n Journal for Contemporary History - Marrying Sparta and Athens : the South African Military Academy and task-orientated junior officer development in peace and war, 1950-2001

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



A unique skill underpinned by a systematic body of knowledge and theory, acquired through training and education over a long period is the basic characteris - tic of any profession. Before the advent of standing armies and professional officers' corps, military training focussed on weapon skills, tactical drills and physical fitness. Technological development and the concomitant increasing complexity of weapon systems, however, created a need for particular academic knowledge and skills on the part of military officers. This brought the introduction of institutions to impact such knowledge and skills and led to the establishment of military academies in Europe, particularly France, Prussia and England, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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