Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Guns Of August

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In 1962, Barbara Tuchman published The Guns of August, a book about the negotiations among the Great Powers that led to the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. Her thesis was that bungled diplomacy caused the war. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and is said to have influenced President John F. Kennedy in his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis later that year.

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Hagia Sophia Becomes A Mosque Once Again

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

On Friday, July 24, Hagia Sophia was reopened as a mosque, after about a century as a museum. About 1,000 people attended Friday prayers there. The date, July 24, was not chosen at random, but marks a significant moment in military history.

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The “Miracle” Of Dunkirk

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

For those of us stuck in social isolation, which would be just about everyone these days, binge watching TV and cable series has turned from an occasional weekend activity to a national pastime. Stuck in a post-“Game of Thrones” void, I asked my students for suggestions on what to watch. They turned me on to “The Man in the High Castle,” a four-season drama about a dystopian alternate universe in which the Axis powers win World War II and establish puppet states in North America. 

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Space—The Final Military Frontier?

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 18, 2020

Late last week defense leaders presented the flag of the newly created U.S. Space Force to President Donald Trump in a ceremony in the Oval Office. The new Space Force emblem, eerily reminiscent of the logo for Starfleet Command in the Star Trek sci-fi series, now takes its place alongside those of the five other U.S. armed services. 

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Ordering Moments In History

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

At irregular and rare moments in history, something happens that fundamentally changes the economic, political, or societal order. These historical “ordering moments” are related to black swan events, seemingly unpredictable occurrences with extreme consequences. But all black swans are not created equal. 

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Victory In Europe—75 Years Later

by Peter R. Mansoorvia Military History in the News
Monday, May 11, 2020

Seventy-five years ago, the guns fell silent in Europe as Germany capitulated to the Grand Alliance of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and other allied powers. There were actually two surrender ceremonies. At 2:41 am on May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht Operations Staff, signed the instrument of surrender in General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces headquarters in Reims, France. 

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Embracing de Gaulle

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Oooh la la! The news that a new biopic movie about General Charles de Gaulle is about to be released showing him making love to his wife Yvonne shortly before the Germans invaded France in 1940 has left the normally-relaxed French all of a fluster.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and CommentaryNational Security

The Scourge Of Pandemics

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The outbreak of Coronavirus has prompted a good deal of interest in the Spanish Influenza that killed so many people at the end of World War One. 

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Quarantines, Soldiers, And Cities

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

At the end of a lecture on future threats to the Missouri National Guard a few years ago, I was asked what unexpected event might challenge their capabilities. I replied that a mission impossible would result from an explosively lethal pandemic that triggered quarantines on major cities—their enforcement efforts would fail, due to the physical structures of today’s urban areas.

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2,500 Years Of The Usual Suspects

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

As competing powers gnaw at the last bleeding morsel of Syria—Idlib province on the Turkish border—what’s remarkable isn’t that these offspring of ancient empires are fighting, but that they’ve been fighting each other for millennia. No bursts of genocide or epochs of oppression could finish off the major players engaged: Arabs, Turks, Persians and, not least the last inheritors of Byzantium (represented by Vladimir Putin, self-proclaimed defender of Orthodox Christianity). 


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
Research Fellow / National Security Affairs Fellow 2008-2009
Milbank Family Senior Fellow
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Davies Family Distinguished 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

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.