Briefing Room

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All you need to know about… Erich Ludendorff

Neat ‘tache… who was he? Once called ‘the most powerful man in Germany’, Erich Ludendorff was a prominent general in the German Army of the First World War. He was also a writer, military theorist, and ultra right-wing politician. He went to cadet school at an early age, and later attended the prestigious War Academy. He […]



Look at that bling – who was he? Hailed by historians as ‘a second Alexander’ and ‘the Napoleon of the East’, Nader Shah was Shah (monarch) of Persia from 1736 to 1747. He was a gifted military commander and used his prowess to build a huge empire that included Iran, Afghanistan, the North Caucasus, northern India, and much of central […]



Andy Lawrence continues his series discussing the major themes of military history. This month, alliances. With friends like these… Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt all sat together at Yalta. Why do many see this as the iconic photograph of World War II? Possibly because it encapsulates the key reason for the Axis defeat in 1945. We […]


The Anatomy of Military Incompetence

Indecision Breeds Defeat Failure to make any decision is almost as bad as making a poor decision. Decisiveness, one way or another, is a quality generally valued on the battlefield, whereas ditherers seldom get a good press. The heat of conflict can often turn previously clear-minded men into stumbling wrecks. Napoleon’s mastery of the battlefield in the early years of the 19th century needs […]