Gauge proposals in the light of past successes and failures.
Training and Proficiency
Military history strengthens training, aids practical experience, and promotes confidence in coping with problems. Military
history gives examples of how others have met their responsibilities. In this way, military history broadens a soldier's
outlook and helps equalize imbalances in personal experience.
Morale and Esprit
The study of military history can inspire the soldier and add to the growth of pride in the military profession. Knowledge of
the qualities and successes of others helps the soldier to understand what can be achieved. Military history gives useful
examples of outstanding leadership and its effect on organizational esprit and success in battle.
Public and Command Information
Military history can be applied in public and command information activities. For the public, it may be used to reveal
institutional experience. For the commander, it gives examples of individual and organizational success to foster morale
As you can see, you can learn a lot from history. However, the road to knowledge is not without hazards. Indeed, the
path is positively booby-trapped. To get useful answers from the past, the history student must ask questions carefully. A
superficial understanding of history can be dangerous. History, after all, is secondhand information.
You must judge your historical source as carefully as you evaluate the campaign you are studying:
Who was the author?
How did he know?
Was he an eyewitness?
Does he have a particular point of view that must be defended?
Did he truly understand what happened?
In judging your sources, you must consider the writer's basic philosophy toward the study of history. To use an example
of opposites: suppose you were using a Russian source based on the thinking of Marx and Lenin. As an American
soldier, your motives would be basically utilitarian. You would be looking for information "useful" to you in the profession
of arms. In this source, you would likely be disappointed. The Russian would see war only as an extension of politics -a
reflection of the national experience. He would see no utilitarian value in his study.
In addition to judging your source, you must also evaluate your own motives. Avoid the very real temptation to search the