The History of War
(Most recent revision: March 9)
Professor Mark Grimsley
Winter Quarter 2008
Phone: 292-1855 (I'm rarely in; email is the preferred mode of contact)
Office: 330 Dulles Hall
Office Hrs: Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m., and by appointment
Email me (Please put "History 380" in the subject line)
Pat Crawford; office hours TR, 10-11 a.m. in 207 Dulles Hall; and by appointment
Robyn Rodriguez; office hours W, 1:30-3 p.m. in 009 Dulles Hall; and by appointment
This course is an introduction to the salient concepts and problems involved in the study of military history. It also addresses the effect of war on human society and development and examines the significance of war in human culture.
Although it examines war from prehistoric times to the present, the course is thematic rather than chronological—less a survey of wars and military developments per se than a survey of the main concepts involved in studying war. Among the issues we will explore are the following:
What are the attractions of war? (Click to read one opinion in Utne magazine.)
What do we (in the contemporary western experience) mean when we speak of war, and what are the main causes of war?
How have other cultures thought about war? (This would include both nonwestern cultures and western cultures of other times; e.g., classical Rome)
Is there a characteristic "western way of war"? How does it differ from the "ways of war" adopted by other cultures? Why have western powers proven so formidable?
How important is war in shaping human affairs?
What are the human dynamics involved in battle? What motivates combatants? What factors encourage, inhibit, or otherwise influence the use and effectiveness of violence?
Can war be controlled or eliminated? What strategies have been proposed to accomplish these objectives?
By completing the requirements for this course, students will:
1. Acquire a perspective on attempts to understand the human experience and the factors that shape human activity, particularly in time of war.
2. Develop critical thinking through the study of diverse interpretations of historical events, and gain the ability to evaluate the worth of historical analogies when applied to contemporary affairs.
3. Apply critical thinking through historical analysis of secondary sources; that is to say, sources that interpret historical events based on study of primary (e.g., eyewitness) accounts and to illuminate larger patterns in the human past..
4. Sharpen communications skills in exams, papers, discussions.
5. Develop and demonstrate an understanding of the qualities of the warrior ethos (self-discipline, determination, responsibility, honor, loyalty to comrades, etc.) as they apply in both military and civilian life.
For history majors, this course fullfills the requirement for a pre-1750 and post-1750 course in either Group A or Group B.
All students must be officially enrolled in the course by the end of the second full week of the quarter. No requests to add the course will be approved by the department chair after that time. Enrolling officially and on time is solely the responsibility of each student.
Make-up Exam Policy
If for any family or medical reason you find it absolutely necessary to miss an examination, you must contact me in advance if you wish to take a make-up examination. You must also provide sufficient documentation of the reason for your inability to attend: doctor's note, hospital papers, obituary notices in the case of a loved one, etc. If you do not produce this documentation, you will not be permitted to take a make-up examination. Make-up examinations are administered by the history department at certain scheduled times during the quarter. If you are permitted to take a make-up examination, it will be at one of those times. False excuses regarding an inability to take an examination, and/or false documentation, will be treated as academic misconduct and prosecuted accordingly.
Please consider the implications of this policy carefully, as it will be strictly enforced.
It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term academic misconduct includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by, but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to the committee (Faculty Rule 3335-5-487). For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct.
Here is a direct link for discussion of plagiarism.
Here is the direct link to the OSU Writing Center.
Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs. The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901.
Attendance is not mandatory. However, tardiness needs to be controlled in order to avoid distracting the instructor and students. If you are only a minute late, feel free to come into class via the rear entrance. If you are more than a minute late, please wait until twenty minutes til the hour, at which time all students who are late will be admitted. If you are late beyond that, please wait until the next bell (at eighteen minutes after the hour). I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Christon I. Archer et al. World History of Warfare. The basic textbook for the course. It is much more detailed than we'll actually need in the course, and it is organized somewhat differently than the course lectures. The specific pages indicated in the lecture schedule refer to the pages most closely associated with a given topic. You'll want to skim the surrounding material as needed to consolidate a grip on the material covered in class.
Shannon E. French, The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present. We'll read this book completely, and it will figure prominently on both midterm examinations.
Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations. We'll read this book completely as well, and it will figure prominently on the final examination. You should have a solid grasp of the moral argument that Walzer makes. Read his case studies primarily as examples. To avoid being overwhelmed at the end of the quarter, start reading Walzer as soon as possible. The lecture schedule indicates chapters that are particularly relevant to the lecture on a given day.
Additional readings. Links to the readings are provided in the lecture schedule. Readings are mandatory except where indicated as optional.
First midterm examination (25 percent)
Second midterm examination (35 percent)
Final examination (40 percent)
Week 5. (January 29, 31)
Lecture 13. The Fall of Rome and the Byzantine Dilemma
Lecture 14. War and Early Islam
Lecture 15. War in Medieval Europe
WHOW, 140-170; French, ch. 5
Week 7 (February 12, 14)
Lecture 16. War in Medieval Japan and the Code of the Samurai (both hours on Tuesday)
WHOW, 204-213; French, ch. 8
Lecture 17. The Problem of Moral Judgment in War I: Pacifism, Just Wars, and Holy Wars (both hours on Thursday)
WHOW, 163-169; 228-231, 256-260; 281; Walzer, chs. 2-13
Week 8. (February 19, 21)
Lecture 18. The Old and New Worlds in Collision
THURSDAY, February 21, first hour: SECOND MIDTERM EXAMINATION. Second Midterm Study Guide (updated)
Lecture 19. (second hour of class) The Military Revolution in Europe and the Expansion of War in the 17th and 18th Centuries
WHOW, 178-376; Outline Map of Europe ; optional: Geoffrey Parker, "The Military Revolution, 1560-1660: A Myth?" (you will need an OSU connection to access this article online via J-STOR)
Week 9. (February 26, 28)
Lecture 20. The Age of Democratic Revolution
Lecture 22. Wars of Imperialism and the Native American Warrior Code
Lecture 23. Total War
WHOW, 410-438; 483-546; Walzer, chs. 14-17
Lecture 24. The Cold War and the Garrison State (omitted for final exam--you may find this information helpful as background, but you will not be asked questions about it)
WHOW, 549-560; National Security Council Memo 68 (NSC-68); Eisenhower on the Military-Industrial Complex
Week 9. (February 26, 28)
Lecture 25. Theories of People’s War and Wars of National Liberation
Excerpts from the Writings of Mao Zedong and Che Guevara; optional: Mao Zedong, On Guerrilla Warfare; Che Guevara, Guerrilla War: A Method
Lecture 26. The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Resistance (omitted for final exam--you may find this information helpful as background, but you will not be asked questions about it)
Principles of Satyagraha; M. K. Gandhi, The Power of Nonviolence; Thomas Merton, The Gentle Revolutionary; Martin Luther King, Jr. On War and Peace; King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail and other documents; optional: Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. King, The Social Organization of Nonviolence
Lecture 27. Vietnam (omitted for final exam--you may find this information helpful as background, but you will not be asked questions about it)
WHOW, 562-573, 579-587
Lecture 28. The Problem of Moral Judgment in War II: The Contemporary World
Review all of Walzer to date; chs. 18-19, afterword
Week 10. (March 4, March 6)
Lecture 29. The End of the Cold War and the New World Order (omitted for final exam--you may find this information helpful as background, but you will not be asked questions about it)
WHOW, 573-579, 590-591
Lecture 30. The Meanings of 9/11
French, ch. 9; required: "We Have Some Planes" and "The Foundations of the New Terrorism," from The 9/11 Commission Report; Fareed Zakaria, "The Politics of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?"; Victor Davis Hanson, "Why Do They Hate Us?"
Lecture 31. The Iraq War: The Decision to Go to War
"The Neoconservative Persuasion"; Project for the New American Century web site; Bombing Iraq Isn't Enough; President Bush's Commencement Address at West Point, June 2002
Final Examination: in class, Wednesday, March 12, 11:30 - 1:18 PM
FINAL EXAMINATION STUDY GUIDE (updated)
Original Winter 2008 Syllabus