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Letter from Military History Quarterly - Autumn 2008

Originally published on Published Online: September 03, 2008 
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Bewegungskrieg. Get it? Nor did I, until I read Robert M. Citino's exhilarating cover story, "Death of the Wehrmacht," in which he reveals the stranglehold that history and tradition can have on modern combatants, tracing the inevitable connection between the 300-year-old Prussian war of movement, Bewegungskrieg, and the Wehrmacht's drives on Stalingrad and the Caucasus in 1942. Between 1675 and 1942 there appeared to be no limit to what German maneuver tactics like Blitzkrieg could achieve.

But with the might of America and Russia aligned against it, did Germany have a prayer of succeeding in the east? Surprisingly, writes Citino, it did—and came within a hair's breadth of turning the tide against the Allies. Great stuff, beautifully written, and a piece I am proud to bring to you in my first issue as editor of MHQ.

With Citino's and the other articles in this issue we continue MHQ's rich, twenty-year tradition of publishing sharply drawn and exquisitely illustrated pieces by top historians. Also in this issue, for example, longtime contributor Robert Utley weighs in with a searing tale of the Apache warrior Victorio (watch for the cruel twist at the end), while Cecelia Holland reveals how Heraclius staved off the Persians. And we will of course continue to deliver profiles and combat stories, first-person accounts, weapons and tactics articles, detailed battle maps, and startling, rare photos (see cover image!) and illustrations.

But I plan to raise our ambition even higher, bringing in fresh voices like Citino's, and pushing our writers to tell untold stories in ever more compelling ways. You'll also note a few more visible changes, such as the debut of two new features: "Point of View," which is precisely that, a take by an expert on a particular theme of military history; and "Portfolio," a gallery featuring striking and unusual war art.

And we welcome two additions to our masthead in contributing editors Noah Andre Trudeau and Adrian Goldsworthy, both prolific, talented writers, and no strangers to our pages. Trudeau's "Needless Valor" is a troubling tale of black Federal troops who in their first major engagement suffered eight hundred casualties and earned an astonishing fourteen Medals of Honor—all in an 1864 battle that he asserts never should have been fought. Goldsworthy in "Can the Counters Be Counted On?" reaches a surprising conclusion about the reliability of the numbers that ancient military historians recorded.

There's plenty more in this issue, but I trust you'll find it on your own, and once you have I would love to hear your thoughts—just drop me an e-mail at

William W. Horne


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