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History and the Perils of Grand Strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-385
Number of pages35
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jun 2020
Accepted/In press29 Jan 2019
E-pub ahead of print11 Jun 2020
Published11 Jun 2020


King's Authors


Grand strategy is of increasing interest to policy makers and scholars today. Considerable attention has been devoted to attempting to define what grand strategy is, and what it ought to entail. This article argues that these attempts risk imposing a modern Anglophone conception of ‘grand’ strategy upon cultures and periods which conceptualised strategy in alternative ways. Illustrating these points through a study of Great Britain between c. 1870-1928 – where the origins of the term ‘grand strategy’ are often located – it argues for a new approach to the study of grand strategy. Employing concepts from Intellectual History, it suggests that a longue durée study of grand strategy which does not sacrifice contextual factors is attainable if historians play a more active role in the study of strategy.

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