In Germany, military history was viewed totally as operational, useful in the examination of principles and strategy. Hans
Delbruck saw this approach as too narrow. He expanded the German operational concept to include general ideas and
In France, Jean Jaures, prominent socialist, political leader, and theologian, approached military history from another
viewpoint. Jaures saw military history as a reflection of the composition and aspirations of the nation involved.
In Russia, M. V. Frunze followed Marx and Lenin in their acceptance of Clausewitz's view of war as an extension of
politics. At the same time, he accepted Jaures theories as the basic of a much broader definition of military history.
Following World War II, Stalin attempted to refute the theories of Clausewitz, but with only partial success. Today, the
Soviet approach to military history is still based on the relationship of military and national activity.
During this same period in the United States, military history was viewed as a systematic analysis of how military forces of
a country waged war. A 1937 reference text from Fort Benning defined military history as:
The professional analysis of events and operations.
Following World War II and the Korean War, military history was criticized, especially by the civilian sector, as too narrow.
These critics felt that to be of value, military history must also be a study of war itself and encompass all aspects of the
social, political, and economic order. Military history has broadened in focus as war has become more industrialized and
The United States Army's present concept of what comprises military history reflects these shifts in approach. This
present concept includes:
How nations prepare for war.
How nations wage and terminate wars.
How preparation for and fighting wars influences society.
How nations assign and regulate the peacetime functions of armed forces.
In order to study military history within the framework of the present concept, you must be historically minded. You must
be able to: habitually solve problems by searching for broad themes that trace developments over lengthy periods, try to
identify cause-and-effect relationships, analyze past events and actions in the context of their own times, and consider
present circumstances in the light of the past.