Being successful as a military historian requires continually enhancing your current skills while also acquiring new ones. Ongoing personal and professional development can be greatly enhanced by attending military history conferences where military historians come together to exchange thoughts and ideas on particular events and share in their desire to expand their knowledge of the world’s many historical conflicts. Below are five unique annual history conferences that could be especially beneficial for military historians.

The Society for Military History Annual Meeting

The Society for Military History strives to stimulate interest in the topic of military history and advance the level of study being performed within the field. Each year since being founded, they have hosted a conference that serves to advance these interests by exposing attendees to the latest in military historical research. In 2017, the Society for Military History held their 84th annual conference in Jacksonville, Florida from March 30-April 2. This year the conference focused on delivering presentations of new research regarding various wars waged over the course of history, and the overall impact they had on the involved societies.

The topics that were discussed varied greatly, but several noteworthy historical discussion panel topics included U.S. efforts against communism, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in war, advancements made in military technology, the evolution of modern military strategies, and an overview of various significant conflicts that have happened in different regions of the world. The conference also featured panels that involved in-depth discussion about how teachers can make military history more accessible to their students. All topics covered at the event were examined using cutting-edge research techniques that were provided to the audience as a value proposition to help them develop more efficient research plans. Military history professionals from across the globe attended the conference, including representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom, which helped enhance the diverse range of perspectives available for the topics being discussed.

American Council of Learned Societies Society for Military History Annual Meeting

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Society for Military History is an international organization of scholars who study military history from any time period or region of the world. Every year, the society meets to discuss a specific aspect of military history and invites military historians bring forth their latest research or discoveries.

In 2017, the ACLS’ Society for Military History Annual Meeting was held from May 11-13 in Baltimore, Maryland. The first day of the conference invited welcoming remarks from the organization’s president, Pauline Yu, and the schedule continued with a discussion session titled Who Speaks, Who Listens, which examined the role of humanities within society, and how the study of humanities and history can be used to better comprehend key social and moral values. The day also featured distinguished panelists who expanded on the topic introduced by Yu, while also highlighting the valuable points of the information presented during the discussion. The remainder of the conference featured multiple intellectual sessions, discussing innovations in the humanities curriculum, like military history. The discussions held at the conference invited diverse thoughts, particularly from historians working in academic fields. For those who were unable to attend the 2017 meeting, videos of the sessions are available at the ACLS website. The organization has also scheduled its next annual conference, which will be held April 26-28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

El Alamein and the War in the Mediterranean 1942: Seventy-Five Years On International Conference

From September 6-8, 2017, the El Alamein and the War in the Mediterranean 1942: Seventy-Five Years On International Conference was held at the University of Wolverhampton, in Wolverhampton, U.K. The conference explored the significance of the Battle of El Alamein, a decisive engagement fought by the Allied Forces in Egypt against the Axis Forces of Germany and Italy during World War II. Though the Allied Forces were victorious in this battle, and the victory helped the Allies to secure the African theater, the result of this conflict had major political and strategic fallout for every party that was involved throughout the entirety of the Second World War. Through keynote presentations and panel discussions at the event, military history scholars gained insight on how effectively examining a smaller military engagement within a major war can aid with understanding that particular battle’s impact on the overall war’s outcome. By understanding these ideas, professionals in the field can further develop their ability to draw conclusions about conflicts based on relevant contextual information, like political, social, and economic factors.

Organization of American Historians Annual Military History Meeting

The Organization of American Historians is a large society that is dedicated to the teaching and study of history in the United States. They hold meetings to discuss different aspects of American history, including the military history of the nation. There are currently more than 7,500 members in the organization, including professors, high school teachers, archivists, curators, students, and non-academic history professionals. Between April 6 and April 9, 2017, the Organization of American Historians held their annual meeting, during which they discussed key issues in American military history through panel discussions and lecture-based presentations. Discussions touched on historical events or issues that not only dramatically impacted the underlying foundations of the U.S. military, but also the nation as a whole.

On the first day of the conference, a discussion focused on how the Second World War contributed to the growth of the American nation, as well as how the United States military impacts the world from beyond the fields of battle. The next day of discussion began with the theme From War for Independence to the Revolutionary War, involved lecture-based presentations that offered unique perspectives on how the American Revolution affected other nations. The second half of this day featured a discussion panel speaking on the topic of the Legacies of World War I, primarily discussing how American politics and war efforts have been changed since World War I.

The second half of the conference focused on technology, with half of the time being spent on presentations that detailed the diverse role camera technology has played in military history. The second portion focused on explaining how America impacts the world through the sale of armaments. The final event of the conference featured lecture-style presentations focused on the connection between women’s rights and military history. Focusing on covering the latest research and in-depth information regarding our military’s overall history and significance, this annual conference can provide valuable insights for individuals in the field.

American Historical Association Annual Meeting

The American Historical Association is currently the oldest historical society for historians and academics in the United States, and 2017 welcomed the organization’s 131st annual conference. This conference saw more than 3,500 attendees and was held from January 5-8 in Denver, Colorado. During the conference, attendees had the opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers, gain insight from leaders in their field, and interact with affiliate sponsors. The program was packed with a diverse range of informative programs, of which several were based upon the advancement of military history study.

This annual meeting of the American Historical Association featured several distinguished and experienced historians and academics as panelists, including Nathan Citino, who discussed a number of domestic topics that should be considered by the United States’ new President within his first 100 days of taking office; Patrick Troester, who presented on the continued conflicts on the US-Mexican border; and Jovana Knezevic, who examined World War I through the perspective of gender history, among others. Though this event is not entirely centered around military history, the in-depth discussion of world politics and economics complements the featured military history discussions and provides a well-rounded viewpoint of American history.

Making new professional connections is a highly valuable aspect of attending military history conferences, but the knowledge gained while attending can also be invaluable for historians aiming to refine their academic skills and overall historical knowledge. Being present for the discussion of a new research strategy or recent discovery can help position individuals for career advancement and increase their potential for gaining recognition within the field.

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Established in 1819, Norwich University is a nationally recognized institution of higher education, the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and the first private military college in the United States. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.

Norwich University’s Master of Arts in Military History program takes an unbiased and global approach towards exploring military thought, theory and engagement throughout recorded history. The unique curriculum of the online Master of Arts in Military History program was developed by the distinguished faculty of Norwich University and guided by the goals outlined by the American Historical Association. This highly regarded program is designed to help build your proficiency as a historian, and places our world’s military achievements and conflicts in chronological, geographical, political and economic context.

Recommended Readings
Who Won the Second Battle of Marne?
American Women in War: Their Evolving Role


Society for Military History Annual Meeting, Society for Military History

Society for Military History, American Council of Learned Societies

Annual Meetings, American Council of Learned Societies

OAH Annual Meeting, Organization of American Historians

Annual Meeting, American Historical Association

Military History Fest,

El Alamein and the War in the Mediterranean 1942: Seventy Five Years On, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies

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