Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
tribes that … follow their brute instincts without a second thought, while civilized nations … seek to humanize it’ ( Moynier, 1888 ). This goes to show that humanitarian principles, far from being a timeless good, are not immune to prevailing stereotypes or political power relationships. As a treaty aimed at an emblematic nineteenth-century battle was being signed, the conflicts and massacres of civil wars and imperial conquests were foreshadowing the twentieth century’s mechanised and industrialised totalwars. Dunant himself anticipated the evolution of armed
How well did civilian morale stand up to the pressures of total war and what factors were important to it? This book rejects contentions that civilian morale fell a long way short of the favourable picture presented at the time and in hundreds of books and films ever since. While acknowledging that some negative attitudes and behaviour existed—panic and defeatism, ration-cheating and black-marketeering—it argues that these involved a very small minority of the population. In fact, most people behaved well, and this should be the real measure of civilian morale, rather than the failing of the few who behaved badly. The book shows that although before the war, the official prognosis was pessimistic, measures to bolster morale were taken nevertheless, in particular with regard to protection against air raids. An examination of indicative factors concludes that moral fluctuated but was in the main good, right to the end of the war. In examining this phenomenon, due credit is accorded to government policies for the maintenance of morale, but special emphasis is given to the ‘invisible chain’ of patriotic feeling that held the nation together during its time of trial.
The Great War still haunts us. This book draws together examples of the ‘aesthetic pacifism’ practised during the Great War by such celebrated individuals as Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon and Bertrand Russell. It also tells the stories of those less well known who shared the attitudes of the Bloomsbury Group when it came to facing the first ‘total war’. The five-year research for this study gathered evidence from all the major archives in Great Britain and abroad in order to paint a complete picture of this unique form of anti-war expression. The narrative begins with the Great War's effect on philosopher-pacifist Bertrand Russell and Cambridge University.
For many years after 1945, a historiographical consensus about the
morale of the British people in the Second World War existed undisturbed. The roots of this consensus went back to the war, notably to the year-long national crisis that began in June 1940. During
this time, from a mixture of reality and propaganda, an image of
the nation at war was created whose accuracy was later largely
accepted by commentators. According to this picture, the people
endured the dangers and burdens that totalwar imposed on them
with fortitude, a capacity to adapt, and unwavering
The First World War was the first ‘total war’. Its industrial weaponry damaged millions of men, and drove whole armies underground into dangerously unhealthy trenches. Many were killed. Others suffered from massive, life-threatening injuries; wound infections such as gas gangrene and tetanus; exposure to extremes of temperature; emotional trauma; and systemic disease. Tens of thousands of women volunteered to serve as nurses to alleviate their suffering. Some were fully-trained professionals; others had minimal preparation, and served as volunteer-nurses. Their motivations were a combination of compassion, patriotism, professional pride and a desire for engagement in the ‘great enterprise’ of war. The war led to an outpouring of war-memoirs, produced mostly by soldier-writers whose works came to be seen as a ‘literary canon’ of war-writing. But nurses had offered immediate and long-term care, life-saving expertise, and comfort to the war’s wounded, and their experiences had given them a perspective on industrial warfare which was unique. Until recently, their contributions, both to the saving of lives and to our understanding of warfare have remained largely hidden from view. ‘Nurse Writers of the Great War’ examines these nurses’ memoirs and explores the insights they offer into the nature of nursing and the impact of warfare. The book combines close biographical research with textual analysis, in order to offer an understanding of both nurses’ wartime experiences and the ways in which their lives and backgrounds contributed to the style and content of their writing.
themselves readily admit. ‘If policy is grand and powerful’,
wrote Clausewitz, ‘so also will be the war, and this may be carried to
the point at which war attains to its absolute form.’ 3 Third, even if the goals
of policy do remain limited, there is no guarantee that they will be pursued
by limited means. In short, totalwar is alien neither to the theory nor to
the practice of realism.
Realism, therefore, is no solution to the
together under the intense pressures of another totalwar. In the event, their pessimism proved
ill-founded. The bogeys of pacifism, class antagonism, regional
separatism and political dissidence receded to the point where they
could effectively be disregarded. And in the meantime the Government organized the people for totalwar to a degree only surpassed by the Soviet Union.2 It is quite probable that many among
them were largely unmoved by lofty appeals to their patriotism or
were perfectly aware that the public image of how others were
already behaving contained some
sheer patriotism or desire to repel foreign invaders. The more unfortunate were simply
press-ganged, even in times of peace. Now, with the coming of the first ‘totalwar’, and an initial rush to answer the nation’s call to arms; the government
was able to boast by September 1915 that almost three million men had volunteered for armed service. This was not deemed ultimately sufficient and, for the
first time, everyone – from humble clerks to country squires – was forced to
bear arms from 1916.
Such a call-up was bound to find disfavour and foster discontent. The
dramatic shifts in policy and emphasis during the early twentieth
century, and pacifist arguments changed drastically in the face of the
totalwar of 1914–18, it can nonetheless be argued that the theoretical and
political development of pacifist feminist ideas during the late nineteenth
century laid much of the groundwork for these new internationalist
movements.11 Thus, although there is no historiography which connects
pacifism to feminism before 1914, many of the feminists who were active
in political campaigns in the final decades of the nineteenth century were
, Commissaire Central de Roubaix to Anjubault, 13 October
33 See, for example, AN, F23/375, Ministère des Régions Libérées, Secrétariat
Général, Département du Nord, Récompense Honorifique, Proposition en
faveur de M. Debiève Arthur, from Gommegnies, 28 May 1923.
34 Michael R. Marrus, ‘Jewish resistance to the Holocaust’, Journal of
Contemporary History, 30:1 (1995), p. 103.
35 Johne Horne and Alan Kramer, ‘War between soldiers and enemy civilians,
1915’, in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (eds.), Great War,
TotalWar: Combat and Mobilization on the