Military history and theory

​​Historical studies can illustrate how social change affects military institutions and are especially applicable to the evolution of military theory.

We analyse the historical development of military thought, carry out independent evaluations of recent doctrine, and cover strategic thinking in certain regional powers. Scholars at the Centre produce articles and books on institutional histories, which serve to preserve the institutional memory of individual military units. The Institute of Defence Studies consistently emphasizes the need to link its methodology to that of the “War and Society” school of historical research.


Research projects

Planning for Norway’s Postwar Defence in the 1940s
After the Second World War, the Norwegian armed forces had to be rebuilt. The research project study defence planning in the 1940s. The foundation was the forces that had taken part in the war outside Norway and personnel that had remained in the country. The new organisation was to be based on the concept of total defence, build on war experiences and designed according to modern and democratic principles. A key war experience was that Norway could not defend itself against a great power by itself, so Norwegian forces were tasked with holding out until the arrival of allied reinforcements.
Contact: Gullow Gjeseth

Central leadership of the Armed Forces 1940–2003
This PhD project examines the history of the central leadership of the Norwegian Armed Forces over a protracted period. Special attention is given to analyzing the history of the defence sector from a broadly social perspective. The decision system in the Armed Forces is considered in relation to Norway’s government administration and international trends. The project is funded by the Ministry of Defence.
Contact: Kjell Inge Bjerga

The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence 1814–2014
This project examines the 200-year history of the Ministry of Defence. There will be an emphasis on examining the ministry’s historical development in a broader political and social context, and on establishing the manner in which the role and functions of the ministry were worked out under the different variants of the democratic state system in Norway.
Contact: Tom Kristiansen and Kjell Inge Bjerga


Primary source: Nils Trosner’s diary 1710–1714
This joint Danish–Norwegian project will collate and publish Nils Trosner’s diary, 1710–1714, as an illustrated historical primary source. Trosner served in the joint Danish–Norwegian fleet, and his diary is considered one of the most important historical sources of information on the joint fleet. The book will offer a unique insight into the cultural and maritime history of the period, and is being written jointly with Hans Christian Bjerg, Denmark. The work will result in a publication in two volumes.
Contact: Tor Jørgen Melien




Published 05 November 2014 10:46.. Last updated 01 April 2016 11:09.