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Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in by Thomas Hippler

By Thomas Hippler

This e-book examines the production of ‘national armies’ via obligatory army carrier in France and Prussia throughout the French Revolution and the Prussian Reform interval. The French Revolution attempted to set up army and political constructions during which the defense force and society may merge. to be able to make sure that the military might by no means develop into a way of oppression opposed to the folks, the full inhabitants should still therefore ‘be’ the military. Defeated through the large army power that those new political settings had unchained in France, Prussia tailored the French strategies to its personal wishes, therefore laying the foundation for its contributions to the victories of the coalition troops in 1813-15. Conscription had implications that went past the basically army sphere and concerned assumptions concerning the nature of the country 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, sooner than changing into a cornerstone of the Prussian Reforms and the construction of a civil society ‘from above’. army provider has consequently been the most crucial and contradictory associations of the trendy countryside. electorate, infantrymen and nationwide Armies can be of curiosity to historians of contemporary Europe, army historians and scholars of highbrow background ordinarily.

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Additional info for Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany, 1789-1830 (War, History and Politics)

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The community, however, gives them something back. What is this? Precisely their persons and possessions (Rousseau 1994: 151) – although, not the same persons and possessions as were alienated: a community ‘must, The Enlightenment and military service 35 in short, take away man’s own forces in order to give him forces that are foreign to him’ (Rousseau 1994: 155). Existence in a community transforms both, making citizens out of simple human beings and property out of simple possessions. It makes ‘man truly master of himself’ and of his belongings (Rousseau 1994: 142).

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. This practice would stimulate the peasantry to feel a sense of honour in being soldiers, and would also facilitate the maintenance of a strong army in times of war without heavy costs in peacetime (Turgot 1844: vol.

It was necessary, in his view, to establish a ‘technical way’ to allow individuals to judge their own actions and strive for their own perfection. Monastic moral techniques were seen as a model for this: 32 The French moment This is the use of an habitual examination of conscience which is designed to facilitate the progress of virtue, showing either the successes one has made, or the obstacles that retarded them. This idea can be applicable up to a certain point to the entire mass of society. (Condorcet 1792: 329–30) This translation of the Catholic practice of confession into republican terms was of course never realized, but its very proposal shows the importance of the issue of an institutionalization of virtue in order to produce responsible citizens.

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