To strengthen this remarkable concentration of effort and make it more visible, the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War has been established under The School of Security Studies and the Department of History. The Centre promotes the scholarly history of war in all its dimensions, trains research students and hosts research projects and conferences. It also runs a flourishing MA in the History of War.
We promote the study of the history of war from the ancient world to the recent past, dealing not just with the history of all the armed services but also of all involved in warfare. War has been a central feature of human history which requires study by historians working in many traditions and fields. We study the history of war from many historiographical vantage points, from economic history to cultural history, from international history to the history of science and technology.
The Centre builds on existing strengths such as the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, the Hobson Library and Archive at the UK Defence Academy and a number of successful research sub-groups, such as the Second World War Research Group. At its heart is a resident community of over fifty nationally and internationally recognised scholars. They are authorities in military, naval, imperial and international history and related fields based in the Departments of War Studies, Defence Studies, History and indeed many others, for example the English Department.
Building on Sir Michael Howard’s vision of interdisciplinarity in the study of human conflict, the Centre promotes the study of war from a wide range of historical and social science strategic approaches including the political, the operational, the social, economic, technological and cultural. Our leadership in this field makes King’s distinctive.
Members of the Centre have written prize winning and best selling books. For example Jonathan Fennell's book Fighting the People's War won the Templar Medal, Jonathan has also recently landed a trilogy book deal on the Second World War, Richard Vinen’s National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945-1963 (Allen Lane, 2014) won the 2015 Wolfson Prize for History and Nick Lloyd’s Passchendaele: A New History (Penguin, 2017) was on the Sunday Times UK bestseller list.
Members of the Centre participate in national and international research projects. For example Ashley Jackson and Jean Smith collaborate on a Leverhulme Trust funded project, ‘Empire in Motion: Conflict and Co-Operation during the Second World War’; Helen McCartney works on an AHRC funded project, ‘Our Place in the First World War’; and Lara Feigel is involved with an ERC funded project, 'Beyond enemy lines literature and film in the British and American zones of occupied Germany, 1945-1949'.
The focus of the Centre’s teaching activities is the MA in the History of War. Our MA is a research-led, student centred taught programme in the history of war. In future, the Michael Howard Centre will offer PhD studentships and post-doctoral fellowships.