Thursday Jun 15, 2023

What Can History Tell Us About Ukraine’s Future?

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is shaping up to be the biggest military operation in Europe since World War II. As Kyiv works to push back Russian troops, there is a lot of focus on how modern technology including drones and satellite Internet terminals is being deployed. But these new advanced systems aside, the battlefield scenes from Ukraine’s frontlines look like they could be from the western front in 1916. 

For the historian Margaret MacMillan, the resonance of World War I goes well beyond the images coming out of Ukraine. As she writes in a new essay for Foreign Affairs, the experience of that earlier great war in Europe “should remind us of the dreadful costs of a prolonged and bitter armed conflict.”

We discuss how leaders decide to stop fighting, the usefulness of historical analogies, and how the end of one war can lay the groundwork for the next. 

You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

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