This article titled ‘Strategy, Theory and History’ by Dr Christian Tripodi via Defence-in-Depth discusses how a particular experience changed his approach. He moved from not wanting to be labeled as a military historian for fear of producing unoriginal and derivative work, to embracing the label.
Dr Tripodi’s short article suggests that military history pieces require more than a description of battles to make sense of events. It argues that “without a firm theoretical grasp of how war functions in terms of engaging rational designs with the forces of chance, chaos and contingency, then we slip into dangerously misleading territory. In particular, we derive a false understanding of how war actually works and, most importantly, how accurately we can use military operations to serve the objectives that we desire. Unless military history can find a way to accommodate the insights provided by theorists of war, as opposed to just theorists of battles, then not only will it forever fail to provide the necessary intellectual rigour required by scholars, but it will also encourage those who read it to believe that the results of operations and conflicts can be explained by simple observable outcomes, rather than by the complex and inherent nature of war itself.”
Read the article and let us know if you agree with the author’s perspective. Consider further reading on his more detailed works (links provided via the website) as well.