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Scapegoat arm: twentieth-century cavalry in Anglophone historiography

Phillips, Gervase (2007) Scapegoat arm: twentieth-century cavalry in Anglophone historiography. The journal of military history, 71 (1). pp. 37-74. ISSN 1543-7795

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Abstract

The cavalry has not been treated kindly by military historians. Portrayed as an anachronism on the twentieth-century battlefield, the arm became a convenient scapegoat for failures in war and the slow pace of modernisation in peacetime. This article traces the debate over cavalry over the course of the last hundred years, drawing both on contemporary sources and later historical analysis. It is suggested that a reassessment of the capabilities of early twentieth-century soldiers and an interest in the military history of eastern Europe has led, in turn, to a more positive interpretation of the cavalry's role in modern warfare.

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