Welcome to the second issue of volume 3.
We have a bumper start to 2017 with a range of papers that consider everything from the manipulation of public opinion in the 18th century following the Battle of Almenar to the role of junior Officer Training Centres in creating a sense of British national identity. In between we take in the Indian volunteers of the Japanese F. Kikan and have a look at the effectiveness of Pioneer Battalions during the Great War.
If there is a theme, however, then it relates to a series of intriguing factors that otherwise receive comparatively little attention. Concerned with fear, psychology and the manipulation of news for propaganda purposes, this issue could be characterised as taking a look at the role of knowledge creation and myth making in military history. Whether it is Brett Holman’s investigation into the 1914 reports that the Germans had Zeppelin bases in Buckinghamshire or Tim Jenkins’ investigation into airborne invasion, the matter turns on the way that knowledge about an event is created and manipulated.
In this respect, the final paper in this issue considers the thorny topic of official military history. If ever there was a form of publication that absolutely had to avoid myth making and propaganda you would hope that it would be an Official History. In this last paper Professor Andrew Hoskins and myself make explicit the factors that frame the writing of OH and try to outline the parameters that shape this type of publication.
Before signing off, the editorial team would like to thank Major-general (rtd.) Mungo Melvin for all his support. Mungo is about to step down as President of the British Commission for Military History and so we want to take this opportunity to wish him every success for the future. We are very pleased to note that Mungo has now joined Twitter and so we would encourage you all to follow him at@MungoMelvin.
As ever we welcome your comments and feedback.
DR MATTHEW FORD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF