By Thomas Hippler
This ebook examines the construction of ‘national armies’ via obligatory army carrier in France and Prussia through the French Revolution and the Prussian Reform interval. The French Revolution attempted to set up army and political constructions within which the defense force and society could merge. on the way to make sure that the military could by no means develop into a way of oppression opposed to the folks, the total inhabitants may still hence ‘be’ the military. Defeated by way of the large army capability that those new political settings had unchained in France, Prussia tailored the French strategies to its personal wishes, therefore laying the root for its contributions to the victories of the coalition troops in 1813-15. Conscription had implications that went past the in basic terms army sphere and concerned assumptions concerning the nature of the nation and its dating to its voters. It used to be the cloth foundation of Napoleon’s campaigns and of the German ‘wars of nationwide liberation’ of 1813-15, ahead of changing into a cornerstone of the Prussian Reforms and the production of a civil society ‘from above’. army provider has consequently been probably the most crucial and contradictory associations of the trendy geographical region. electorate, infantrymen and nationwide Armies can be of curiosity to historians of recent Europe, army historians and scholars of highbrow historical past as a rule.
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Extra resources for Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany, 1789-1830 (War, History and Politics)
However, the military evolved not only in administrative terms but was affected by social transformations. The ‘nationalization’ and growth of the army gradually invalidated the traditional idea that fighting was a prerogative of the nobility. As the armed forces now consisted largely of com- Recruitment policy in the ancien régime 25 moners, nobles claimed privileged access to officer positions. Consequently, service as rank-and-file was increasingly viewed as dishonourable for aristocrats, and it was above all the poorest strata of the rural gentry that sought employment in the army.
Mirabeau claimed that the King of Prussia gave ‘a free and glorious form to that obligation by linking it to the exercise of a will, to the necessity of earning esteem, to a point of honour’. The Prussian Kantonsystem should thus be transformed into an institution that ‘enhanced the souls, that secured the public spirit, that took the form of liberty instead of degradation and slavery’ (Mirabeau 1787: 16–17). In his role as governor of the Limousin, Turgot made similar claims in a letter to the French Minister of War: peasants should receive a brief military education and be sent back to their villages afterwards.
The general problématique of Guibert’s book is how to conceive a state that would be strong, both politically and militarily. His main criticism of the ancien régime is precisely its weakness, which means that politics is incapable of empowering the country’s forces. Even worse, the governments of his time tie down the force of the nation in order to maintain themselves in power. Power should be productive but has become repressive and even destructive since it tends to depreciate and corrupt the citizens.
Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany, 1789-1830 (War, History and Politics) by Thomas Hippler
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