Military History

Medieval Strategy? The Great “Leper Conspiracy” of 1321

Steve Tibble— Researching the development of the crusader states helped me appreciate the sensitive and sophisticated nature of medieval strategy. But it also demonstrated how extraordinarily disappointing human beings could be—and still are, of course. At the end of the crusades, the Templars were suppressed by King Philip the Fair.

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Medieval Strategy? Do Fish Need Bicycles?

Steve Tibble— It is easy to see medieval warfare and politics as being long on activity, but chronically short on reflection. To misquote the 1970s feminist rallying cry, it is pretty obvious that hairy, unwashed medieval warriors needed strategy every bit as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Or

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Echoes of Edward in British Politics

Tom Licence— As Edward the Confessor lay dying in 1066, according to his contemporary biographer, he foresaw the Norman invasion and England’s downfall within a year. Sir Winston Churchill, in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, alludes to this prophecy at the end of his account of Edward’s reign. “The

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Female Fortitude in the Fog of War

Lorri Glover— During the long war—at once a civil and a guerilla conflict—armed bands ransacked homes and ravaged communities at will, with impunity. Combatants made little distinction between civilians and soldiers, so that the front lines bled into the home front. Armies and vigilant mobs burned fields and slaughtered livestock

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The Meetings of Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— The meetings between Mussolini and Hitler were robust projections of an aggressive challenge to the Wilsonian post-war order. The Fascist and Nazi regimes defied lurking tensions to promote a powerful image of unity, a unity symbolised by the dictatorial friends meeting amidst their peoples – in marked contrast

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The Perils of Peacemaking

Paul A. Rahe— It is much easier to initiate a great war than to end one. Even when an attempt to do the latter seems, to the unsuspecting glance, to be an unqualified success, it frequently lays the foundations for a renewal of the struggle. The origins of the Second

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Sinking the SS Athenia

Evan Mawdsley— The SS Athenia was a substantial vessel, but not one of the great liners; a passenger ship of some 13,500 tons, with accommodation for 1,000 passengers, her speed was 15 knots: the white stripe on her single thin black funnel marked her as one of the ships of

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Christian Ecumenism in the Crusades

Steve Tibble— The main Christian groups in the crusader states were the Greek Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, the Armenians, the Maronites and, particularly once colonial rural settlement began to gather pace in the second quarter of the twelfth century, the Frankish Catholics. Religious bigotry was far less prevalent than one

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Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

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The Life of an American Seaman

Stephen Taylor— He was a patriot who took up arms in the Revolution against the Crown. Jacob Nagle was aged just fifteen when he set out from his Pennsylvania home in 1777 to join his father in Washington’s army. Once independence had been won, however, Nagle had no difficulty in

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