Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Military Handbooks

On War, by Carl von Clausewitz (translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret)

by Williamson Murrayvia Classics of Military History
Monday, May 16, 2016

Of all the efforts to discover existential truths about the fundamental nature of war, Clausewitz’s On War comes closest to the mark. Tragically, Clausewitz died before he could complete his work. Yet, what he left us captures a number of fundamental truths. 

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The Myth Of Progress

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

President Obama thinks the world is destined to become a more just place, but history proves otherwise. 

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Understanding China’s Strategic Culture Through Its South China Sea Gambit

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 9, 2016

While armed conflicts still rage in Syria, Iraq, and other troubled spots of the world, a major conflagration of epic proportions that may involve some of the world’s most powerful sovereign powers, including the United States, China, Japan, and even Russia, is brewing in earnest in the South China Sea. At the center of this conflict is China’s extravagant maritime and territorial claims for almost the entire South China Sea, riling most countries in the region, upsetting key stakeholders along the world’s busiest commercial shipping lanes, and challenging key international maritime laws and interpretative frames of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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North Korean Missiles And Greek Spears

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 29, 2016

North Korea has launched three intermediate range ballistic missiles in the last two weeks. Each one was a failure and ended in an explosion or crash. The UN Security Council has banned such tests and issued a warning about increasing sanctions if such misbehavior continues. Indeed, there might be worse trouble in store. Many expect North Korea to conduct another nuclear test, its fifth. On May 6 the country is holding the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years.

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World War II Amnesia

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

For seventy years, the war’s lessons guided U.S. foreign policy—but no longer.

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by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 25, 2016

Russia’s recent buzzing of NATO ships and planes in the Baltic points to something bigger. In the past several years Russia has engaged in a major naval and military buildup in the Baltic region. The epicenter is the city of Kaliningrad, Russia’s forward operating base, located on the south shore of the Baltic between Lithuania and Poland—about 600 miles southwest of St. Petersburg, Russia. The Kaliningrad area houses the Russian Baltic fleet and two air bases. It boasts Russia’s only year-round ice-free port on the Baltic Sea.

Autobiography & Memoir

The Gallic War, by Julius Caesar

by Bruce Thorntonvia Classics of Military History
Friday, April 22, 2016

Caesar’s commentaries describe his campaign to pacify Gaul––modern France, Belgium, and parts of Switzerland––that took place from 58-50 B.C. Caesar’s work is an important resource for historians of Roman military tactics and imperial expansion, as well as for those investigating the tribes and geography of Western Europe.

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Uneasy Allies: America, Turkey, And The Kurds

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 22, 2016

A small news item about Turkish-American relations and the latest stage of the Syrian civil war recalls the wisdom of Lord Palmerston, a mid-19th-century British prime minister. He said that England had no eternal allies or perpetual enemies but only eternal and perpetual interests. The same could be said of Turkey, the U.S. or any state.

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Maskirovka And The Greeks

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On April 14, a Russian jet barrel-rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane doing a routine flight in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. That followed an incident on April 12 in the Baltic Sea, when Russian jets made close-range and low-altitude passes near a U.S. navy destroyer engaged in joint exercises with its NATO ally Poland. 

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America the Weak

by Bing Westvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, March 31, 2016

We’re losing our wars because our enemies do not fear us and our allies don’t trust us.


Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow
Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia
Research Fellow
Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow
Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Milbank Family Senior Fellow
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow
Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow
Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow
W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow
Visiting Fellow
Research Fellow
Research Fellow / National Security Affairs Fellow 2008-2009

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.