The Evolution of Army Style in the Modern West, 800–2000

TitleThe Evolution of Army Style in the Modern West, 800–2000
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsLynn, John A.
JournalInternational History Review
Date Published09/1996

Over the past millennium the style of armies in Europe and the United States has evolved through seven distinct stages. Institutional characteristics such as recruitment, social composition, motivation, command, and administration are more important to understanding the nature of an army than technology or tactics. Each transition combined innovative and conservative elements. The nature of war required all armies to evolve in close parallel from feudal through medieval-stipendiary, aggregate-contract, state-commission, popular-conscript, and mass-reserve to volunteer-technical. Historians are correct to incorporate social elements into military studies but too often focus on peripheral topics rather than central concerns of warfare.

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