of 17 sailors.

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Wilson’s Fourteen Points

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

One hundred years ago this week, Woodrow Wilson delivered his Fourteen Points address to a joint session of Congress.

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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.

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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.

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Civilians Win Wars, Too

by Kori Schakevia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shielding civilians from warfare has not always been routine practice. Homer tells of Troy in flames, soldiers of the Greek alliance raping, pillaging, and burning the city to the ground. Thucydides recounts how in 427 B.C. the Athenians nearly killed all the rebellious Mytilenean men and enslaved their women and children, but ultimately executed only the leaders of the revolt. Over a decade later in 416/5 B.C, the Athenians failed to exercise restraint and did bring about that very punishment against the neutrality-seeking Melians.

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From left to right: Bing West, Peter Mansoor, Ralph Peters, Victor Davis Hanson

Military History Working Group meets at Hoover

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict met for a workshop during October 7 and 8 to chart its long-term objectives and review its new online journal, Strategika.

News

The Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict examines how knowledge of past military operations can influence contemporary public policy decisions concerning current conflicts. 


As the very name of Hoover Institution attests, military history lies at the very core of our dedication to the study of "War, Revolution, and Peace." Indeed, the precise mission statement of the Hoover Institution includes the following promise: "The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life." From its origins as a library and archive, the Hoover Institution has evolved into one of the foremost research centers in the world for policy formation and pragmatic analysis. It is with this tradition in mind, that the "Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict" has set its agenda—reaffirming the Hoover Institution's dedication to historical research in light of contemporary challenges, and in particular, reinvigorating the national study of military history as an asset to foster and enhance our national security. By bringing together a diverse group of distinguished military historians, security analysts, and military veterans and practitioners, the working group seeks to examine the conflicts of the past as critical lessons for the present.

Victor Davis Hanson on War in the Contemporary World — WATCH

The careful study of military history offers a way of analyzing modern war and peace that is often underappreciated in this age of technological determinism. Yet the result leads to a more in-depth and dispassionate understanding of contemporary wars, one that explains how particular military successes and failures of the past can be often germane, sometimes misunderstood, or occasionally irrelevant in the context of the present.

The working group is chaired by Victor Davis Hanson with counsel from Bruce S. Thornton and David L. Berkey, along with collaboration form the group’s distinguished scholars, military historians, analysts, journalists, and military officers.