Professor Guy Rowlands’ Inaugural Lecture

Professor Guy Rowlands will be giving his Inaugural Lecture at the University of St Andrews on Wednesday 19th April at 5.15pm in School III of St Salvator’s Quadrangle on North Street, St Andrews.

 ‘Glamping with Guns. Louis XIV, the Camp of Compiègne, and the Origins of the Modern Military Exercise’.

The history of war and contemporary warfare have had a vast amount of scholarly attention. But one significant theme has been barely studied in a serious manner: large-scale military exercises. Often derided as ‘mimic warfare’ (and worse), these significant peacetime deployments of forces have been undertaken on a regular and systematic basis by western powers, Russia and Japan for around 150 years, and more occasional exercises go back further, with most historians plumping for their origins in the periodic great manoeuvres undertaken by Frederick the Great of Prussia. But the first significant military exercise – with modern characteristics and on a modern scale – in fact took place around Compiègne in France in 1698 in the presence of Louis XIV. Blending the history of war, warfare, courtly societies and international politics, this lecture will explore the genealogy of the modern military exercise, focussing on Compiègne, the factors that influenced it, and its similarities with much later manoeuvres. It will examine how and why armed forces are put through their paces on a large scale in peacetime, the cultural character of exercises, and the principal activities seen on such exercises. Ultimately, it will ask what benefits we can derive from research into this neglected field.

Professor Eliot A Cohen gives talk at St Andrews

Professor Eliot A Cohen is Robert E. Osgood Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He will introduce his new book, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force (New York: Basic Books, 2016), but he will be happy to discuss students’ dissertation topics. Arts seminar room 1, 1.30-3 pm, 17 March 2017. All welcome

Sir Michael Fallon visit to St Andrews

Pic Alan Richardson Dundee,
Free to Use
St Andrews Sir Michael Fallon

The Institute for the Study of War and Strategy was delighted to host the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon on 2 February 2017. He gave postgraduate students from the School of International Relations the opportunity of engaging in discussion in a closed session before he delivered a lecture on ‘Resurgent Russia’ in the Buchanan lecture theatre. The event attracted such a large audience that it had to be live streamed to Schools I and II. His lecture was subsequently discussed in the national media. Sir Michael is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews, and we hope that this was not his last visit to his alma mater.

The British Home Front 1914-1918

© IWM. Original Source:

The centenary of the First World War has been and continues to be commemorated at national level with events to mark the major military and political waypoints, from the outbreak of war by way of Gallipoli, the Somme and Ypres to the armistice. And yet the war’s scale demanded more than just a major military effort: it required the mobilisation of British society as a whole. Industry was converted to munitions production, and the state intervened directly in fresh areas, from chemicals to forestry, from agriculture to fisheries. This economic effort has not attracted recent scholarly attention, despite its scale and importance. In recognition of the effort made by all the people of Britain and the Republic of Ireland, both the United Kingdom and Scotland Governments are supporting a major conference on the British home front during the First World War, to be held in St Andrews between 20 and 22 June 2018. It will be accompanied by a wider festival addressing the war in its final centenary year.