Article

Military Intelligence

John R. Ferris

in Military History

ISBN: 9780199791279
Published online July 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0044
Military Intelligence

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The study of military intelligence lies at the intersection of “military” and “intelligence” history. The first is a rich and ancient field; the second is new, and smaller. The intersection between them is problematic. Much of the best military history takes intelligence for granted, while the strongest works about intelligence often do not address military topics. Discussions of military intelligence, moreover, touch on broader issues, like strategy, command, and communications. Works on military intelligence are not uniformly mature. Hence, narrow studies often are the best account available of important issues, even though they do not cover a whole topic. Articles and anthologies are more useful than in most areas of military history. Rather than discuss weak studies about intelligence in important fields of military history, this bibliography aims to describe the best literature on military intelligence. Thus, it has special sections on areas where work on military intelligence is strong, and smaller sections on periods or topics where the study is weak, no matter how intrinsically important the latter may be. Unfortunately, many important areas of military intelligence have received little attention, while a disproportionate number of good works focus on the Anglo-American experiences in the two world wars, which distorts understanding of the phenomenon as a whole. Sometimes, a good military history which pays respectable attention to intelligence is the best work available; or, alternatively, as with psychological warfare, a few old books offer a better picture than hundreds of more recent, but more narrow, articles. Throughout the field, far more than with other areas of military history, one must take unusual care in avoiding bad books, which are legion. This bibliography aims not merely to guide readers toward good books, but also away from bad ones; to note not just strengths, but also to suggest areas where more research is desirable, and possible. Often, these works should be seen as case studies, which illustrate the experiences not just of one service or country, but many of both. Most of these works represent first-generation scholarship. There are as yet few cases of second-generation historiography, replete with revisionism and debate. Such cases will be noted. This guide also focuses on works written in the English language.

Article.  16603 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Pre-20th Century Warfare ; First World War ; Second World War ; Post-WW2 Military History

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