Military History

Changing the Guard at Sea

Evan Mawdsley— For seventy-five years the United States has possessed what is, by a very considerable margin, the most powerful navy in the world. It has been an agent of global influence, in times of both war and peace. The US Navy replaced the British Royal Navy, which had held

Continue reading…

Bugging the Nazis in World War II

Helen Fry— In 1939 British intelligence took over Trent Park in North London, the former country house of the aristocrat Sir Philip Sassoon. The house was “wired for sound,” and a hidden workforce of men and women moved in. This was one of three secret sites where German prisoners, and

Continue reading…

The Rising of Croatia

Marcus Tanner— The long rule of the Turks over most of Croatia came to a sudden end in the 1680s. Responsibility for the conflict fell squarely on the Turks. In 1683 the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Kara Mustafa, decided to revive the tradition of conquest of the previous century. Marching an

Continue reading…

Sparta and Athens: From Peace to War

Paul A. Rahe— In his now neglected masterpiece Marlborough: His Life and Times, Winston Churchill once hazarded the following observation: Battles are the principal milestones in secular history. Modern opinion resents this uninspiring truth, and historians often treat the decisions in the field as incidents in the dramas of politics

Continue reading…

Horse Thieves and the Bandit Tradition

Mark Galeotti— Periodic epidemics, crop failure and other disaster cannot compare with the harm that horse thieves bring to the countryside. The horse thief holds peasants in perpetual, uninterrupted fear. Georgy Breitman, 1901 The horse thief lived a violent, dangerous life, at risk from both the police and peasant lynch

Continue reading…

Israel and the Conundrums of the Left

Susie Linfield— Both the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Labour Party in Britain are in a tizzy over issues relating to Israel and anti-Semitism. Stateside, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s various statements about Israel, AIPAC, hypnosis, dual loyalties, and “Benjamins” sent the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives into months of tormented

Continue reading…

Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon— A drop of sweat fell on the edge of the piece of paper and I stopped reading. His handwriting was neat and confident. The ink was black, maybe from a ballpoint pen. The words were perched like birds on lines that looked like small sky-blue threads running across

Continue reading…

What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…