Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Fighting To Leave: The Devolution Of The American War Aims In Afghanistan

by Bing West via Military History in the News
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In early winter of 2001, an invading force of fewer than 10,000 American soldiers, Marines, Special Forces, and CIA operatives stampeded the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces across Afghanistan. A punitive campaign of historic brevity and one-sided casualties was about to end. Then our most senior officials made two disastrous decisions. First, General Tommy Franks, the commander of the invasion, refused to employ American forces to seal off the al-Qaeda remnants, including Osama bin Laden, hiding in the Tora Bora mountains. Instead, General Franks handed the fight over to unreliable Afghan warlords, who let bin Laden and al-Qaeda escape into Afghanistan.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

The Space Force’s Value

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Monday, October 15, 2018

Imagine what power would accrue to the nation were its military—on the ground, at sea, and in the air—to be backed by a force able to decide whether or how any other country might benefit from objects in orbital space; if that nation were to control access to orbit, securing such objects and benefits for itself. Today, who can do what to whom in or by using orbital space makes a big difference. The world’s significant militaries live by information from and communications through objects in orbital space. Inevitably, sooner or later, one will bid for the comprehensive capacity to control that space. Better that America be first. Establishing the U.S. Space Force will endow people with the mission—the goal, the will, and the interest—to make U.S. control of space happen.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Bloodiest Battle In American History

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Thursday, September 27, 2018

One hundred years ago this week doughboys of the American Expeditionary Forces went over the top in the Meuse River–Argonne Forest region of France, marking the beginning of what would become the bloodiest battle in American history. More than 1.2 million American soldiers took part in the six-week battle, part of a larger Allied effort known as the Hundred Days Offensive. By the time the battle concluded with an armistice on November 11, 1918, more than 26,000 U.S. soldiers—half of American combat fatalities in the Great War—would lie dead on the blood-soaked fields of France, with another 100,000 wounded-in-action.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Hama Rules Revisited

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 24, 2018

In 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood launched an uprising against the rule of Hafez al-Assad, the authoritarian ruler of Syria. The rebellion never stood a chance. After initial attacks on February 3 killed scores of Ba’athist leaders and rebels seized the city of Hama, the Syrian government reacted by sending 12,000 troops to besiege and retake the city. 

Fort Trump—A Permanent U.S. Military Base in Poland?

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Following a meeting in the Oval office on September 18, President Donald Trump said he is considering a request from Polish President Andrzej Duda to permanently station American troops in his country. Duda even offered to name the military facility “Fort Trump” and to provide more than $2 billion to help finance it. Poland desires the protection and stability that a permanent U.S. presence on its soil offers. One can sympathize with the Polish desire for a superpower security umbrella.

Will China One Day Dominate the Seas? History Provides Some Clues

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, September 10, 2018

China has recently launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, doubling its embryonic capacity to project power on the world’s oceans. A third carrier is under construction, with more to follow in due course. China has militarized its artificial islands in the South China Sea, extending its security barrier away from the Asian coast. It has fielded anti-access area denial weapons, including so-called “carrier killer” ballistic missiles that can reach Guam, to keep foreign warships away from Chinese waters should war come to East Asia. 

Background EssayFeatured

Toe-To-Toe With The Russkis: Is Realistic Engagement With The Russians Still Possible?

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In the greatest film ever made about the human dimensions of strategy, director Stanley Kubrick’s Cold-War masterpiece, Doctor Strangelove, an excited strategic bomber pilot speaks of “noo-cullar combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkis.” But the lengthy annals of Americans and Russians tramping on each other’s feet followed a brief interlude when we danced the light fantastic to our mutual benefit, with neither side’s dancing shoes scuffed.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Europe’s Deep Localism And Populism

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Thursday, August 23, 2018

On June 25, 1183, representatives of Italy’s Lombard League met Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa on Lake Konstanz to receive his signature on a charter promising to respect the effective independence of the League’s component cities, as well as the League’s right to continue defending that independence by force of arms.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Squaring Ends And Means

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Self-determination for countries that had been occupied by Nazi Germany—Poland in particular—was foremost of the common objectives to which President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winton Churchill committed on August 14, 1941 after meeting on the British battleship Prince of Wales off Newfoundland. Germany’s invasion of Poland had been the reason why Britain had declared war. Restoring Poland’s freedom was the war’s first-order objective. The Soviet Union’s 1939 partnership with Germany in that invasion and, by August 1941, its alliance with Britain, added a layer of difficulties. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Nuclear Birthday

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On August 6 and 9, the popular mind recalls the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by nuclear bombs, congratulates itself that no such weapons have been used since, and pleases to imagine that none will be used ever again. Never mind that they have ceased to be exotic, that nine governments now possess them (Iran is on the cusp of joining them), and that just about any government so inclined can have them. There is near-unanimity that nuclear power “changed everything, forever.” Not quite.

Pages

Chair
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow
Member
Williams-Griffis 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
Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow
Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow
W. Glenn Campbell Research Fellow
Research Fellow

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.