Military History

Louis Barthas: Eyewitness to the French Army Mutinies, May-June 1917

Edward M. Strauss— “On May 26 [1917] the first American combat troops arrived in France…. “The arrival of the first American troops coincided with a dramatic change on the French sector of the Western Front, where the growing number of desertions turned, on May 27, to mutiny.  At the Front

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The Mongols and the Islamic World from Conquest to Conversion

The Mongol conquest of the Islamic world began in the early thirteenth century when Chinggis Khan and his warriors overran Central Asia and devastated much of Iran. “What event or circumstance in these times has been more important than the beginning of the reign of Chinggis Khan?” asked Rashid al-Din,

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A Sociological Look at World War Combat

Alan Allport— The Second World War was not just one of the two greatest military efforts ever undertaken by the United Kingdom, but also, albeit quite by chance, one of its two greatest ever sociological experiments. Between 1939 and 1945, Britain mobilized around 5.8 million men and 640,000 women for

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Remembering (and Forgetting) Collective History

David Rieff— Lawrence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen” was first published in the London Times on September 21, 1914, six weeks after the Great War had begun. It is sometimes suggested that Binyon, who was a distinguished art historian as well as a poet (he was the British Museum’s Keeper

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The CIA’s Drone Policy Under Trump

Christopher J. Fuller— President Trump’s agenda has borrowed heavily from Reagan. Tax cuts, a military buildup, and even the slogan “Make America Great Again” were all signatures of the 1980 presidential campaign, noisily repackaged for a new age. Within a day of assuming office, Trump revealed a further resonance with

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Looking Back at the First World War

Today marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I. To commemorate the day, we sat down with Bruno Cabanes, author of August 1914: France, the Great War, and a Month that Changed the World Forever, to discuss what he discovered about the war through his research and

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Allies in Africa: Strategy and Victory in World War II

Andrew Stewart— When the first shots were fired in the summer of 1940 along Sudanese and Kenyan borders, there was a great deal of interest across the British Empire in the war’s expansion into a hitherto largely ignored region. With France close to collapse, the “Italian Jackal” Benito Mussolini had

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The Spanish Monarchy in the Mediterranean Theater

Christopher Storrs— Between the peace of Utrecht that marked the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 and the close of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1748, King Philip V (1700-46), the first Spanish Bourbon, represented a greater threat to peace in Europe than any other state or

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The Invention of the Modern Soldier

Libby Murphy— During the Great War, French soldiers struggled to make sense of their experience, both for themselves and for their compatriots. Soldier-writers used fiction to recalibrate civilians’ expectations about the war and to teach them to see through the “skull-stuffing” of the mainstream media—exaggeration, euphemisms, and outright lies. Many of

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Frederick Barbarossa’s Bittersweet Ending

John Freed— On 22 June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa. Hitler’s personal decision to name the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union after Frederick Barbarossa (b. 1122, r. 1152-90) was the culmination of the nineteenth-century appropriation of the medieval emperor as the symbol of German national unity. Frederick’s uncle and

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