By Isabel V. Hull
In a ebook that's instantaneously a big contribution to trendy eu historical past and a cautionary story for at the present time, Isabel V. Hull argues that the exercises and practices of the Imperial German military, unchecked by means of powerful civilian associations, more and more sought absolutely the destruction of its enemies because the merely warrantly of the nation's protection. So deeply embedded have been the assumptions and systems of this distinctively German army tradition that the military, in its force to annihilate the enemy army, didn't diminish from the utter destruction of civilian estate and lives. Carried to its severe, the good judgment of "military necessity" came across genuine defense merely in extremities of destruction, within the "silence of the graveyard."
Hull starts with a dramatic account, in response to clean archival paintings, of the German Army's slide from administrative homicide to genocide in German Southwest Africa (1904–7). the writer then strikes again to 1870 and the conflict that inaugurated the Imperial period in German background, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this particularly German army tradition and its operations in colonial conflict. within the First international battle the workouts perfected within the colonies have been visited upon eu populations. Hull makes a speciality of one set of instances (Belgium and northern France) within which the transition to overall destruction used to be checked (if slightly) and on one other (Armenia) within which "military necessity" triggered Germany to just accept its ally's genocidal regulations even after those grew to become militarily counterproductive. She then turns to the Endkampf (1918), the German normal Staff's plan to accomplish victory within the nice warfare no matter if the place of origin have been destroyed within the process―a likely insane crusade that completes the common sense of this deeply institutionalized set of army exercises and practices. Hull concludes by means of speculating at the function of this exact army tradition in nationwide Socialism's army and racial policies.
Absolute Destruction has severe implications for the character of warmaking in any smooth energy. At its middle is a caution in regards to the blindness of bureaucratic exercises, specially whilst these bureaucracies command the tools of mass death.
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Additional resources for Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany
I know of an officer, searching a battleﬁeld, whose revolver jammed and who was saved only by the quick action of a subordinate from an attack by a wounded Herero. Under these circumstances it is no wonder that the opportunity to take nonwounded prisoners has not presented itself. ” In accordance with the chancellor’s regulation of 26 April 1896, these people are brought to trial and regularly condemned to death by the white jurors [Beisitzern]. It would have been impossible for the governor to oppose the execution of these judgments, especially at the beginning of the disturbances.
35; Viktor Franke, diary entry of 10 June 1904, BA-Koblenz, Nl. Franke, Nr. 3. For period before Aug. 1904, but without speciﬁc dates: Schwabe, Krieg in Deutsch-Südwestafrika, 284; Erich von Salzmann, Im Kampfe gegen die Herero, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1905), 119; v. François, “HereroAufstand,” col. 2362. Wounded prisoners: Viktor Franke, diary entry, 27 Feb. 1904, BA-Koblenz, Nl. Franke, Nr. 3, p. , 38; missionary August Kuhlmann to Inspector Spiecker, 18 May 1904 (referring to 1st Lt. Kuhn on 8 May 1904), in de Vries, Namibia, 282.
2370. Trotha ultimately assembled 1,500 troops and officers, 30 artillery pieces, and 14 machine guns at Waterberg: General Staff, Kämpfe der deutschen Truppen, 1:157. 123. Viktor Franke, “Der Aufstand in Deutsch Südwest Afrika und die nachfolgenden Jahre, 1903–1906,” BA-Koblenz, Nl. Franke, Nr. 21, 34. 124. Rohrbach, Aus Südwest-Afrikas schweren Tagen, 147. 125. “Der Aufstand,” Deutsch Südwest-Afrikanische Zeitung 27 (6 July 1904). 126. Rohrbach, Aus Südwest-Afrikas schweren Tagen, 159, 170. Sudholt, who wants to deny the genocide (Völkermord), argues that limited water could not have sustained 60,000–80,000 people and large animal herds, and therefore, the number of Herero must have been much smaller (he estimates 40,000, but gives no reason for settling on that number).
Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany by Isabel V. Hull