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The Military in World History


Introduction to the Forum on the Military in World History

Douglas E. Streusand, Guest Editor


     This issue of World History Connected is part of a continuing, informal, effort to bring more military history into world history and more world history into military history. That project began with the World History Association sponsored panel, "Topics in World Military History" at the April 2014 Society of Military History in Kansas City, Missouri and will continue with future panels at WHA and SMH meetings.

     The essays in this issue lack thematic unity beyond the general topic of military history but each of them offers a useful point of entry for classroom use. Andrew De La Garza's essay on the Mughal navy reveals that even non-Western historians writing about their own cultures propagate inaccurate stereotypes and demonstrates the need to include naval and maritime dimensions even of such quintessential land powers as the Mughal Empire. Mark Moreno's contribution encourages treatment of the liberal wars in the Americas and Europe in a single curriculum unit. Timothy May, the leading Mongol military historian, presents the concept of the Mongol era of globalization, which could readily form the basis of a curriculum unit, and discusses the diffusion of military techniques within it. James Tallon's essay on the wars of the last decade of Ottoman history offers an interesting take on the problem of extending periodization and nomenclature across regional and cultural lines. European history presents the struggle between the Ottomans and the Italians in Libya, the Balkan Wars, the First World War, and the wars associated with the formation of the Republic of Turkey as a series of discrete conflicts. From an Ottoman or Turkish perspective, they formed a single continuous conflict. Richard DiNardo's essay explains the circumstances that have led losers, not winners, to dominate the historiography of the Peloponnesian War, the American Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II in Europe, and the consequences for the mainstream historiography of those conflicts. His discussion could form the basis of a classroom lesson on the circumstances that lead to the development of historiographical traditions.

     I hope that this issue will stimulate discussion of the ways that the military history can enrich world history instruction.

Douglas E. Streusand is Professor of International Relations at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He has written two books, The Formation of Mughal Empire and The Islamic Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals, and multiple chapters, article and reviews. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic history from the University of Chicago.


1 For an important new statement, see Globalising Migration History: The Eurasian Experience (16th-21st Centuries), Jan Lucassen and Leo Lucassen, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 2014).

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