By Isabel V. Hull
In a publication that's straight away a tremendous contribution to fashionable ecu historical past and a cautionary story for this day, Isabel V. Hull argues that the workouts 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 purely warrantly of the nation's protection. So deeply embedded have been the assumptions and tactics of this distinctively German army tradition that the military, in its force to annihilate the enemy army, didn't reduce from the utter destruction of civilian estate and lives. Carried to its severe, the good judgment of "military necessity" came across genuine safeguard in basic terms in extremities of destruction, within the "silence of the graveyard."
Hull starts off with a dramatic account, according 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 struggle that inaugurated the Imperial period in German heritage, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this particularly German army tradition and its operations in colonial battle. within the First global warfare the exercises perfected within the colonies have been visited upon eu populations. Hull specializes in one set of circumstances (Belgium and northerly France) within which the transition to overall destruction was once 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 turned militarily counterproductive. She then turns to the Endkampf (1918), the German basic Staff's plan to accomplish victory within the nice battle no matter if the fatherland have been destroyed within the process―a probably insane crusade that completes the common sense of this deeply institutionalized set of army exercises and practices. Hull concludes via speculating at the position of this detailed army tradition in nationwide Socialism's army and racial policies.
Absolute Destruction has critical implications for the character of warmaking in any sleek strength. At its middle is a caution concerning the blindness of bureaucratic workouts, specifically 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
Leutwein to Col. , tel. Nr. 147, Windhuk, arr. in Berlin 25 June 1904, BA-Berlin, R 1001, Nr. 2115, p. 79. Drechsler cites this telegram but concludes nothing from it: “Let Us Die Fighting,” 172n90. 116. Leutwein, Elf Jahre. 117. Special correspondent [Dannhauer], “Zum Aufstand in Südwestafrika,” Berliner Lokalanzeiger 289 (23 June 1904), 1. 118. Leutwein, Afrikanerschicksal, 156. Gov. Col. Theodor Leutwein (middle) and Lt. Gen. Lothar von Trotha (far right) at Command Headquarters, Windhuk, July 1904.
From 1894 to 1897 he served in German East Africa as a lieutenant colonel and, brieﬂy, as deputy governor. Years later, Trotha claimed that he had learned the inevitability of “racial war” in East Africa. Yet, his career there was not unlike that of other commanders of the countless punitive expeditions sent out to quell rebellions. Trotha’s troops pursued Sultan Hassan bin Omar (in late 1895) and then engaged in a long expedition into the ill-explored interior of the colony, pro- 79. , 159. Hülsen: Paul Leutwein, Afrikanerschicksal, 172.
3482, Berlin, 10 Apr. 1904, explicitly agreed with Leutwein’s policy. BABerlin, R 1001, Nr. 2113, p. 122. 60. Report, signed by Rickmann, 14 Feb. 1904, BA-MA Freiburg, RM 121 I, Nr. 422, p. 131. 61. Belwe, Gegen die Herero, 80; Kuhlmann to Inspector, 18 May 1904, in de Vries, Namibia, 282. The military used some captured Herero for labor from the beginning: Jan-Bart Gewald, Towards Redemption (Leiden, 1996), 221. 62. ” Nr. 729, Windhuk, 7 Mar. 1904, BA-MA Freiburg, RM 121 I, Nr. 423, p. 47. 63.
Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany by Isabel V. Hull