Open Access (free)
Civilian morale in Britain during the Second World War
Author: Robert Mackay

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.

Open Access (free)
Bloomsbury attitudes to the Great War
Author: Jonathan Atkin

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.

Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
Rony Brauman

imperial conquests were foreshadowing the twentieth century’s mechanised and industrialised total wars. Dunant himself anticipated the evolution of armed conflict towards total war in a collection of writings published at the end of his life, presciently entitled L’Avenir sanglant (the bloody future). We know what happened to humanitarian norms during what historian Eric Hobsbawm dubbed the ‘age of extremes’, with its colonial massacres, world wars, genocides

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Robert Mackay

. 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 total war imposed on them with fortitude, a capacity to adapt, and unwavering

in Half the battle

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.

By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance. Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum, ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in activities not officially classed as war.

Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author: Neil Macmaster

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.

Open Access (free)
Anthony Coates

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, total war is alien neither to the theory nor to the practice of realism. Realism, therefore, is no solution to the

in Political concepts
Peter H. Wilson

expand and defend empires, whilst also increasing overall numbers that could be deployed globally.11 The risks of conflict were increased, however, because the presence of nationalism combined with the removal of minor states made it harder to make peace through the traditional means of minor territorial adjustments. Meanwhile, the nationalization of warfare meant that, when conflicts broke out, their impact on each belligerent was even greater than before, leading to what has become known as the age of ‘total war’ 1914–1945.12 Fiscal-Military Instruments Fiscal

in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789
The revolt of Cairo and Revolutionary violence
Joseph Clarke

points of departure, David Bell’s account of the ‘First Total War’ and Philip Dwyer’s pioneering work on massacres in the Revolutionary wars both arrive at a similar set of conclusions concerning what Bell describes as the ‘decline of religion as a cause of hostilities’ during the eighteenth century and what Dwyer defines as the ‘profoundly secular’ nature of Revolutionary repression.8 Like Sutherland, Dwyer sees an ‘important distinction’ between the religiously motivated massacres of the ancien régime and the ideologically inspired atrocities of the Revolutionary

in A global history of early modern violence