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Dr Robert Foley
R Foley

Dr Robert Foley

  • Academics
  • Supervisors


Research subject areas

  • Conflict
  • History
  • International relations
  • Politics
  • Security

Contact details


Dr Foley first taught at the Defence Studies Department from 2000 to 2005, and  rejoined the department as a Reader in September 2012 after seven years at the School of History, University of Liverpool. 

His research currently has two main areas; First, he has long focused on the development of German military thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The emphasis in this research has been on the development of strategic and operational ideas and how these shaped German operations, and German battlefield successes and failures, in the First World War. His publications in this area include German Strategy and the Path to Verdun(Cambridge, 2004), which won the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Prize in 2005, and Alfred von Schlieffen’s Military Writings (London, 2003). His German Army in the First World War was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

The second area of his research focus is on learning and innovation in wartime. This project combines a history (examining in particular learning during the First World War), contemporary strategic studies (exploring learning in the British armed forces during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) and management theory (applying and adapting organizational learning and knowledge management theories to armed forces). Dr Foley has published a number of articles in this area, and his article ‘Learning War’s Lessons: The German Army and the Battle of the Somme, 1916,’ Journal of Military History (2012) was awarded a Moncado Prize by the Society for Military History.

PhD Supervision

Dr Foley is happy to supervise PhD students in the following broad subject areas:

  • The First World War
  • Military Learning
  • Military Innovation
  • Military and Strategic Thought

Research Interests

  • First World War
  • German Military Thought, 1871-1945
  • Military Innovation and Learning

MA Special Subject

The Origins of the First World War, 1870-1914


Dr Robert Foley PURE Profile