THE ROLE OF MILITARY HISTORY IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
This lesson defines and distinguishes between history, military history, and the categories of military history. The major
elements of military history having career value for officers are identified and explained. Finally, this lesson discusses
"historical mindedness," how it evolved, and its applications for the military professional.
LEARNING EVENT 1
CATEGORIES OF MILITARY HISTORY
Military History Defined
Before looking directly at military history and its categories, consider for a moment the general definition of history.
According to the dictionary, history is:
A chronological record of significant events, usually with an explanation of their causes.
A branch of knowledge that records and explains past events.
Events that form the subject matter of history.
History has meant different things to different people at different times. As a result, there have been many varieties of
history evolve through the ages. One variety may focus on history as a story while another may focus on an interpretation
to form a thesis of world events. The variety we will explore is, of course, military history. Military history may be defined
A record of military and related activities in peace and in war.
On 6 June 1944, Allied forces began the invasion of Normandy. On this same day, General George Patton addressed a
letter to his son, a cadet at the United States Military Academy:
". . .to be a successful soldier, you must know history."
For the military professional, the study of history helps provide an understanding of the forces that have shaped the
It was not until the early 1800's that military history was recognized as separate and distinct variety of history. The Swiss
theorist, Jomini, identified military history as a separate and distinct branch of