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The Violence of War: Germany, 1792-1933
Wars have played a fundamental part in modern German history. Although infrequent, conflicts involving German states have usually been extensive and often catastrophic, constituting turning-points for Europe as a whole. The Napoleonic wars, or ‘wars of liberation’, the wars of unification, the First World War, and the Second World War decisively altered the distribution of power and relations between states on the Continent, and affected the construction and stability of a series of German regimes. This research explores how such conflicts were experienced by soldiers and civilians during wartime, and how they were subsequently imagined and understood during peacetime, from Clausewitz and Kleist to Jünger and Adorno. Without such an understanding, it is difficult to make sense of the dramatic shifts characterising the politics of Germany and Europe over the past two centuries. This study argues that the ease – or reluctance – with which Germans went to war, and the far-reaching consequences of such wars on domestic politics, were related to long-term transformations in contemporaries’ conceptualisation of conflict. Three volumes are planned: i) Absolute War: Violence and Mass Warfare in the German Lands, 1792-1820 (OUP, 2017); ii) The People's Wars: Histories of Violence in the German Lands, 1820-1888 (OUP, 2017); iii) The Violence of War: Germany, 1888-1933. They will be published by Oxford University Press.
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