Military history has been beneficial to all who have taken the time to learn from it. It has very valuable lessons and should be taken very seriously in our profession. Those that do not learn from military history are condemned to repeat it. Some would ask the question: Why is it important for professionals to take time out of their busy schedules to study military history? In this paper, various arguments are presented in order to prove that learning military history is necessary in order to win battles.
Military professionals must not take for granted the need to study military history because there were many wars or battles that have been lost due to failure in learning military history. There are two well-known wars that were lost from not learning military history and these are the Napoleonic War and World War II: Germany vs. Russia. The failure in Napoleonic war was attributed to inability to prepare for human reactions in combat in relation to weather, terrain, and intelligence of enemy and friendly dispositions (Coakley & Jessup, 2009, p. 1-2).
Basically, the study of history is vital to understand the present and prepare for the future during Napoleonic war. Napoleon’s waterloo is the living symbol of his failure in the war due to failure in studying military history before the battle. With respect to Germany vs. Russia, the primary reason of the collapse of Germany’s forces was its deficiency of adequate allies and a battle of numerous fronts. Hitler’s belief that he was immune to international response contributed to the failure of studying military history in relation of possible enemy build-up of allied forces.
Hence, the Napoleonic War and Germany vs. Russia battle could have been won had it not the failure of its leaders to induce intensive military history study. Besides, there are wars and battles that have been won due to knowledge of military history. With these wars, military professionals could get insights and ideas on how to win a battle. The Ancient Wars of Korea vs. Japan and the U. S. Korean War are examples of battles that have been won due to knowledge of military history. These two wars proved to be monumental and successful due to the diligence of military professionals to pay attention to military history.
While it is true that not learning military history might hamper the will of military professionals to win a war, it is also acceptable that there are concrete reasons why learning military history does not work. The cases of Afghanistan vs. Soviet Union and China vs. same region could shed light why learning military history does not always work in winning a battle. The differences between the states involved in terms of cultural, political, geographical, and economic aspects were too great.
It is difficult to integrate military history in relation to weather, terrain, and military intelligence tactics in battles between Afghanistan and Soviet Union as well as China against the same region because of the said differences. Finally, military history has great added value for the professionals in the military. Those who do not learn military history are condemned to repeat, and cannot progress. Military professionals who failed to find time in studying military history are doomed to failure like what happened in Napoleonic War and Germany vs. Russia battle.
In addition, exceeding confidence of leaders in war might contribute to failure in studying military history. Hence, military professionals especially officers and leaders must study military history in order to win a battle. It is a wise counsel for military professionals to pay attention to historical knowledge for their own good.
Coakley, R. & Jessup, J. CGSC: Center of Military History United States Army Website. 2009. A Guide to the Study and Use of Military History. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www-cgsc. army. mil/carl/download/csipubs/jessup/jessup_ intro. pdf.