Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Rabaul, August 1943

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The naval and air bases that Japan established at Rabaul on the eastern edge of New Britain Island in 1942 became the leading edge of its resistance to America’s return to the Western Pacific. Five hundred miles from the nearest Australian air base and supported by nearby Japanese naval and air power, Rabaul almost prevented America’s power, projected as it was from across the Pacific, from gaining a toehold in Guadalcanal, on the easternmost edge of the Solomon Islands. That notwithstanding, Rabaul continued to dominate the Southwest Pacific.

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Did China Have A Chance To Win The Opium War?

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The most consequential war involving a European nation in Asia in the 19th century is the 1839-1842 Opium War. The war was fought between a large British expeditionary force composed of nearly 20,000 British troops and three dozen of the Royal Navy’s modern warships, against about 100,000 Chinese defenders. 

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China’s Strategic Ambiguity

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 25, 2018

Since the end of the Cold War, leading Western military leaders and strategists have consistently pressured China to answer a meaningless question: “What are your intentions for the massive military buildup?”

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The Dialectics Of Host And Guest On The Korean Peninsula

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 18, 2018

In the ancient Chinese military strategy classic, Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong, the great Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong of the 7th century famously ruminated that, “In war, we prefer the position of the host to that of the guest.”

Know Neither Your Enemy Nor Yourself—The Lessons of Vietnam

by Miles Maochun Yuvia Military History in the News
Monday, June 11, 2018

The sage, albeit overly quoted, wisdom of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu still applies in modern warfare: “Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.”

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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.