20 I CHRONICLESnof our concern. Those of us who were safe in camps innCalifornia hardly thought of combat, except once, when ancontingent of Tarawa survivors were assigned to our camp.nTheir ghastly appearance woke us, temporarily at least, tonthe grim reality across the Pacific. Given the fact thatnAmericans fought from Normandy to Okinawa, it is amazingnthat I am acquainted with hardly a soul my exact agenwho ever heard a shot fired in anger. One friend was antailgunner in a bomber and was shot down over Italy andnplaced in a German prison camp. Another acquaintance innCharleston was wounded in France. Other friends whonserved in the war and were sent overseas were attached tonaircraft maintenance crews in India or Saipan, piloted smallnboats shuttling around an island anchorage, or were in unitsnthat went overseas after the fighting was over. With a fewnexceptions, my crowd—those who were 17 in 1943—werena bit too young, a little too late, for the epochal side ofnWorld War II.nLooking back on the war years, I have often wished Incould relive them, demonstrahng better qualities and experiencingnmore of the realities of war. Participation in a realnwar would have—I believe—better prepared me for a morencomplete and constructive life. Of course, it’s hard to bensure, and it may be an absurd wish. We can’t do life all overnagain. An imperfect vessel can’t be reworked. It is impossiblento implant into the personal past the daring, thenstamina, or what Tom Wolfe has called “the right stuff,” ifnthese qualities weren’t there. Other people came to the warnwith a better preparation for it, and, I suppose, many camenwith a poorer preparation than I had. One simply has thenearly experiences one has. We are -handed certain cards innlife and have to play with these cards and no others.nNevertheless, I think of myself during that time of nationalntesting and view myself as inadequate, unprepared, foolish,nignorant, naive, and immature. However, I also realizennow that our country, for all its sterling qualities, also wasnfoolish, ignorant, and naive, unprepared for the war and itsngrim aftermath.nIn many ways, America then and now remains theninnocent in the world. Its life experience, while hard, wasnnot the life experience of cruelty, repression, cynicism, andndisappointment that many of the old countries of Europenknew. America was thrust into an ugly world by World WarnII, its isolation ended, precisely as innocence and isolationnwere ended for millions of individual participants in thenupheaval that was the Second World War.nMILITARY HISTORY: VITAL, NEGLECTEDnby William R. Hawkinsn”What does it profit the reader to wade throughnwars and battles and sieges if he is not to penetratenthe Icnowledge of the causes which made one partynsucceed and the other fail?”n—PolybiusnPolybius was the most perceptive chronicler of Rome’snrise to greatness. He concentrated on political andnmilitary history not merely to record the facts or to entertainnan audience, but to provide lessons for the statesman.nToday, however, military history is out of favor in academicncircles. Scarcely one out of 10 universities offers courses innthe field, which makes it the least represented of the manynsubdisciplines of history. In survey courses, wars are mentionednbut rarely studied. They are little more than datesnaround which other material is organized. At the Ph.D.nlevel, a candidate finds it almost impossible to convince ancommittee that military history provides any serious topicsnfor scholarship. The military history courses that do existnare usually the creation of individual scholars, not standardndepartmental offerings, and if the faculty member leaves ornretires, the course goes with him.nOf course, Polybius lived in a violent age; the RomannRepublic was at peace only twice in its entire history.nWilliam R. Hawkins is the economics consultant to thenU.S. Business and Industrial Council and a columnist fornthe USBIC Writers Syndicate.nnnMilitary matters naturally loomed large in the affairs ofnstate. The same can be said for the other ancient historians:nThucydides, Livy, Xenophon, Herodotus, Arrian, Josephus,nTacitus. Yet today’s world is no less violent, withnterrorism to “limited” wars to the threat of a Third WorldnWar. The study of military history should be at center stage,nbut it is not. In fact, America’s last war, Vietnam, provokedna backlash against the serious study of war or militarynsecurity. Universities were instead to dedicate themselves tonmore enlightened pursuits.nThere is, of course, a great deal of “popular” militarynhistory on the market. A look through any bookstore revealsnthat war, in fact or fiction, has an enormous appeal to thenreading public. But one suspects that most of this audiencenreads these books as adventure stories or out of a fascinationnfor the technical details of the hardware involved. Not thatnthere is anything wrong with this. Personal accounts of thenrigors of war and the stress of command, as well asnknowledge about weaponry, are essential elements of thenstudy of military history. John Keegan’s The Face of Battle,nMartin Van Creveld’s Fighting Power, Charles MacDonald’snCompany Commander, and anything by S.L.A. Marshallnare essential. The problem is that the field is largernthan this, both in its scope and in the audience it shouldnreach. The decline in historical perspective among thengeneral population is an often cited consequence in thenoverall decline in formal education. Military history hasnsuffered even more because its neglect is purposeful.nThe explanation is bound up with matters both of tasten