Thematic essay questions thematic essays for military history

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1. The peoples of Europe, convinced that their nations causes were just, entered World War I in August of 1914

enthusiastically, in the belief that victory would be theirs by Christmas. What went wrong? Why did they,

civilian and military alike, have such a mistaken concept of the nature of modern warfare? What changes had

taken place in previous decades to so dramatically alter the nature of warfare?

2. The nature and motivation for warfare in Europe has altered many times during the modern era. Describe,

compare and analyze the motivation for the Wars of Louis XIV and Napoleon.

3. “The Crimean War, 1852-1856, was one of the silliest wars ever fought; yet its consequences were

extraordinarily important for Russia and for Europe as a whole…”

----William H. McNeill, A History of the World Community

Discuss the origins of this “silly war” and, having done so, indicate the “extraordinarily important”

consequences of it on Russia and Europe.

4. Discuss the major trends in European warfare from 1648 to 1763. Consider recruiting, training, funding,

weaponry, tactics and implications for national economics and foreign policy. Use specific examples from

France, Prussia, Russia or other nations.

5. How would European history be different if instead of propping up the Ottoman Empire and partitioning

Poland in 1772, Austria and Russia had instead gone to war over the Balkans?

6. Discuss changes in military practices from 1453-1648 and relate them to changes in politics and economics.

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