Gary B. Nash
The American Revolution played an important role in African Americans' quest for freedom. It marked the first mass rebellion by slaves in American history, gave rise to the first civil rights movement, and resulted in the first large-scale constructions of free black life. African slaves in North America knew that their natural rights were violated by their enslavement, although a confluence of events heightened their restiveness and provided them with the ideology-laden phrases that they could deploy in their struggle to secure their liberty whenever and wherever possible. The Revolution offered slaves a chance to realize this dream. African American revolutionaries saw the war as a way to quench their thirst for freedom, to end corrupt power, and to die for their natural rights.
This article focuses on the importance of oral history in recording wars. The article draws on personal experiences of interviewing veterans of the Second World War. Oral history interviews illuminate the often-ignored experiences of ordinary people caught up in war and the range of reactions that different aspects of war evoked from them, while reminding us that combat—”the quintessential war experience”—is not the sole defining experience of war. Interviews that concentrate on combat experiences reflect a very narrow concept of war. Most of the time in uniform is actually spent out of action. Most servicemen and women are not in front-line units. This article also reminds us that one of the joys of oral history is that you always get so much more than you ask for. This article emphasizes that commemorating war is often a collective experience. By contextualizing the individual experience in the narrative of war, oral history adds texture to those collective narratives.
In early 1645 Field Marshal Lennard Torstensson led a Swedish army of 9,000 cavalry, 6,000 infantry, and sixty cannon against a Habsburg-Imperial army of 10,000 cavalry, 5,000 infantry, and twenty-six cannon commanded by Melchior von Hatzfeld. Both armies were composed of regiments commanded by international colonel-proprietors, who had used their funds or credit to raise and maintain military units. Many of the soldiers in both armies had been in service for ten years or more. The colonel-proprietors and generals in both armies regarded the recruitment of their experienced veterans as a long-term investment, and both were supported in their enterprises by an international network of private credit facilities, munitions manufacturers, food suppliers, and transport contractors. In both cases this elaborate structure was funded through control of the financial resources of entire territories, largely extracted and administered by the military high command. The armies clashed at Jankow in Bohemia, and the Imperial forces, though superior in cavalry, were held and eventually defeated by the Swedes, in part thanks to their artillery.
Ira D. Gruber
This article explores how changes in methods and intentions affected conflicts in the Atlantic world from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. First, it defines war in this era — specifically, to distinguish between acts of war and other types of violence that occurred in the Atlantic world between 1440 and 1763. Although the peoples of the Atlantic world made war idiosyncratically in this era — shaping their uses of force to suit their particular social, technological, political, and cultural circumstances — all were to be touched by what historians term the Military Revolution. In comparison with Portugal, Spain had a much more substantial impact on the Atlantic warfare of the sixteenth century. In the second half of the seventeenth century, England took the lead in creating a fleet of specialised warships to defend its home waters and to protect its overseas trade and colonies. While England was leading at sea, France was building the largest and most powerful standing army in Europe. Fighting in America was sometimes linked to wars in Europe but was rarely limited by European military conventions.
Stephen R. Conway
During the American Revolution, Britain relied primarily on its army to subdue the rebellious colonies. At its peak, the British army in North America had approximately 50,000 officers and men, constituting the largest expeditionary force sent overseas by any British governments. After nearly seven years of fighting, however, the British Parliament realized that military operations in the colonies would not crush the rebellion. The American Revolution has been linked to various myths, three of which relate to the British army and its role in the War of Independence. One myth is that the weaknesses of character and approach of the British army account for its loss in the war that it should have won. This chapter challenges the myths of the War of Independence and offers a different explanation for the failure of the British army to quash the American revolt.
This article examines the range of national experiences of communist rule in terms of the aspiration to ‘overtake and outstrip the advanced countries economically’. It reviews the causal beliefs of the rulers, the rise and fall of their economies (or, in the case of China, its continued rise), the core institutions of communist rule and their evolution, and other outcomes. The process of overcoming a development lag so as to approach the global technological frontier has required continual institutional change and policy reform in the face of resistance from established interests. So far, China is the only country where communist rule has been able to meet these requirements, enabled by a new deal with political and economic stakeholders. The article places the ‘China Deal’ on a spectrum previously limited to the Soviet Big and Little Deals.
During the American Revolution, tens of thousands of men served in the Continental army to fight Britain and became skilled professionals in the process. These soldiers formed deep bonds with each other, not only by fighting the enemy but also by living together, caring for each other when sick, burying their friends and enemies, tolerating their weak officers, celebrating their talented ones, foraging for food, and otherwise coping with all the hardships of army life. Created by the Continental Congress in June 1775, the Continental army fought the British until the war's end in 1783. Poor men made up the core of Continental servicemen. Officers and soldiers received very different pay. By the end of 1776, the Continental army was also dissolved. Both formal and informal punishment was consistent throughout the army. Militiamen did not receive corporal punishment, as sentenced by courts-martial or done informally by angry officers.
This article explores Benito Mussolini's view on fascism and war. War had an essential place in Mussolini's worldview, even before he came to power in 1922. After this, Mussolini showed some realism and opportunism in domestic and foreign policy, but he was first and foremost driven by an ultranationalist, racist, militarist, and Social Darwinist worldview which rested on the fundamental assumption that life is a struggle and war the father of all things. Mussolini believed the twentieth century to be the century of Italy. He failed to assemble his ideas into an all-embracing intellectual system; however, he possessed a sufficiently articulated and coherent worldview, the essence of which was that the nation would be made through war and territorial expansion. Racism was the most radical part of the fascist project to transform Italians into a warrior race.
This article incorporates two complex concepts: trauma and culture. Trauma in the original medical sense meant simply a physical injury; it came to mean a state of shock brought on by injury; and in psychoanalysis it means the condition that can result from an emotional shock. Traditionalists might object that trauma is only individual, not collective; there can therefore be no cultural trauma. However, the term ‘collective traumatic memory’ can justifiably be used in relation to the experience of war. This article argues that individuals could sometimes express the traumatic experience of the war in a way which transcended the personal and could symbolize collective experience and mentalities. To understand the cultural trauma of war, it explains the enthusiasm for war in certain cultures and sections of societies, what occasioned the trauma, and how culture reacted to it.
This article describes the totality of the First World War in many aspects. The word ‘total’ lies at the heart of different perceptions of the First World War. It was a war that involved total mobilization, socially and economically; a modern war, which required total commitment and support from the population, on the home front and on the battlefront; and a war that led to the total subordination of the economy and society to the needs of the military. Commitment to war had to be total. This was the apparent lesson of the First World War. Modern war could not be fought with half-measures. This combination – struggle beyond reason and war without end – became the agenda of fascism.
The success of the Federalists in the late 1780s had a profound influence on how Americans viewed the relationship between military spending, taxation, and the monetary system. For almost 100 years, the colonists funded military campaigns by means of paper money rather than direct taxes, an approach that helped finance several imperial wars and the American Revolution. By the late 1780s, however, many Federalists realized that paper money alone could not solve America's financial woes, much less pay for its defense. Although the entire era of the American Revolution was characterized by struggles over taxes and money, little attention has been paid to the financial history of the period. This chapter examines domestic fiscal and monetary policy during the American Revolution, starting with the colonists' use of paper money in the late seventeenth century in lieu of taxes. To understand the evolution of monetary and fiscal policy in this period, it considers the genuine radicalism—and ultimately, conservatism—of the American Revolution.
It is a commonplace to see the First World War as a major caesura in German and European history. This article records the war years from 1914–1918 in Germany. Not least, such an interpretation can rely on the perceptions of influential contemporary observers. In Germany, as in other belligerent countries, many artists, intellectuals, and academics experienced the outbreak of the war as a cathartic moment. While it is straightforward to see the mobilization for war and violence as a major caesura for any of the belligerent countries, it is much more complicated to account for causalities and for German peculiarities. Difficult methodological questions arise, which have not always been properly addressed. While Germany was facing a ‘world of enemies’, as a popular slogan suggested, the semantics of the political shifted to an articulation of emotions, excitements, and promises, contributing to a dramatized narrative centered around the notions of sacrifice and fate. The effect of World War I concludes the article.
Roger D. Markwick
World War II has never ended for the citizens of the former Soviet Union. Nearly 27 million Soviet citizens died in the course of what Joseph Stalin declared to be the Great Patriotic War, half of the total 55 million victims of the world war. The enduring personal trauma and grief that engulfed those who survived, despite the Red Army's victory over fascism, was not matched by Stalin's state of mind, which preferred to forget the war. Not until the ousting of Nikita S. Khrushchev in October 1964 by Leonid Brezhnev was official memory of the war really resurrected. This article elaborates a thesis about the place of World War II in Soviet and post-Soviet collective memory by illuminating the sources of the myth of the Great Patriotic War and the mechanisms by which it has been sustained and even amplified. It discusses perestroika, patriotism without communism, the fate of the wartime Young Communist heroine Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, the battle for Victory Day, the return of ‘trophy’ art, the Hill of Prostrations, and Sovietism without socialism.
E. W. McFarland
The themes of tragedy and futility have come to dominate the popular memory of the Great War. In Scotland, its legacy is overlaid with a sense of inordinate sacrifice: a small nation, with a historic martial tradition, drawn into a global conflict of unprecedented destructive power. The emotional hold of this portrayal remains so powerful that the historian often struggles to confront the gap between memory and actual experience. It was economic and demographic patterns rooted in Scotland's historic engagement with the international economy prior to 1914 that maximized the national contribution to Britain's war effort. While the war may have strengthened the ‘diffuse Christianity’ of citizen soldiers, the situation for institutional religion on the home front was rather more complex. Distinctive issues of national identity mediated Scottish engagement with the conflict. It is perhaps in the area of commemoration and remembrance that the limitations of the traditional class-based template for understanding the Scottish Great War experience appear most exposed.
The article traces the making of modern Germany. War made the state, and the state made war: This statement holds true for the state of Germany. Unlike in France and England, political loyalties in Germany oscillated between the Reich, the nation, and individual states, as well as between different confessions. For this reason, problems in the course of state and nation building were more complex than in those European neighbor states where centralized power was established earlier and on a mono-confessional basis. The international rivalry of power played a pivotal role for European developments in the eighteenth century. Several German language territories strove to outgrow the constraints of the Holy Roman Empire, or Old Reich, and gain influence and importance. A detailed description of Napoleonic Rule in Germany, the decline of the same, the reshaping the state and its aftermath concludes this article.
When World War II ended in Europe, many assumed that the sheer level of destruction, hatred, and fear unleashed by the conflict would produce a Europe even worse than the one they recalled from the 1930s. Only in Germany was the moment captured linguistically, in the concept of Stunde Null, hour zero, for the German population almost certainly expected the worst from the catastrophic defeat of Adolf Hitler's Reich. The Cold War and racial realities of Europe between 1945 and 1949 contributed to the idea that the two German states created in 1949, the Federal Republic in the West and the Democratic Republic in the East, were new experiments in democratic politics quite distinct from the legacy of a united Germany since 1871. Much of the historical literature on European economic recovery has focused on West German revival. The gulf between the years of recession, poor trade, state restrictions, and planning for war in the 1930s, and the booming consumer and construction sectors in the 1950s, made it evident that something changed dramatically in 1945.
Loyalism was a dominant theme of the American Revolution. Most loyalists were ordinary Americans who wished to remain connected to the British Empire. Over the past 200 years, the numbers of loyalists have been estimated from roughly 20 percent of the population of the colonies up to 33 percent. The exact number of loyalists could not be determined either because many loyalists hid their political allegiances, or their allegiances were too shifting and mutable to count. What is clear is that many loyalists chose to remain in the newly independent United States and weather the conflict. A nationalist narrative of the American Revolution has successfully alienated and excluded loyalists, but it was later displaced by a global narrative of empire and circumatlantic cultural and economic flows. This new circumatlantic perspective led to the dissociation of the geographic space of British North America with a particular identity. In terms of political ideals, loyalists seem to be no different to patriots, with both camps claiming the inheritance of the rights of Englishmen and British political thought.
David R. Stone
This chapter examines the military history of the Cold War. It explains that most military activities during this period were focused on apocalyptic nuclear war which never came and that the military aspects of the Cold War contributed to its end. The chapter suggests that while the military side of the Cold War did play a major role in ending the Cold War, it was not because of the policies of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, for there is little evidence that they were intended to produce moderation in Soviet leadership. It argues that reforms initiated by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came from the realization of the decay of Soviet military superiority and the increasing economic burden of defense spending.
Alex J. Bellamy
This article examines the role that military intervention can play in ending genocide and the political, moral, and legal debates that surround it. The first section briefly examines how genocides have ended since the beginning of the twentieth century, and explores the place of military intervention by external powers. The second section examines whether there is a moral and/or legal duty to intervene to end genocide. The third section considers the reasons why states intervene only infrequently to put an end to genocide despite their rhetorical commitments. Historically, once started, genocides tend to end with either the military defeat of the perpetrators or the suppression of the victim groups. Only military force can directly prevent genocidal killing, stand between perpetrators and their intended victims, and protect the delivery of lifesaving aid. But its use entails risks for all parties and does not necessarily resolve the underlying conflict.
The Old Regime army had been battered by serial defeats during the eighteenth century, and was open to proposals for reform. When 1789 came it was not army reforms that spread despair and trauma but the political situation created in the early years of the French Revolution: the assault on privilege, the ambivalent attitude of the king, the crisis of loyalty which this created for the officers, and the gaping void in the army’s ranks caused by desertion, emigration and the ideology of the Rights of Man. The defeats that followed the declaration of war added to despair, and it was only by resort to further traumatic measures—radicalizing recruitment, promoting officers from the ranks, and amalgamating the line army with the new volunteers, and ultimately the resort to Terror—that the fortunes of the army were turned around.