Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group

Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

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). 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Golden Age Of Mercenaries

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

“Mad Mike” Hoare, the most-notorious mercenary leader of the Cold War, died on February 2nd, at age 100. Best known for leading his “Wild Geese” through the turmoil of post-independence Africa—where he served various paymasters, including the CIA—Hoare was a pitiless killer who cultivated a swashbuckling public image. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

March Routes, Trade Routes, Plague Routes

by Ralph Petersvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

War and trade have been the great abettors of epidemic disease throughout history. Despite remarkable advances in public health practices, sanitation, medicine, and awareness over the past century and a half, the old patterns persist, if—for now—on a less-lethal scale. Just a decade ago, United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal carried cholera to Haiti. Thousands died. As you read this, a multi-sided conflict in eastern Congo and its vicinity challenges health workers struggling to fight Ebola.

Featured Commentary

Europe’s Mediterranean Frontier

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The Mediterranean abruptly separates Europe’s civilization from those of Africa and the Middle East. On one side, reaching North to Scandinavia and East to the Bering Strait, some seven hundred million mostly prosperous people live according to principles derived from Judeo-Christianity, Greek philosophy, and Roman law. Their number is shrinking. 

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and CommentaryNational Security

The Wrong Side Of The Pillars Of Hercules: The Mediterranean Just Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore

by Ralph Petersvia Strategika
Friday, December 27, 2019

The United States is an Atlantic and Pacific power by virtue of geography, strategic necessity, and economic opportunity. A forward defense of the far littorals—Europe and the East-Asian barrier states facing China—is the essential requirement for our security. All else is not only secondary or tertiary, but often an ill-advised and grossly costly drain on our resources.


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.