By LTG Frederick “Ben” Hodges
For those leaders of rotational brigades who will participate in great training exercises and opportunities with our European Allies, I do not want you to view your mission in isolation. Understanding the context for which you are being called forward will be an essential component to your success. You need to understand the histories, the personalities, and the peoples that have shaped Europe over the last two hundred years to best grasp the significance of the current operational environment. Without this background, I believe that many of you will miss the importance of the work you do here.
Next, I think you need to understand the lessons learned from military leaders who once fought on this continent. Their experiences with the people, the terrain, and the weather might prove useful to you as you maneuver your formations across the same ground.
Below is a list of recommended books that I believe will help give you the context and the foundation that will make you successful during your time here in Europe.
Army Strong! Strong Europe!
War, Peace and International Relations by Colin S. Gray is a great starting point. His book provides a brief, easily readable survey of the last two hundred years of strategic European history, explaining how war and conflict has made, unmade, and remade the European Continent.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about U.S. Army Europe, I encourage readers to check out their homepage here. If you have additional reading or podcasts suggestions, please include them in the comments section below.