This video titled 'How do we learn from the past? 'via YouTube is from the 'What is War Today?' series of panel discussions presented by the University of Cambridge. The panel discussion is chaired by Professor Sir Hew Strachan who is featured across a number of our #BreakIn subjects. The opening suggestion is that we do in fact learn from the past, and that studying past wars can generate both positive and negative outcomes.

There is an upfront acknowledgement that no two conflicts are exactly the same so history alone will never provide an exact answer to current and future problems. At the same time, the lessons and principles from studying the past will give people the tools they need to analyse problems as they move forward. The 4 panelists are:

  • Gill Bennett, OBE: Former Chief Historian of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Senior Editor of the FCO’s official history of post-war foreign policy, Documents on British Policy Overseas, 1995-2005. She was a Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 2002-03 and formerly Assistant Editor of Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939.
  • Professor Andrew Preston: A Canadian historian, who focuses on American history and won the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for his book Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy. He is also a fellow at Clare College, Cambridge where he acts as a director of studies in history.
  • General Sir Roger Wheeler, GCB, CBE: A retired British Army officer who served as Chief of the General Staff from 1997 to 2000. During his career he was involved in the Cyprus Emergency, directed military operations in Northern Ireland and led the UK's forces deployed on NATO operations in Bosnia.
  • Rear Admiral Christopher Parry, CBE: A former Royal Navy officer who was an observer in the Fleet Air Arm, and involved in the Falklands War. He held a number of command appointments including HMS Gloucester, the Maritime Warfare Centre and HMS Fearless in January 2000. As a commodore, he was Director Operational Capability in the Ministry of Defence and then Commander, Amphibious Task Group.

Watch the video and let us know your thoughts. Do you think the Australian Army invests adequately in military history and its application to current and future conflict?