Welcome to the Department of History
The Department of History's Mission is to impart to cadets the historical knowledge, appreciation of history, and critical thinking and communication skills necessary to be successful leaders, able to understand human behavior, ideas, and actions in a global context.
As Army officers, West Point graduates will perform a broad spectrum of missions vitally important to our nation's security and interests. They must be intellectually and professionally prepared to face these challenges in an uncertain and dangerous world inhabited by peoples of different languages, religions, and cultures. The Department of History contributes to cadets' intellectual and professional development by imparting historical knowledge, an appreciation of history, and critical thinking and communication skills.
Officers who are critical thinkers challenge accepted wisdom in the search for truth and justice. They are open-minded and able to make independent and informed decisions. They reject simplistic answers that suggest the existence of a black-and-white world; rather, they accept the ambiguity associated with most human endeavors and seek the best solution rather than a single "correct" one. The study of history encourages critical thinking by requiring cadets to:
- formulate critical questions;
- conduct research by gathering and prioritizing information;
- analyze information within the broad context in which it appears;
- interpret and synthesize information;
- derive reasoned, evidence-based conclusions;
- assess and adjust their conclusions as conditions change or new information becomes available.