History, Military: Approaches to

For centuries, military history has had a simple purpose. In its most basic form, it is an exercise in description. Military history is a chronicle, a detailed relation of events on the battlefield. In this particular pursuit, the historian searches for details adequate to an accurate accounting of events compressed into a very narrow timeline. As one author put it, “At the centre of the history of war there must lie the study of military history—that is, the study of the central activity of the armed forces, that is, fighting” (Moyar, 2007, p. 226).

Commanders and armies are quite naturally the most important actors in military history. Foot soldiers provide the muscle for maneuver and combat. Their officers supply the intellect behind grand strategy and battlefield ...

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