Strachan in 2013
|Born||1 September 1949|
|Occupation||Military historian, author|
Sir Hew Francis Anthony Strachan ( STRAWN), (born 1 September 1949) is a British military historian, well known for his work on the administration of the British Army and the history of the First World War. He is currently Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, and a council member of the Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland. Since May 2014, he has been Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale. Before moving to St Andrews, Strachan was the Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.
Strachan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was educated at Rugby School, then in 1968 was a merchant seaman for three months, working his passage around the world on ships of Ben Line Steamers Ltd. He then spent three years at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1971 and proceeding to M.A. in 1975. In 1973, he joined a survey of antiquities in the Sudan.
In 1975, Strachan was elected a research fellow of Corpus Christi College, and in 1977-1978 was a senior lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In 1978, he returned to his Cambridge college as a tutor.
His early research and published work focussed on the history of the British Army, and he was awarded the Templer Medal for From Waterloo to Balaclava and the Westminster Medal for The Politics of the British Army. Commissioned by the Oxford University Press to write a history of the First World War to replace C. R. M. F. Cruttwell's one-volume A History of the Great War, 1914-1918, Strachan completed the first of three volumes, The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms in 2001 to wide acclaim and is acknowledged as one of the world's authorities on the subject. Accompanying the print publication of his one volume survey The First World War (2004) was a multi-part documentary series for television entitled The First World War, with some episodes being titled after the chapters in the written work. This set was also released on DVD by Image Entertainment.
He became admissions tutor and then senior tutor of Corpus Christi College, and in 1992 was elected a life fellow. He was Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow from 1992 to 2000, then migrated to Oxford as Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls.
He was director of the Oxford Programme on the Changing Character of War from 2004 to 2015, and has published a series of important articles on strategy, as well as editing books which have arisen from the project.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Historical Society. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Tweeddale in 2006. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Panel of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies. In addition, he is on the Chief of the Defence Staff's strategic advisory panel, the UK Defence Academy Advisory Board, and is an advisory fellow of the Barsanti Military History Center at the University of North Texas. He was on the council of the National Army Museum and is currently a trustee of the Imperial War Museum. In 2016, he became Patron of Western Front Association. He is a visiting professor of the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim and in 2009 was the Sir Howard Kippenberger Professor at Victoria University Wellington. He sits on the advisory board of the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University.
In January 2014, Strachan told The Daily Beast that President Barack Obama's failures in Afghanistan and Syria have shown that he is "chronically incapable" of military strategy. He said, "Bush may have had totally fanciful political objectives in terms of trying to fight a global War on Terror, which was inherently astrategic, but at least he had a clear sense of what he wanted to do in the world. Obama has no sense of what he wants to do in the world."
In 2005 Strachan was bestowed with an honorary Doctor of the University from the University of Paisley. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to the Ministry of Defence. In 2016, he won the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.