Military & War History

Violent conflict, and the organization of society for such conflict, has always been a vital part of history, often a tragic part. The University of Virginia’s history faculty research and teach about the causes and character of warfare from ancient Greece and Rome, to medieval Europe, to the American Civil War, to the Cold War, to the twilight wars of today. Modern military history includes the study of why some of these pivotal events turned out the way they did, but it is about much more than campaigns and battles. It involves how warfare, or preparation for war, molds countries, societies, and cultural identity. It is about the experience of leaders, soldiers, and civilians and how these experiences are later remembered and understood (or not). Military and war history necessarily explore how societies develop new technologies or change their economies or refashion norms in gender and race relations, or reflect on laws and norms that respect the common humanity of war’s victims. In this last category in particular, there is often an overlap with the history of genocide. Especially in recent generations, military and war history also very much deal with the world of intelligence gathering and the way governments and peoples assess each other, sometimes in fear – hopefully in friendship.


John L Nau, III, Professor in History of American Civil War, Director, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History
395 Nau Hall
Office Hours: On leave spring 2021
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Military & War History, Women, Gender, & Sexuality
William W. Corcoran Professor of History
Nau 285
Office Hours: Fall 2020: By appointment
Themes: Empire & Colonialism, Genocide & Violence, Military & War History, Transnational and Diplomatic History

Graduate Student

Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-3:30 (virtual) and by appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Legal History, Military & War History, Political History
Nau 296
Office Hours: Fridays, 10:00-12:00
Themes: History of Slavery, Military & War History, Political History
Matthew Frakes
103B Jefferson Fellows Center, Jefferson Scholars Foundation
Office Hours: By appointment
Themes: Military & War History, Political History, Transnational and Diplomatic History