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Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


Soldiers require a highly specific vocational training. War is the best school but, in peacetime, contrived exercises which attempt to accustom men to wartime situations must suffice. Modern electronics and computers permit simulations of actual battle but they are expensive and cannot reproduce the psychological and physical ordeal of combat. Since one of the cardinal principles of the military profession is that life might have to be sacrificed, training to produce courage, self-discipline and good morale has a high priority. Physical fitness is essential for a soldier. More recently, the introduction of sophisticated weapons systems and communications networks has demanded a higher level of technical expertise. A distinction needs to be drawn between the various types of military instruction. Schooling in the use of weapons – swordsmanship, musketry – can occur outside the armed forces. Within the army, the training of the other ranks differs from that of officers. Social factors strongly influence the varieties of training. Family traditions, or the membership of a class that has a military vocation, such as the nobility, or of a warrior caste can provide the bases of military training within a general social ethos. A parallel between a social and a military hierarchy was a feature of the ancien régime and has not entirely disappeared in the twentieth century. In most states, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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