Warfare and Military Organizations

Clifford J. Rogers

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:
Warfare and Military Organizations

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy


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Throughout the period c. 1350–1650, warfare was endemic in European society, and most rulers and members of the political elite were deeply involved with the maintenance and use of armies and navies. Wars and the development of the “military art” (tactics, strategy, and other aspects of the conduct of war) are interesting subjects for historical inquiry in their own right. But since the mid–20th century students of warfare and military organizations, reflecting broader trends in the discipline of history, have tended to focus less on the details of fighting than on the social history of those who served in the armed forces (a large and relatively well-documented population). Archival studies, drawing on voluminous administrative records, have provided masses of information about topics such as recruitment, supply, soldiers’ living conditions and social backgrounds, and structures of command and control. Since 1956 much of this work has been tied in one way or another to a grand debate about a “Military Revolution” in the Reformation period. Some see this Military Revolution as resulting from technical-tactical change (particularly the rising importance of gunpowder weapons, both handguns and artillery, and then the new style of fortifications developed to resist cannon) and leading to major political and social changes, particularly linked to the rise of the modern state structure. This is true both of broad surveys and of the extensive literature on the development of the various national armed forces of Europe within the period.

Article.  13947 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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