Archives of War
There is a perfect storm of technological, economic and political change blowing over the history of warfare of this century. At all points on the official historical trajectory of military operational records, from production and collection of documents in the field, to their collation and archiving by Historical Branch (Army) to their assessment for declassification or destruction by Defence Business Services, through to their being made public via The National Archives, the shift from paper to digital utterly transforms the very nature of all of these organizations’ business and how the history of war will or won’t be written.
Andrew will ask, in addition to the threats to openness, what are the threats of openness in pressurizing the throughput of military records (the Public Records Act move from the 30 to 20 Year Rule) in terms of the future history of warfare? What are the competing demands of government and privatized records keeping? And how have digital records created fresh uncertainties for what may or may not emerge in The National Archives?
This paper draws upon his AHRC Research Fellowship including an ethnography of Historical Branch (Army) the keepers of the official operational records of the British Army (http://archivesofwar.com).