The majority of the IHR’s military collection relates to the armed forces of Europe, ranging from the medieval period to post-Second World War. The collection contains general reference material (bibliographies, catalogues and archive guides), collected works and biographies, a considerable amount of source materials (diaries, correspondence, army lists, military tactics, maps), and periodicals.
Highlights from the Collections
Guides to Sources
Primary Source Material
The IHR collects predominantly primary materials, and within the military collection there are a wealth of sources that will elaborate upon both personal experiences of those in wars, as well as providing information directly related to specific battles. These sources can shed light on individual and national experience during military campaigns. Some examples include:
- Memoirs and biographies including Les mémoires d'un poilu d'Aunis : un si long cauchemar and Murat : 1767-1815
- Diaries, for example The diary and despatches of a military attache in Warsaw, 1938-1939
- Military correspondence, both official and personal, including the Further correspondence relative to the military expedition to the east : pts. 5-8, Feb. 1855-March 1856 from the British War Cabinet
- Details of military tactics, such as Cours d'art militaire : tactique
- Comprehensive runs of official Army and Navy lists
- Official government maps such as the Catalogue of maps published by the Topographical Section of the British War Cabinet. Many of the sources within the collection come with accompanying maps.
Historiography and Memory
The collection includes a growing range of titles on military historiography as well as work on conflict remembrance and commemoration. Below is a list readers can find in our collection.
- Bomber boys on screen: RAF Bomber Command in film and television drama
- Britain's two world wars against Germany: myth, memory and the distortions of hindsight
- British cultural memory and the Second World War
- The Dresden firebombing: memory and the politics of commemorating destruction
- The enemy on display: the Second World War in Eastern European museums
- German historians and the bombing of German cities: the contested air war
- The Great War in Russian memory
- Hiroshima: the origins of global memory culture
- The long shadow of Waterloo: myths, memories, and debates
- Narratives of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: military and civilian experience in Britain and Ireland
- On military memoirs: a quantitative comparison of international Afghanistan War autobiographies, 2001-2010
- Remembering the Falklands War: media, memory and identity
- Remembering the South African War: Britain and the memory of the Anglo-Boer War, from 1899 to the present
- Sites of memory, sites of mourning: the great war in European cultural history
- The Vietnam War in American memory: veterans, memorials, and the politics of healing
- Writing the military history of pre-Crusade Europe: studies in sources and source criticism
These are designed to complement the main collection of primary sources. These reference works would be useful as introductions to the subject, and could be helpful when used alongside primary materials. Below are just some examples of the secondary reference material that the military collection contains.
Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias
- A Dictionary of military history and the art of war
- Dictionary of Canadian military history
- Encyclopaedia of World War II: a political, social, and military history
- International encyclopaedia of military history
- Brassey's encyclopaedia of military history and biography
These form a substantial part of the collection and can be useful for suggesting further sources for consultation, as well as providing articles on the subject. While military history may be dealt with in a number of the journals subscribed to by the IHR, the following will be the most relevant to those studying the field. The current issue of each journal is available on open access. BBIH and JSTOR are examples of the online databases that can be used to locate journal articles.
The library has an extensive collection of University of London PhD and MPhil history theses from the early twentieth century to the twenty-first century. Some titles relevant to military history include:
Within the IHR Wohl Library
Browse collection guides to find material relevant to your particular area of interest. Other collections that may be relevant include:
- Most of our national collections (i.e. Britain for the Civil Wars, United States for the American Civil War and the Low Countries for the wars with Spain)
- International Relations
Other libraries, archives, organisations
Contact us if you would like help on finding or using our collections, or if you have any comments or suggestions about the content of this guide. We are happy to help.
You can also book a tour or training session.