Coutau-Bégarie, Hervé 1956–

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Coutau-Bégarie, Hervé 1956–


Born November 22, 1956, in Angers, France; son of Paul Coutau (an international broker) and Nadine Bégarie; married Claire Doré Graslin, October 11, 1997; children: Paul, Agathe. Ethnicity: "French." Education: Earned Ph.D., 1987. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Strategy, military, and naval history.


Office—EPHE 4, Sorbonne, 45 rue des Écoles, 75005 Paris, France. E-mail—hc.coutau [email protected].


Educator and military historian, 1983—. University of Paris, Sorbonne, l'École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France, professor and president of Institute of Comparative Strategy, 1994—; Joint War College, Paris, France, professor of military strategy, 1995—. French Commission on Maritime History, president, 1990-92; French Commission on Military History, president, 2000-05; also member of a United Nations group on naval disarmament, 1984-85.


Swedish Royal Society for Naval Sciences.


Le Phénomène "nouvelle histoire": Stratégie et idéologie des nouveaux historiens, Economica (Paris, France), 1983, revised edition, 1989.

La Puissance maritime soviétique, Economica (Paris, France), 1983.

La Puissance maritime: Castex et la stratégie navale, Fayard (Paris, France), 1985.

Castex, le stratège inconnu, Economica (Paris, France), 1985.

Géostratégie de l'Atlantique Sud, Presses Universitaires de France (Paris, France), 1985.

(With Jean-Louis Seurin) Nouvelle-Calédonie: Les Antipodes de la democratie, Lieu commun (Paris, France), 1986.

Géostratégie du Pacifique, Economica (Paris, France), 1987.

(With Claude Huan) Darlan, Fayard (Paris, France), 1989.

(Editor, with Jean-Marie Schmitt) Le Patrimoine mobilier: Quelle politique europeenne?, Economica (Paris, France), 1990.

Le Problème du porte-avions, Economica (Paris, France), 1990.

L'Evolution de la pensée navale, eight volumes, Fondation pour les Études de Défense Nationale and Institut de Stratégie Comparée (Paris, France), 1991-2007.

(With Claude Huan) Lettres et notes de l'amiral Darlan, Economica (Paris, France), 1992.

Géostratégie de l'océan Indien, Economica (Paris, France), 1993.

(With Claude Huan) Mers el-Kébir, 1940: La Rupture franco-britannique, Economica (Paris, France), 1994.

(Editor) Aspects du désarmement naval, Economica (Paris, France), 1994.

(Editor) La Lutte pour l'empire de la mer: Histoire et géostratégie maritimes, Economica (Paris, France), 1995.

Le Désarmement naval, Economica (Paris, France), 1995.

L'Histoire maritime en France, Economica (Paris, France), 1997.

L'Oeuvre de Georges Dumézil: Catalogue raisonné, Economica (Paris, France), 1998.

Traité de stratégie, Economica (Paris, France), 1999, 5th edition, 2005.

Pensée stratégique et humanisme: De la tactique des anciens à l'éthique de la stratégie, 2000.

Bréviaire stratégique, Institut de Stratégie Comparée (Paris, France), 2002.

(With Claude Huan) Dakar 1940: La bataille fratricide, Economica (Paris, France), 2004.

Médias et la guerre, Economica (Paris, France), 2005.

(With Philippe d'Hugues) Cinéma et la guerre, Economica (Paris, France), 2006.

(With Bruno Colson) Armées et marines au temps d'Austerlitz et de Trafalgar, Economica (Paris, France), 2007.

Océan globalisé: Géopolitique des mers au XXIe siècle, Economica (Paris, France), 2007.

Several of the author's books have been published in Spanish, German, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, and Korean editions.


Hervé Coutau-Bégarie has written a number of books on the subject of military strategy, particularly at sea. One significant work was his collaboration with former naval captain Claude Huan titled Darlan. M.R.D. Foot, a reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement, called Coutau-Bégarie and Huan's effort "a technical triumph to have constructed so long, so detailed and so readable a book, given the scantiness of primary sources." Darlan is a biography of Admiral Darlan who, at the age of forty-seven, became the youngest admiral in the French navy. By 1937 Darlan was chief of the naval staff. When France collapsed in 1940, Marshal Pétain called Darlan to his cabinet as minister of marine. He was later promoted to be deputy head of the French state and later became commander in chief of its armed forces. Darlan was murdered in December, 1942. Robert O. Paxton, a reviewer in the American Historical Review, called Coutau-Bégarie and Huan "expert on technical matters" as they brought "into proportion Darlan's less than total responsibility for creating the powerful French navy of 1939." Douglas Johnson, writing in the London Review of Books, noted that unlike attempts at unsubstantiated biographies of Darlan by others authors, "the large volume written by Hervé Coutau-Bégarie and Claude Huan … is sustained by a considerable quantity of both public and private archives."

Coutau-Bégarie once told CA that the primary focus of his work is now on "strategic theory and the history of military and naval doctrines."



American Historical Review, February, 1991, Robert O. Paxton, review of Darlan, pp. 182-183.

London Review of Books, April 25, 1991, Douglas Johnson, "Anglophobics," pp. 8-9.

Times Literary Supplement, September 1, 1989, M.R.D. Foot, "The Top Man at Sea," p. 937.

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