Sir John Keegan
John Desmond Patrick Keegan
15 May 1934
Clapham, London, England
|Died||2 August 2012 78) (aged|
Kilmington, Wiltshire, England
|Alma mater||Balliol College, Oxford|
|Main interests||Military history,history of warfare,First World War|
|Notable works||The Face of Battle , Soldiers:A History of Men in Battle ,The Mask of Command and other major works|
Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan(15 May 1934 –2 August 2012) was an English military historian,lecturer,writer and journalist. He wrote many published works on the nature of combat between prehistory and the 21st century,covering land,air,maritime,intelligence warfare and the psychology of battle.
At the age of 13 Keegan contracted orthopaedic tuberculosis,which subsequently affected his gait. The long-term effects of this rendered him unfit for military service,and the timing of his birth made him too young for service in the Second World War,facts he mentioned in his works as an ironic observation on his profession and interests.The illness also interrupted his education in his teenage years,although it included a period at King's College,Taunton and two years at Wimbledon College,which led to entry to Balliol College,Oxford in 1953,where he read history with an emphasis on war theory. After graduation he worked at the American Embassy in London for three years.
In 1960 Keegan took up a lectureship in military history at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst,which trains officers for the British Army. He remained there for 26 years,becoming a senior lecturer in military history during his tenure,during which he also held a visiting professorship at Princeton University and was Delmas Distinguished Professor of History at Vassar College.
Leaving the academy in 1986,Keegan joined the Daily Telegraph as a defence correspondent and stayed with the paper as defence editor until his death. He also wrote for the American conservative National Review Online. In 1998 he wrote and presented the BBC's Reith Lectures,entitling them War in our World.
Keegan died on 2 August 2012 of natural causes at his home in Kilmington,Wiltshire. He was survived by his wife,their two daughters and two sons.
Keegan was also criticised by peers,including Sir Michael Howardand Christopher Bassford for his critical position on Carl von Clausewitz,a Prussian officer and author of Vom Kriege (On War),one of the basic texts on warfare and military strategy. Keegan was described as "profoundly mistaken". Bassford stated,"Nothing anywhere in Keegan's work –despite his many diatribes about Clausewitz and 'the Clausewitzians' –reflects any reading whatsoever of Clausewitz's own writings." The political scientist Richard Betts criticised Keegan's understanding of the political dimensions of war,calling Keegan "a naïf about politics."
Noting Keegan's works on the Waffen-SS,the military historian S.P. MacKenzie describes him as a popular historian "partially or wholly seduced by [its] mystique". He connects Keegan with contemporary Waffen-SS historical revisionism,first propounded by HIAG,the Waffen-SS lobby group from the 1950–1990s. Commenting on this contemporary trend,Mackenzie writes that "as the older generation of Waffen-SS scribes has died off,a new,post-war cadre of writers has done much to perpetuate the image of the force as a revolutionary European army" and includes Keegan in the group.
Detlef Siebert criticised Keegan's view that area bombing 'descended to the enemy's level'.
On 29 June 1991,as a war correspondent for The Daily Telegraph ,Keegan was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "in recognition of service within the operations in the Gulf".In the 2000 New Year Honours,he was knighted "for services to Military History".
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) in 1986.In 1993 he won the Duff Cooper Prize.
In 1996,he was awarded the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize for lifetime achievement by the Society for Military History.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) by the University of Bath in 2002.
In A History of Warfare,Keegan outlined the development and limitations of warfare from prehistory to the modern era. It looked at various topics,including the use of horses,logistics,and "fire". A key concept put forward was that war is inherently cultural.In the introduction,he vigorously denounced the idiom "war is a continuation of policy by other means",rejecting "Clausewitzian" ideas. However,Keegan's discussion of Clausewitz was criticised as uninformed and inaccurate by writers like Peter Paret,Christopher Bassford,and Richard M. Swain.
He also contributed to work on historiography in modern conflict. With Richard Holmes he wrote the BBC documentary Soldiers:A History of Men in Battle . Frank C. Mahncke wrote that Keegan is seen as "among the most prominent and widely read military historians of the late twentieth century".In a book-cover blurb extracted from a more complex article,Sir Michael Howard wrote,"at once the most readable and the most original of living historians".
Norman Stone described Keegan's The Second World War as his preferred book on the war.
|Booknotes interview with Keegan on A History of Warfare,May 8,1994,C-SPAN|
|Presentation by Keegan on Fields of Battle,June 5,1996,C-SPAN|
|Presentation by Keegan on The First World War,June 15,1999,C-SPAN|
I didn't want to change my beliefs, but there was too much evidence accumulating to stick to the article of faith. It now does look as if air power has prevailed in the Balkans, and that the time has come to redefine how victory in war may be won.
Carl Philipp Gottfriedvon Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege, was unfinished at his death.
Vom Kriege is a book on war and military strategy by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), written mostly after the Napoleonic wars, between 1816 and 1830, and published posthumously by his wife Marie von Brühl in 1832. It has been translated into English several times as On War. On War is an unfinished work. Clausewitz had set about revising his accumulated manuscripts in 1827, but did not live to finish the task. His wife edited his collected works and published them between 1832 and 1835.
Antoine-Henri, Baron Jomini was a French-Swiss officer who served as a general in the French and later in the Russian service, and one of the most celebrated writers on the Napoleonic art of war. Jomini's ideas are a staple at military academies, the United States Military Academy at West Point being a prominent example; his theories were thought to have affected many officers who later served in the American Civil War. He may have coined the term logistics in his Summary of the Art of War (1838).
Felix Martin Julius Steiner was a German SS commander during the Nazi era. During World War II, he served in the Waffen-SS, the combat branch of the SS, and commanded several SS divisions and corps. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Together with Paul Hausser, he contributed significantly to the development and transformation of the Waffen-SS into a combat force made up of volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands.
The 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg was a German mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the German Nazi Party that served alongside, but was never formally part of, the Wehrmacht during World War II. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was declared to be a criminal organisation due to its major involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A panzer division was one of the armored (tank) divisions in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. Panzer divisions were the key element of German success in the blitzkrieg operations of the early years of World War II. Later the Waffen-SS formed its own panzer divisions, and even the Luftwaffe fielded a panzer division: the Hermann Göring Division.
The 26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS , was a short-lived infantry division of the Waffen-SS, an armed branch of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. Established in November 1944 following the German overthrow of the Hungarian regime of Miklós Horthy, it was never properly formed, trained, or equipped, and after being evacuated from its training camp in the face of the advancing Soviet Red Army, it surrendered to the United States Army in Austria in May 1945.
The 25th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS "Hunyadi" was a short-lived infantry division of the Waffen-SS, an armed branch of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. Established in November 1944 following the German overthrow of the Hungarian regime of Miklós Horthy, it consisted mainly of troops drawn from the Royal Hungarian Army's 13th Honvéd Division. It was never properly formed, trained, or equipped, and after being evacuated from its training camp in the face of the advancing Soviet Red Army, it surrendered to the United States Army in Austria in May 1945.
Kenneth John Macksey was a British author and historian who specialized in military history and military biography, particularly of the Second World War. Macksey was commissioned in the Royal Armoured Corps and served during the Second World War. Macksey later wrote a biography of Hobart. Macksey gained a permanent commission in 1946, was transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment in 1947, reached the rank of major in 1957 and retired from the Army in 1968.
The Face of Battle is a 1976 non-fiction book on military history by the English military historian John Keegan. It deals first with the structure of historical writing about battles, the strengths and weaknesses of the "battle piece," and then with the structure of warfare in three time periods—medieval Europe, the Napoleonic Era, and World War I—by analyzing three battles: Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme, all of which involved English soldiers and occurred in approximately the same geographical area.
Christopher Bassford is an American military historian, best known for his works on the Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz. Bassford graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in history and honors for his dissertation on tactical nuclear weapons and completed his MA in American diplomatic history at Ohio University. Subsequent to receiving his MA, he served five years on active duty as a U.S. Army field artillery officer, with tours in Korea and Germany. He completed a Ph.D. in modern European history at Purdue University and became director of studies in the theory and nature of war at the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Command and Staff College, then associate professor of National Policy Issues at the U.S. Army War College. He was Professor of Strategy at the National War College, in Washington, D.C., from 1999 until 2012, when he joined the faculty of the College of International Security Affairs as part of the JSOMA program supporting U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). He is the webeditor of The Clausewitz Homepage, a large educational website that has been on-line since 1995.
The 23rd Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Kama was a German mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was declared to be a criminal organisation due to its major involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The division was composed of German officers and Bosnian Muslim soldiers. Named Kama after a small dagger used by Balkan shepherds, it was one of the thirty-eight divisions fielded by the Waffen-SS during World War II. Formed on 19 June 1944, it was built around a cadre from the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar but did not reach its full strength and never saw action as a formation.
Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, commonly known throughout most of his career as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, was a British soldier, military historian and military theorist. He wrote a series of military histories that proved influential among strategists. He argued that frontal assault was a strategy that was bound to fail at great cost in lives, as happened in the First World War. He instead recommended the "indirect approach" and reliance on fast-moving armoured formations.
The 24th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS "Karstjäger" was a German mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the German Nazi Party that served alongside, but was never formally part of, the Wehrmacht during World War II. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was declared to be a criminal organisation due to its major involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Named Karstjäger, the formation was one of the 38 divisions fielded by the Waffen-SS. Formed on 18 July 1944 from the SS Volunteer Karstwehr Battalion, its nominal strength was never more than theoretical and the division was soon reduced to the Waffen Mountain (Karstjäger) Brigade of the SS. Throughout its existence as a battalion, division and brigade, it was primarily involved in fighting partisans in the Karst Plateau on the frontiers of Yugoslavia, Italy, and Austria; the mountainous terrain required specialised mountain troops and equipment.
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously-used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.
A History of Warfare is a book by military historian John Keegan, which was published in 1993 by Random House.
Gordon Williamson is a popular history writer based in the United Kingdom. Williamson spent seven years with the Military Police in the British Territorial Army and, as of 2016, resides in Scotland. Williamson has written more than 40 books and other publications. His works have focused on topics ranging from U boats, military insignia, flying aces, the Waffen-SS, and special forces. Williamson's works present an uncritical portrayal of the German war effort during the Second World War.
J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing is a Canadian publishing house that specialises in literature on the German armed forces of the World War II era. Its authors are both popular history writers such as Paul Carell and Franz Kurowski, along with the war-time veterans, including Kurt Meyer of the SS Division Hitlerjugend and Otto Weidinger of the SS Division Das Reich.
Bernd Wegner is a German historian who specialises in military history and the history of Nazism. Since 1997 he has been professor of modern history at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany.
In German military history, Bandenbekämpfung, also Nazi security warfare, refers to the concept and military doctrine of countering resistance or insurrection in the rear area during wartime through extreme brutality. The doctrine provided a rationale for disregarding the established laws of war and for targeting of any number of groups, from armed guerrillas to the civilian population, as "bandits" or "members of gangs". As applied by the German Empire and later by Nazi Germany, it became instrumental in the mass crimes against humanity committed by the two regimes, including the Herero and Namaqua genocide and the Holocaust.
| Library resources about |
|By John Keegan|