LEARNING EVENT 2
MAJOR ELEMENTS OF MILITARY HISTORY HAVING CAREER VALUE FOR OFFICERS
Despite the advice of General Patton and countless others, the study of military history has not always enjoyed the Army's
full support. World War II military leaders were carefully and generously exposed to historical studies. However, following
World War II, the study of history was, for the most part, forgotten.
The information explosion that followed the war was partly responsible. It added so greatly to the areas of knowledge
important to officers that history became overwhelming. Rapid technological advances led people to believe that the past
had no application to the present.
In 1970, largely due to the efforts of retiring Chief of Military History, Brig. Gen. Hal C. Pattison, interest in military
history was revived. Today, the Army fully recognizes the value of the study of history.
Traditionally, soldiers have viewed the study of military history as a tool of the soldier. In contrast, the scholar's view of
the study of military history is "knowledge for knowledge's sake." In reality, the study of military history contributes in both
During the course of your career, you may never see combat, and yet you must prepare for it. Although what you can
learn in a study of military history can not replace what you would learn in battle, it does help. It can point out what is
important in combat. A careful reading of military history permits you to analyze operations to broaden and deepen your
understanding. Although it is not the "real thing," history can tell you what has been attempted, under what conditions and
with what results.
Military history offers soldiers an opportunity to improve their professional qualifications. Lacking actual combat
experience, the soldier of today will do well to turn to the study of past wars. Even if you do have combat experience, it is
really not complete without professional study.
Military history can prepare both you and your men for combat. Soldiers may adjust more quickly to combat if they know
that others have overcome similar, and worse, conditions.
Military history can help you to define and appreciate the meaning of professionalism. Your personal understanding will
be shaped by learning how others have defined professionalism in the past. History helps provide answers to questions
such as the following:
What does professionalism require?