New PDF release: Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of

By Isabel V. Hull

ISBN-10: 0801442583

ISBN-13: 9780801442582

In a e-book that's instantly an important contribution to trendy eu historical past and a cautionary story for at the present time, Isabel V. Hull argues that the workouts and practices of the Imperial German military, unchecked by means of powerful civilian associations, more and more sought absolutely the destruction of its enemies because the purely warrantly of the nation's protection. So deeply embedded have been the assumptions and methods of this distinctively German army tradition that the military, in its force to annihilate the enemy army, didn't decrease from the utter destruction of civilian estate and lives. Carried to its severe, the good judgment of "military necessity" chanced on actual safety simply in extremities of destruction, within the "silence of the graveyard."

Hull starts off with a dramatic account, according to clean archival paintings, of the German Army's slide from administrative homicide to genocide in German Southwest Africa (1904–7). the writer then strikes again to 1870 and the warfare that inaugurated the Imperial period in German historical past, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this in particular German army tradition and its operations in colonial struggle. within the First international conflict the workouts perfected within the colonies have been visited upon eu populations. Hull specializes in one set of instances (Belgium and northerly France) within which the transition to overall destruction was once checked (if slightly) and on one other (Armenia) within which "military necessity" triggered Germany to just accept its ally's genocidal regulations even after those grew to become militarily counterproductive. She then turns to the Endkampf (1918), the German normal Staff's plan to accomplish victory within the nice warfare no matter if the place of birth have been destroyed within the process―a possible insane crusade that completes the good judgment of this deeply institutionalized set of army workouts and practices. Hull concludes by means of speculating at the function of this distinct army tradition in nationwide Socialism's army and racial policies.

Absolute Destruction has severe implications for the character of warmaking in any glossy energy. At its center is a caution concerning the blindness of bureaucratic workouts, specially whilst these bureaucracies command the tools of mass death.

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Extra info for Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany

Sample text

Even Baumgart’s letter, which Bebel cited, was based on prisoner testimony. In reply to Governor Leutwein’s inquiry about the letter, Baumgart denied that he had ever written that no prisoners were taken. Had Bebel read my entire letter [which might not have been possible, since the published version, in the Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, was an unauthorized, perhaps incomplete, copy], he would have discovered that we had the false information about Mrs. ” Having written this myself, I can hardly have said in the same letter that all Herero, even those incapable of fighting, were being ruthlessly shot down.

Once the debate about war conduct broke out in the Reichstag, Chancellor Bülow cabled Leutwein (28 March 1904): “Press reports of letters from the protectorate cause me to point out that steps are to be taken to prevent violations against humanity, against enemies incapable of fighting, and against women and children. 49 The taking and treatment of prisoners in the first phase of the war remained governed by the unwritten rules of military custom, subject to the interpretation of the individual commander.

42 The official battle reports, on which Governor Leutwein would have relied, do not mention prisoners being taken. However, the surviving handwritten war diaries of naval units43 and the personal diaries and some memoirs of participants sporadically refer to prisoners. Even Baumgart’s letter, which Bebel cited, was based on prisoner testimony. In reply to Governor Leutwein’s inquiry about the letter, Baumgart denied that he had ever written that no prisoners were taken. Had Bebel read my entire letter [which might not have been possible, since the published version, in the Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten, was an unauthorized, perhaps incomplete, copy], he would have discovered that we had the false information about Mrs.

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Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany by Isabel V. Hull


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