The concept of "decisive battles" in world history

Yuval Noah Harari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article discusses the historiography of the concept of "decisive battles" and tries to explain both its popularity and its present eclipse, focusing in particular on the ideological and aesthetic foundations of the concept. The article further considers whether the concept might still be useful for the writing of world history. It concludes that there is some merit in the traditional view of decisive battles as events that change the course of history and bring a significant element of chaos into it. There is, however, less merit in the view of decisive battles as symbols for long-term historical developments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of World History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


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