LEARNING EVENT 3
The true test of the value of a study of military history is in your ability to learn from it. If you are able to learn from history,
then you possess the mental quality of "historical mindedness." A person who is "historically minded" has all of the
Habitually solves problems by searching for broad themes that trace developments over lengthy periods.
Tries to identify cause and effect relationships.
Analyzes past events and actions in the context of their own times.
Considers present circumstances in the light of the past.
Remember, each of the above items are not separate. They always belong together as a set.
Evolution of the Concept of "Historical Mindedness"
The study of military history has not always focused on the factors that comprise "historical mindedness." The search by
military historians for the key to unlock the past has led to conflicting theories.
In the early 1800s, Jomini, concerned primarily with strategy, identified three approaches. The first, or "pure," approach,
involved the reporting of each detail of a given battle, regardless of its significance. This approach ignored analysis. The
second approach involved the use of a battle or campaign to examine principles of war. The third approach was political-
military. Here, war was examined in its broadest spectrum in its relationship to political, social, and economic factors.
At the same time, Karl von Clausewitz was seeking to explain the entire problem of war. In his attempt to develop a
theory of war, he concentrated on basic aspects of conflicts between nations. On one hand, he recorded the political,
social, and economic factors involved. On the other hand, he carefully analyzed and criticized principles of generalship.
In the early 1900s, several individuals in Europe focused on a broader view of military history. In England, Sir John W.
Fortescue categorized military history as a "history of the external police of communities and nations."