How History Shapes War

Georges-Henri Soutou

in The Oxford Handbook of War

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199562930
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

How History Shapes War


The study of war history (which encompasses all aspects of wars, including political, economic, and cultural factors, and reaches beyond the more specific military history) is not just an academic field, it is a matter of importance for strategists and civilian and military leaders—provided they realize that history does not supply ‘lessons’, but an intellectual framework for understanding the relationship between different categories of events. This runs contrary to the tendency of the human mind to generalize one's own experience; it is an important lesson in modesty for the strategist. At the political level, apart from the true pacifists, defensive wars have been by and large accepted by the people concerned in modern European history: they have provided the opportunity to test the cohesion of the nation-states which emerged progressively in Europe.

Keywords: war history; nation-states; military leaders; economic factors; modern Europe; strategist

Article.  6827 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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