Military History Conference

BG (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen

Commandant of Baltic Defence College in 1998-2004

Michael H. Clemmesen was the first Commandant and “Godfather” of the Baltic Defence College. He is a unique combination of a successful military officer with an equally successful and prosperous career as a researcher and military historian. From 2005 to 2016 he worked as a  Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Institute for Military History and War Studies at the Royal Danish Defence College. The fact that in 2009 he became the President of the Danish Commission for Military History certainly underscores his contribution to the study of military history, but he has also written on the theory of war and strategic thinking.

In 2013 he became the editor of “Fra Krig og Fred” (From War and Peace), the new Danish peer reviewed military history journal. Three years later he continued his research and teaching career as a Senior Research Fellow (em.) at the Institute for Military History, Cultural Understanding and War Studies at the Royal Danish Defence College. Currently, his main research project concentrates on Denmark’s shift during the 1920s from a de facto alliance with France within the League of Nations framework to the renewed  proactive appeasement of Germany.

Major historical work during the last decade:

  • Den lange vej mod 9. april. Historien om de fyrre år før den tyske operation mod Norge og Danmark i 1940 (Odense, 2010). (The geostrategic history of Denmark and Norway 1890-1940)
  • Det lille land før den Store Krig. De danske farvande, stormagtsstrategier, efterretninger og forsvarsforberedelser omkring kriserne 1911-13. (Odense, May 2012). (Denmark and the Great Powers during the pre-WW1 crises)
  • Northern European Overture to War, 1939-1941 (Leiden, June 2013). Edited together with Marcus S. Faulkner, King’s College, London.
  • Bondefanget til borgerkrigen. With Bernadette Preben-Hansen. (Odense 2015). (The military and social history of the Danish volunteer corps to Northern Russia 1919-20)
  • Om læring og indsigt fra krig, bind 1 og 2. (Odense 2018), (Learning and Insight from War) Editor.

1998-2004: Commandant of the Baltic Defence College. Retired from the army as Brigadier General end 2004

1994-1998: Defence Attaché of Denmark to the Baltic States

1991-1994: Director Strategic Studies & Director Joint Senior Staff Course at the Royal Danish Defence College

1989-1990: Director Joint Operational Arts Studies at the Royal Danish Defence College Member of the Danish Government Defence Commission of 1988

1984-1988: Troop Service, Combat Troops

1982-1984: Lecturer, Military History at the Army Academy Member of the Board of the Danish Commission for Security and Disarmament Affairs

Mid 1981: Master Degree (cand.phil.) in History from Copenhagen University 1979-1981: Defence Staff Long Term Defence Planning


  • Troop Service, Combat Troops (Guards Hussar Regiment)
  • One year UN service (Military Observer, Kashmir)
  • Staff Officer, Logistics, HQ Corps LANDZEALAND
  • History Studies at Copenhagen University from 1974
  • General Staff and Joint Senior Staff Course 1978-1979