Why Read Military History?
Military History in the
Military History Institute
The Strategic Research
Historian are drawn from throughout the faculty and staff of the U.S. Army War College and the Military History Institute.
The study of history in general, and military history in particular, is intended to provide depth, breadth of understanding, and inculcate a sense of historical mindedness.
The underlying intellectual premise for the curriculum is that there are four integral, important, but individually cast independent courses of study. These are derived from Elihu Root's vision of the three great problems confronting military leaders, command, strategy and operations. They are represented by the academic departments, Command and Leadership and Management; National Security and Strategy; and Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations. History is the fourth discipline.
The underlying assumption is that it matters that leaders who wrestle with Root's three great problems do so in the broadest possible context. We believe that the study of history is a discipline important to the profession of arms. It is the capstone piece. Officers now expect to get the historical dimension in their studies, feel a need to have it, and would be disappointed if they did not get it.
History is so pervasive that we find it used throughout the curriculum. Fundamentally, history is embedded in, rather than added on, to the curriculum. Ideally, every member of the faculty should be able to provide the historical perspective, but from a practical standpoint not all are sufficiently grounded in history or feel competent to ensure that history receives the visibility and attention it deserves in the curriculum. Consequently, the historian has been added to the faculty team.
Some possess advanced degrees in history, others have taught history at the undergraduate or graduate level, and still others have military backgrounds that have afforded them the opportunities to pursue their interest in history. Historians teach some lessons within the core curriculum and some lead the Gettysburg staff ride. Many offer history related advanced courses. All are available to sponsor strategic research writing topics.