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


Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances Martin van Creveld's Wednesday lecture and the Thursday symposium have been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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.


How to Fight New Wars:

On the whole, modern armed forces have not been very good at waging the wars of the future, i.e. terrorism, guerrilla, and insurgency. Looking over the decades since 1945, we find that the list of failures is endless.  It ranges from the British in Palestine all the way to the Americans in Afghanistan. Though the literature on the topic is vast, a very large part of it has been written by the losers. As a result, it only serves to obfuscate and to mislead.

In this lecture I shall trace the real causes why so many counterinsurgencies have failed. Next, instead of describing failures, I shall focus on two campaigns that succeeded; namely, the British one against the IRA on one hand and the one fought by Hafez Assad, father of Basher Assad, against the Sunni insurgents back in 1982. Having compared the campaigns in question, I shall argue that success in modern war does not depend on “coordination,” or “cooperation,” or “networks,” but on the courage to adopt either of the above courses and follow them to the end. Fail to do so, and you'll fall in between.



Full lecture series:

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

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