How successful has the US military been at learning from history since 1945?

The resort to war signals the failure of far more satisfactory means of settling human conflicts. It forces us to face and wrestle with the darkest corners of the human psyche. It signals the coming of trauma and suffering—often intense and prolonged—for individuals, families and societies. War-fighting concentrates power in nondemocratic ways, infringes upon civil liberties, and convulses political, economic, and social systems. From the wreckage—the broken bodies, the redrawn boundaries, the imperfect treaties, the fresh resentments and the intensified old ones—altered political and social patterns and institutions emerge that may help to prevent future conflicts, or sow the seeds of new ones. All of this creates a difficult, complicated, and fraught historical landscape to traverse.

Though the study of war is demanding, both intellectually and emotionally, we cannot afford to eschew or ignore it. Examining the origins of wars informs us about human behavior: the way that we create notions of identity, nationality, and territoriality; the way that we process and filter information; and the way that we elevate fear and aggression over reason. Analyzing the nature of war informs us about the psychology of humans under stress: the patterns of communication and miscommunication within and across groups; the causes of escalation; and the dynamics of political and social behavior within nations and across populations. And studying the consequences of wars helps us to understand human resilience, resignation, and resentment; we learn to identify unresolved issues that may lead to further strife, and we develop a heightened ability for comprehending the elements of political behavior that can lead to sustainable resolution and the re-building of broken—indeed sometimes shattered—social, political, and economic structures and relationships.

Research in military history not only informs and enriches the discipline of history, but also informs work in a host of other fields including political science, sociology, and public policy. Students need this knowledge in order to become informed, thoughtful citizens. If the role of a liberal education is to hone analytical thinking skills and prepare young people to accept their full responsibilities in a democratic society, then it is more than ever imperative that we prepare our students to think critically and wisely about issues of war and peace. Among its many roles, scholarship has a civic function: it facilitates our understanding of the institutions we have created, and opens a debate on their purpose and function.1

The members of the Society for Military History have a broad and inclusive sense of our work and our educational mission. We see our realm as encompassing not only the study of military institutions in wartime, but also the study of the relationships between military institutions and the societies that create them; the origins of wars, societies at war; and the myriad impacts of war on individuals, groups, states, and regions. Our mission encompasses not only traditional studies of battles, but also of war and public memory. The cross-fertilization in these realms has been extensive in recent years, and each one has influenced the others in salutary ways.Thesis- Articulates a clear and original position on the assignment’s central issues. Sharply focused on the central issue.

 Fully addresses the question. Substance- Factually correct. Addresses nuances of the argument. Draws from appropriate sources. Shows the complexity of the subject. Organization is clear, logical, and progressive, making explicit the reasoning and relationship of ideas. Paragraphs contain clear topic sentences and focu​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​s on a single idea. Paragraphs are progressive within the context of the argument. The expectation is graduate-level work and developing an argument supported by evidence. The essay will include documentation in the form of endnotes or footnotes (but not in-text citations). Write a double-spaced, one to two-page outline covering your approach and answer to the argumentative essay topic question, including the thesis, major points, and supporting points of evidence. one-page annotated bibliography of sources. NOTE: COMBO WITH 1 PAGE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRA​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​PHY