Military History

Hitler and Moscow, 1941: A Counter-Factual Speculation

Stephen G. Fritz— It is mid-September 1941. The unpredictable late summer weather in Russia has turned in Germany’s favor, as has the military situation. In late August, with the nightmarish and costly fighting near Smolensk finally concluded, Adolf Hitler has ordered German armored forces turned to the south where, in

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The Correspondence of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin

David Reynolds— For nearly four years, and against all the odds, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin led the most effective alliance in history. Yet they met face-to-face only twice. Instead, the ‘Big Three’ had to communicate through secret telegrams and coded letters. They exchanged more than six hundred messages

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1919: A Poilu Comes Home

Edward M. Strauss— Mobilized in August 1914 at age 35, infantry Corporal Louis Barthas spent almost four years in the trenches. After his health collapsed in early 1918 he served in rear echelons, guarding German POW’s and training young French conscripts in Brittany. He remained in uniform after the November

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Reconstructing Seapower

Andrew Lambert— In the late 1880s, American strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan coined the term “sea power” by purposefully splitting the word “seapower,” a direct translation of the Greek thalassokratia, to sustain his agenda. The Greek word had been used by Herodotus and Thucydides to describe states which were

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European Couples: Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— On July 20, 1944, a bomb exploded in the Wolf’s Lair, Adolf Hitler’s East Prussian Headquarters. The Nazi leader survived. Hours later, he received Benito Mussolini. This would be the final encounter between Mussolini and Hitler, leaders of Europe’s most significant fascist dictatorships. It took place almost exactly

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The Hero and the Madman: Two American Myths

Mary Stockwell— Even the most hidebound analytical historian can’t resist the archetype of the hero. The hero comes forward  at the beginning of great events, sets out on a quest, often against a terrifying foe, and in the process wins glory for himself. At the founding of the United States, one

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Knowing How to Win at Acre

John D. Hosler— The oracle at Delphi advised, “Know Thyself,” and the rock band Rage Against the Machine screamed, “Know Your Enemy.” Which is more important for winning a war? Or rather, is it both? Military historians are keenly interested in the extent to which armies knew and understood the abilities

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The Turning Point that Could Have Been Avoided

Guy Laron— With the moving of the American embassy to the Jerusalem last month, the American-Israeli alliance has never looked stronger. However, even close allies can experience crises. Such was the case when Israel’s naval and air forces bombed and torpedoed the USS Liberty on 8 June 1967, killing thirty-four

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The Future of War

A.C. Grayling— The history of drones is surprisingly long, as a special form of ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’ (UAV) long since developed to undertake tasks considered ‘too dull, dirty or dangerous’ for human beings. UAVs were in rudimentary use before the First World War for target practice, they served as flying

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Clare Hollingworth Breaks the News of WWII

Ray Moseley— Lynn Heinzerling of the AP and George Kidd of UP shared the distinction of being the first correspondents to hear the opening shots of World War II. A few hours before the shelling of Danzig began, Heinzerling overheard a German officer in his hotel place an urgent 3:15

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