Military history and the history of knowledge are two fields of research that have prospered internationally in recent decades, but which have rarely entered into dialogue with each other. This thematic booklet takes this as an opportunity to explore the potential of knowledge-historical perspectives for (early) modern military history and at the same time to critically illuminate the hitherto often unreflected caesura character of the years around 1800: Was there a separate military knowledge culture or to what extent did the military participate in the civilian knowledge cultures of its social environment? Which actors, which practices and which media played a role in the scientification of the military in the transformation from the art of war to the science of war?
It is precisely the broadened analytical horizon of the history of knowledge that makes it possible to take account of the diversity of forms of knowledge and to situate corresponding developments appropriately in their historical contexts. Moreover, the cross-epochal approach offers the opportunity to highlight not only breaks but also possible continuities between early modern and modern military life and its relations to knowledge, and to correct any inaccuracies or historiographically induced abridgements by setting new emphases.