Absolute Destruction (häftad)
Häftad (Paperback / softback)
Antal sidor
New ed
Winner of Winner, 2005 DAAD Book Prize (German Studies Assoc.
Cornell University Press
unspecified 22 Illustrations
5 maps, 1 table, 16 halftones
240 x 168 x 25 mm
640 g
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Absolute Destruction (häftad)

Absolute Destruction

Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany

Häftad Engelska, 2006-01-01
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In a book that is at once a major contribution to modern European history and a cautionary tale for today, Isabel V. Hull argues that the routines and practices of the Imperial German Army, unchecked by effective civilian institutions, increasingly sought the absolute destruction of its enemies as the only guarantee of the nation's security. So deeply embedded were the assumptions and procedures of this distinctively German military culture that the Army, in its drive to annihilate the enemy military, did not shrink from the utter destruction of civilian property and lives. Carried to its extreme, the logic of "military necessity" found real security only in extremities of destruction, in the "silence of the graveyard."Hull begins with a dramatic account, based on fresh archival work, of the German Army's slide from administrative murder to genocide in German Southwest Africa (1904-7). The author then moves back to 1870 and the war that inaugurated the Imperial era in German history, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this specifically German military culture and its operations in colonial warfare. In the First World War the routines perfected in the colonies were visited upon European populations. Hull focuses on one set of cases (Belgium and northern France) in which the transition to total destruction was checked (if barely) and on another (Armenia) in which "military necessity" caused Germany to accept its ally's genocidal policies even after these became militarily counterproductive. She then turns to the Endkampf (1918), the German General Staff's plan to achieve victory in the Great War even if the homeland were destroyed in the process-a seemingly insane campaign that completes the logic of this deeply institutionalized set of military routines and practices. Hull concludes by speculating on the role of this distinctive military culture in National Socialism's military and racial policies.Absolute Destruction has serious implications for the nature of warmaking in any modern power. At its heart is a warning about the blindness of bureaucratic routines, especially when those bureaucracies command the instruments of mass death.
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"Absolute Destruction is a stimulating, scholarly, fluent, and important book.... Almost everything Isabel V. Hull says about German military thought, about Germany's institutional weaknesses in the formulation of strategy, and about the result in war itself-particularly that tactical skill and operational art did duty for strategy-is shrewd and sensible. However, the originality of her book resides elsewhere: in the links between colonial war and European war, and between the German Army and other European armies." * Times Literary Supplement * "Isabel V. Hull has written a powerful analysis of the Prusso-German military between the founding of the German Empire in 1871 up to the end of World War I.... It is not difficult to predict that Hull's analytical framework will generate debate and further research.... This is a rich and thoughtful book that will lead historians of modern Germany to reexamine the decade prior to 1918, and it may also push scholars of the military in other European societies to test again the relationship between military-political institutions and the resort to extreme violence." * American Historical Review * "Hull writes with passion as well as exactitude. From the first sentence her target becomes institutional extremism, here meaning the military culture that dominated Germany from 1870 through World War I.... She analyzes the presuppositions and implicit assumptions behind military institutions that lead more to particular choices regarding the use of violence during war than do explicit policies or detailed planning." * History: Reviews of New Books * "'Brilliant' is an adjective that should be used sparingly by reviewers, so that when a truly brilliant book like this one comes along it can be properly designated. Using the concept of organizational culture as her analytical framework, Isabel Hull lays out a coherent explanation for the fact that the Prussian-German army of 1870-1918, in most respects the world's best, functioned so disastrously at the task of formulating strategy in support of rational state policy." * Journal of Military History *

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Övrig information

Isabel V. Hull is John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell University. She is the author of Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815 (also from Cornell) and The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918, and the coeditor of German Nationalism and the European Response, 1890-1945.


IntroductionPart I: Suppression Becomes Annihilation: Southwest Africa, 1904-1907 1. Waterberg 2. Pursuit and Annihilation 3. Death by ImprisonmentPart II: Military Culture 4. National Politics and Military Culture 5. Lessons of 1870-71: Institutions and Law 6. Standard Practices 7. Doctrines of Fear and Force 8. Stopping the ProcessPart III: The First World War 9. Waging War, 1914-1916: Risk, Extremes, and Limits 10. Civilians as Objects of Military Necessity 11. The Armenian Genocide 12. Repetition and Self-DestructionsConclusions and ImplicationsBibliography Index