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A Sen se o f H istor y and M ilit ary

Pr ofes si ona lis m


It is sometimes said that the study of history, or government and politics, or other social
science and humanities disciplines can help us ask the right questions, but cannot provide
us specific answers to contemporary challenges. . . . However, in many cases, [study of
this kind] provides real skills, knowledge and expertise . . . . When I first went to Iraq in
2003, my colleagues and I were repeatedly greeted by Iraqis . . . in Mosul -- who would
say to us in the course of conversation: "We love democracy! . . . What is it?"
General David H. Petraeus
Cdr, Multi-National Force, Iraq
2007
We soldiers practice our profession only infrequently so we rely on past battles to teach us
about the future. Even though Gettysburg was fought using weapons that seem primitive to
young soldiers the lessons it teaches about leadership and courage and intellect are
immutable. We are learning again in Iraq and Afghanistan that war is not a test of
technology it is a test of the collective will and talents of soldiers and the nature and
character of that test will never change.
MG (Ret) Robert H Scales
Gettysburg Memorial Day Speech
2007

“The rapid pace of scientific and technological development continues to confuse and limit
our understanding of the battlefield. History affirms our view of the present by telling us that
some things never change. History is vital to our center and to our existence as an Army.”
General William W. Hartzog
Commander, US Army Training and Doctrine Command
1994-1998
A Sen se o f H istor y and M ilit ary
Pr ofes si ona lis m

If history is any teacher . . . It teaches that when you become indifferent and lose
the will to fight, some other son-of-bitch who has the will to fight will take you
over.”
Colonel Arthur D. “Bull” Simons
To his men prior to the raid on Son Tay Prison, North Vietnam
1970
“To be a successful soldier, you must know history. Read it objectively – dates and
even minute details of tactics are useless. . . . What you must know is how man
reacts. Weapons change, but man, who uses them, changes not at all. To win battles,
you do not beat weapons -- you beat the soul of every man.”
General George S. Patton
To his Son one day before the D-Day Invasion
5 June 1944

“Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.”
Ecclesiastes 3:15

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. . . .


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1
1905

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