The current pandemic presents us with problems for which solutions have to be found, both immediate and in the long run. Thinking about these present challenges, but also options and opportunities, and history can provide us not with definitive answers, but useful pointers. From a pure medical point-of-view, history does not help us to solve this crisis. The plague doctor of the middle ages is certainly not the authority to get advice from in this struggle. Yet, history offers an insight into potential challenges that states, societies, and the military, could be faced with. To paraphrase Clausewitz: the character of pandemics has changed, their nature has not.