14 Feb 2013 5:00pm - 6:30pm Mill Lane Lecture Room 9


Humanitas Visiting Professor in War Studies 2013:
Martin van Creveld

The Humanitas Chair in War Studies has been made possible by the generous support of Sir Ronald Grierson.

Professor Martin van Creveld (Emeritus Professor of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will give a series of three public lectures and a concluding symposium on The Future of War.


The Transformation of War:

The idea that war is coming to an end is not new. Edward Gibbon at the end of the 18th century, Norman Angel at the beginning of the twentieth, and Louis Hale two months before the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War all thought along these lines. Recently Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature even claimed that ours is the most peaceful period in history. In this lecture I shall argue that the so-called 'long peace' is due almost entirely to nuclear weapon proliferation; and that proliferation is the best thing that ever happened to humanity.  

However, not one of the factors that make for war—human nature, the absence of a world government capable of enforcing order, economic competition—has changed one bit. If it is true, as many believe, that the growing number of people on this planet is putting pressure on resources, then the last-named factor may be gaining in force. In the second half of this lecture I shall argue that, although large-scale warfare between large powers may very well be on the decline, other forms of war, such as terrorism, guerrilla, and insurgency have a great future in front of them.


Full lecture series:

The lectures are free and open to all, no registration required. Free online registration is available for the symposium on Thursday 21 February.

About Martin van Creveld

Martin van Creveld is an internationally recognised authority on military history and strategy.

The author of twenty-three books, which have been translated into twenty languages, he has lectured or taught at most leading strategic institutes, military or civilian, from Washington DC to Singapore and from Moscow to Rio de Janeiro. He was the only non-American author on the US Army’s required reading list for officers, and the only person – foreign or American – to have two books on that list. Born in the Netherlands, he holds degrees from the London School of Economics and from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was a faculty member from 1971 until his retirement in 2008.

About the Professorships

Humanitas is a series of Visiting Professorships at Oxford and Cambridge intended to bring leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Created by Lord Weidenfeld, the Programme is managed and funded by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue with the support of a series of generous benefactors, and co-ordinated in Cambridge by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Humanitas Visiting Professorships are held by distinguished academics and leading practitioners who have contributed to interdisciplinary research and innovation in a broad range of contemporary disciplines in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Covering areas of urgent or enduring interest in today’s society, including the performing arts, Humanitas Visiting Professors present their pioneering work through a series of lectures or performances open to University audiences and the wider public.




Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk