Lancaster leads major new analysis of European defence policies and armed forces


28 June 2018 11:24
Image: Paolo Uccello, Battle of San Romano, c.1436–1439. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy. Photo: © akg-images/MONDADORI PORTFOLIO/Antonio Quattrone © Image: Paolo Uccello, Battle of San Romano, c.1436–1439. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy. Photo: © akg-images/MONDADORI PORTFOLIO/Antonio Quattrone

A book, co-edited by a Lancaster University History Department lecturer, aims to shed new light on why a truly integrated European defence remains a distant ideal.

The armed forces of Europe have undergone a dramatic transformation since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This week sees the publication of a major new work on defence policy, co-edited by Dr Marco Wyss, a lecturer in the International History of the Cold War

The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces’ includes 51 chapters from experts across the globe to assess how Europe's armed forces have been transformed in the wake of the Cold War, analysing the doctrines and defence policies of the European powers, as well as their strategies, alliances and military operations.

The first comprehensive treatment of this topic, the Handbook is unique in its pan-European approach. It addresses the policies of not only the major European powers such as the UK, France and Germany, but also the medium and lesser powers, from Italy and Turkey to the Baltic States, Greece and Ireland.

It also explores thematically the major strategic and technological developments that have followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, from land, sea and air warfare to conflict in space, counter-terrorism and cyber-defence.

The Handbook has been hailed by Professor Theo Farrell, of King's College London, as an 'outstanding collection...an essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of European defence and security' which, according to Professor Beatrice Heuser, of the University of Glasgow 'should be on every security studies scholar and defence practitioner's shelf’.

Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Programme Professor Barry R Posen, said: “At a time when international politics suddenly seems to resemble the traditional security and power competitions of the past ... the systematic study of security policy in Europe has suffered from a kind of balkanization; some study politics; some study institutions; a few study actual military power and its employment ... This work approaches the study of European security from all of these perspectives, integrates them, and most importantly focuses on the nation states, which remain the locus of European military capabilities, and thus fighting power.”

Dr Wyss, who co-edited the collection with Dr Hugo Meijer from the European University Institute, said: “This Handbook moves beyond the dominating approach to European defence and security which, since the temporary and ephemeral rise of the EU’s foreign policy and security ambitions, has focused on the supranational, instead of the national level.

“The Handbook instead turns the analytical lens upside down, and first focuses on the parts in order to understand the whole. Only this will allow us to understand why a truly integrated European defence remains a distant ideal.”

The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces is published by Oxford University Press UK and US.


Back to News