HIST 297/298,  Papers

Secondary Source Analysis

Citino, Robert M. “Military Histories Old and New: A Reintroduction.” American Historical Review 112, no. 4                     (October 2007): 1070-1090.

While the general public is vastly interested in military history but, historians are moving away from the subject. In “Military Histories Old and New: A Reintroduction,” written in 2007, Robert M. Citino reasons that scholars should be paying more attention to military history and what it has to offer. He breaks down the historiography of military history into three categories and shows how it is a much broader subject that commonly thought. This subject can include societal implications, and historians should be redirecting their attention back towards military history. Citino argues in his article, that military history is an extensive subject and encompasses more than just mere synopsis of battles.

The current state of military history in 2007 has transformed over the years according to Citino and he classifies it into three areas. The first subgenre he describes as traditional history which is the operational narrative of “battles and leaders” (1072). The author describes it as a type of history that should be on the way out. It focuses on the strategies and tactics involved but Citino describes how this approach developed into what he calls New History. This second subgenre is where historians look at all aspects of a war and its impact on society. As a result, military history is incorporated into the study of gender, race, and other societal issues. The third subfield is the memory and cultural history. The author references how historians attribute wars and battles to cultures now and then. Citino confirms that the historiography of military history over the last 50 years is changeable with time and covers more subfields than what is expected. Citino is directing this article to historians so that they may value it, appreciate it, and use it in their studies. With this article, he argues his point through various works.

The article utilizes many sources to strengthen Citino’s thesis that military history should not be disregarded as an irrelevant study. He picks sources that show how military history has been studied in the past and the different ways the subject can be related to society. Crucible of War by Fred Anderson was used as an example for its exemplarily analysis on the Seven Year’s War. Citino describes it as extraordinary and the “new military history” which strengthens his argument of the development of historiography because it encompasses a range of issues. Anderson discusses the impact the war had on the colonies and their economic ventures. He goes on to explain how that war affected the society in the America’s and initially started the unrest for the American Revolution.  Another source was Donald R. Shaffer’s After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans (2004) which integrates race issues and military history. Citino shows that wars ultimately involve a broad range of societal topics. Shaffer showed how a topic that is traditionally about battles and strategies from generals, could be examined of impacts on a race. He connects a subgenre to the war. Citino uses condensed summaries to educate and enlighten the readers. All of these sources supplement his argument that military history encompasses many fields of study.

Military history is not being appreciated and Citino writes to explain its importance. No longer is history the brief summary of past ages, but instead is an all-encompassing spectrum full of subgenre’s. Historiography has developed with time and involves almost all forms of study. Citino argues that historians who look at why and how history occurred should also include military history. This subject is important to the histography of our cultures and societies.

“I hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work.”


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