The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Topics in History: GRAND STRATEGY

Starting in Winter 2010, Temple University began offering a course in Grand Strategy to Honors Undergraduate and Graduate students. The course, team-taught by Dr. William I. Hitchcock and Dr. Richard H. Immerman offered students an opportunity to engage with classic strategic texts and apply strategic thinking to historical and contemporary issues of international security.

This page offers an opportunity to view the syllabus and to read some of the original work completed by students in the Grand Strategy seminar.

 

Spring 2010 Staff Ride at Gettysburg

The inaugural Grand Strategy class spent a day on the battlefields at Gettysburg, exploring the tactical, operational, and strategic elements of the battle.

                    

 

 

Click here to read the 2010 syllabus.

About the course:

This course explores the meaning of “grand strategy” in international politics. The term “grand strategy” is one we will seek to define over the course of the semester, but we use it as shorthand for a way of thinking about power. Much of the course focuses on the efforts of leaders, over a period of 2,500 years, to achieve specific goals (‘ends’) for their  societies, and their search for sufficient tools (‘means’) to achieve those goals. Many of the leaders whose lives and policy choices we will explore lived in extremely complex times, and faced unusually difficult sets of political, social, economic and geographical challenges as they set out to advance, or protect, the interests of their peoples. How did certain leaders in history navigate through such difficult terrain? Which were successful and which were not, and why? Which of these individuals developed a coherent “grand strategy” to help guide them and their states as they passed through times of serious crisis and global transformation? Are there certain principles about war, peace, conflict, and human nature that we can extract from exploring these case-studies? And what lessons might we learn about own times by studying the past? These are the sorts of questions we will be discussing over the course of the semester.

 

Click here to read an essay by undergraduate student Summer Beckley, answering the following question:

 "How does Thucydides use the civil war in Corcyra to encapsulate certain truths about the impact of war on society?"

 

 

Click here to read an essay by undergraduate student Zack Groff, answering the following question:

"How does Clausewitz define military genius and what role does he assign it battle?"

 

 

Click here to read an essay by graduate student Eric Phillipps, answering the following question:

"What is Thucydides’ opinion of the effectiveness of democracies to fight wars?"

 

 

Click here to read a review of Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, by graduate student Tim Sayle.