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Introduction to the French Edition


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.00003.x


To publish a specialized dictionary bearing on an activity like warfare, which has occupied and is always likely to occupy an important place in the life of mankind, is a matter of some delicacy. Only a voluminous encyclopedia could aspire to achieve this objective. Even then, however richly detailed it might be, such a work would be necessarily uneven, incomplete and, given the current developments in technology, very soon outdated. There are, moreover, some highly respected military dictionaries in most major languages, though some of these are many years old, run to several volumes and, in some cases, derive from earlier works. We should, however, mention the Encyclopaedia of Military History , ed. R. E. and T. N. Dupuy (4th edn, New York, 1993). The present work has a necessarily different purpose, which imposes more modest dimensions. When the Presses Universitaires de France asked me to produce a military dictionary of 800 pages covering all periods of history and all countries, my first reaction was to decline an invitation to take on what I regarded as an over-ambitious project. The enterprise also had no stated objective. None the less, after some hasty reflection, I agreed to assume the direction of this necessarily collective undertaking since I believed I had found a purpose that it could fulfil. At the end of the twentieth century, military history is still feeling ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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