Military history, death of, greatly exaggerated

Military History Carnival #6 is up at Armchair General. The stand-out post this month is a rebuttal of the alleged decline in military history at American universities, undertaken by David Stone at The Russian Front (which is an ambitious -- and very stylish! -- new group blog on Russian military and diplomatic history, the editor-in-chief of which is none other than Scott Palmer of The Avia-Corner). Stone uses some actual data to show that, no, as far as we can tell, there were more military historians in US history departments, in absolute terms, in 2005 than there were in 1975: nearly three times as many, in fact. The total number of historians employed has risen even more dramatically, so the proportion of military historians has in fact decreased (from 2.4% to 1.9%). So there's still room to argue that there's a relative decline going on. But I suspect the real complaint of the declinists is, as Stone discusses near the end of his post, that there's less "real" military history being done -- less operational-type stuff and more of the war-and-society variety. As somebody whose research is firmly of the latter school I'd hardly complain if that were so (which is not to say at all that operational history is unnecessary, unimportant or uninteresting); but again, some decent statistics (as opposed to cherry-picking and anecdotes) are needed to show whether this is even true or not.

Also noted from this carnival, a new blog: War and Game, dealing with both wargaming and history. It's an eclectic mix of topics, including some very airminded ones -- see for example the current top post on what was nearly the RAF's first-ever raid on Berlin in November 1918. Looks like a blog worth following.

By the way, the next Military History Carnival will be appear here on Airminded on 14 October! So please send me nominations by email at bholman at airminded dot org or use the form.

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