Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Thoughts On The Fragility Of Civilization

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Thursday, March 25, 2021

A 2017 Norwegian-Irish film (The King’s Choice) examines the hard choice that the nation’s monarch, Haakon VII, confronted in the dark days that followed the German invasion of his country on April 9, 1940.

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The Assault On Our Past

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The assault on our past continues unabated. In its efforts to further “racial healing” in something called the “historical reckoning project,” the City of Chicago is deciding whether to eliminate some forty plus statues from its environs.

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The Remnants Of The Confederacy

by Williamson Murrayvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Perhaps there was nothing more troubling during the dismal events of January 6, 2021 than the picture of the bedraggled individual carrying the battle flag of the Confederacy through the hallowed halls of the Capitol. Only a few days before the Congress of the United States had called for the renaming of U.S. Army forts in the South which carried the names of Confederate generals, a measure that had passed over the veto of President Trump.

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Questions Remain At A Mass Grave In Holland

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 22, 2021

The discovery of a mass grave of 81 British soldiers from the War of the First Coalition in Holland has focused attention on a conflict that seems to contradict some of what is assumed about coalition warfare, and poses a central question about the early days of the Revolutionary Wars of 1792-97: Why did the Allies do so badly against the French in the Netherlands?

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Who Was The Warrior King At Sutton Hoo?

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The newly-released movie The Dig starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, based on the superb novel of the same name by John Preston, has focussed attention on one of the great mysteries of Anglo-Saxon history: who was the great warrior who was buried in his warship under the mound at Sutton Hoo?

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The Puzzle Of Rome’s Lost Legion

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, February 1, 2021

One of the great mysteries of history has re-emerged this week: the fate of the Roman Ninth Legion (Legio IX Hispana), which seemingly disappeared around AD 108, never to be seen or heard of again.

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Compelling Peace

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Monday, October 26, 2020

Between October 12 and 19, 1895, British Major General Sir Bindon Blood, K.C.B., after a bloody four-month campaign, accepted the surrender of the Mamund tribe of India’s Northwest province, along with that of its Afghan allies. The British had prevailed.

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Does International Law Promote Peace Or War?

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

On October 24, 1648, the Holy Roman Empire, Sweden, Spain, France, several German princi-palities, etc. signed what became known as the Treaty of Westphalia, or the Peace of Westphalia, ending thirty years of war among European sovereigns, ostensibly about whether the Roman Catholic Church or the several reformed churches should be practiced or forbidden, but actually about the prerogatives of political sovereignty. Though the sovereigns continued to disagree about church matters, they agreed completely that their rule would be absolute in the places they controlled.

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Anti-Colonialism’s American Wars

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Europe’s political-military impotence continues to burden the United States. October reminds us that the key events in the creation of this impotence occurred during this month in 1956, and that U.S. policy bears substantial responsibility for creating it.

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Colonialism and War

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Military History in the News
Thursday, October 1, 2020

“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” And, after 33 days of dead reckoning navigation, he bumped into the Western Hemisphere on October 12. Spain’s colonization began as a military conquista, coupled with the extraction of precious metals. Within fifty years, Spanish colonists had built cathedrals and libraries in Mexico and Peru. A century later, British civilians colonized North America.


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
Corliss Page Dean Visiting Fellow
Research Fellow
Robert Alexander Mercer Visting 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.