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last updated 18-Aug-2020
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Private Military History is a topic in its own right. As such, many studies have been published dealing with Medieval and early-modern form of military entrepreneurship and mercemarism. However, the literature covering the historical evolution of PMCs, and/or parallels that can be established between the modern private military business and past markets for force is scant. Nevertheless, the collection of articles offered here should give you an idea of some key private Private Military History issues and themes. We are planning to expand this section in the future and incorporate listings and commentary in relation to BOOKS.
More topics soon!


O'BRIEN, Kevin A. PMCs, Myths and Mercenaries: the debate on private militaries companies. Royal United Service Institute Journal, February 2000: TEXT

KEY ISSUE: One of the most common fallacies in discussing the existence of PMCs is that they are a ‘new phenomenon’; in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In the period preceding 1990, the overwhelming majority of PMCs involved in foreign military operations around the world originated in Britain, with the focus of their operations being largely, but not exclusively, in the Middle East, as well as in Africa, Latin America and the Far East.


ORTIZ, Carlos. Overseas Trade in Early Modernity and the Emergence of Embryonic Private Military Companies , in Jäger, Thomas and Kümmel, Gerhard (eds). Private Military and Security Companies. Chances, Problems, Pitfalls and Prospects, Vs Verlag, 2007, pp 11-22: PDF

KEY ISSUE: Paralles between PMCs and overseas trading companies have been suggested in the literature. Nevertheless, authors tend to approach the trading companies as military actors as a whole whereas I establish the need to distinguish their military forces from the overall commercial enterprises.


SMITH, Eugene B. The New Condottieri and US Policy: The Privatization of Conflict and Its Implications. Parameters, Winter 2002-03, vol. 32, no. 4: PDF

RELEVANT HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The early European use of organized mercenaries was in the form of private bodies in the 14th century known variously as Free Companies or Great Companies. These organizations ultimately developed in Italy as condottieri (literally, military contractors), who offered their services to the highest bidder.


ZAMPARELLI, Steven J. (United States Air Force, Colonel) Contractors on the Battlefield: What Have We Signed Up For. Air Force Journal of Logistics, vol. 23, no. 3, 1999, 11-19: PDF

RELEVANT U.S. MILITARY HISTORY BACKGROUND: As far back as General Washington’s Continental Army, civilians were employed to drive wagons, provide architect/ engineering and carpentry services, obtain food stuffs (when not foraged), and provide medical services. The Continental Congress believed civilians should accomplish these tasks so that the soldiers could be freed up to be with their units and focus on their warfighting responsibilities (...)


• ZARATE, Juan Carlos. The Emergence of a New Dog of War: Private International Security Companies, International Law, and the New World Disorder. Stanford Journal of International Law. 1998, vol. 34. [The article is no longer available as a free download; no abstract provided by the journal; thus only listed for reference purposes]: Journal page

KEY ISSUE: The historical context of the development and modern existence of mercenary troops is essential to an understanding of the modern state response to mercenaries and the resolutions and conventions adopted by many countries to regulate or outlaw their activity.




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