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Sir Michael Howard Centre Annual Lecture 2020


18 Nov SMHClausewitz

This event will be chaired by Dr Christina Goulter, Co-Director of the Sir Michael Howard Centre.

In the first Annual Lecture since the death of Sir Michael Howard, Professor Sir Hew Strachan, Wardlaw Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, will discuss Michael Howard’s interpretation of Prussian general and military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz.

Michael Howard once said that the work of which he was most proud was translating the English edition of Clausewitz's Vom Kriege (On War), prepared by him and the American Historian, Peter Paret. It is probably reasonable to say that On War has been more widely read in this version than it has in any other, including the original German. However, as Howard also said, all translation carries with it an element of interpretation. So, what was his interpretation, and how has it affected today's understanding of Clausewitz?

Professor Strachan will deliver a lecture discussing Michael Howard’s approach in producing the third English language version of On War, published in 1976.

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the psychological and political aspects of war. His seminal work, On War, written mostly after the Napoleonic wars is one of the most important treatises on political-military analysis and strategy ever written.


Professor Hew Strachan

Hew Strachan has been Wardlaw Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews since 2015. He is a Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he taught from 1975 to 1992, before becoming Professor of Modern History at Glasgow University from 1992 to December 2001. He was Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College 2002-15 (where he is now an Emeritus Fellow), and Director of the Oxford Programme on the Changing Character of War 2003-2012.

He was a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner 2006-18 and a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum 2010-17, and served on the national committees for the centenary of the First World War of the United Kingdom, Scotland and France. In 2010 he chaired a task force on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant for the Prime Minister. In 2011 he became a specialist adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Security Strategy.

He is an Ensign in the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers). He was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale in 2014. In 2016 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize for Lifetime Achievement for Military Writing. His recent publications include The Politics of the British Army (1997); The First World War: To Arms (2001); The First World War: a New Illustrated History (2003); and The Direction of War (2013).


This event will be held on Zoom, registration is required via Eventbrite and the joining information will be sent 48 hours before the event.

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