Absolute Destruction by Isabel V. Hull
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Absolute Destruction
By Isabel V. Hull

Absolute Destruction

Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany 1st New edition

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Format: Paperback

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Absolute Destruction by Isabel V. Hull

Book Description

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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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801472930
ISBN-10: 0801472938
Format: Paperback
(238mm x 168mm x 24mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 12-Jan-2006
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Isabel V. Hull

Scrap of Paper by Isabel V. Hull Scrap of Paper, Hardback (April 2014)

Isabel V. Hull compares the World War I decision making of Germany, Great Britain, and France, weighing the impact of legal considerations in each.

Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918 by Isabel V. Hull Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918, Paperback (July 2004)

This volume analyzes the entourage of the last German Kaiser to explain the peculiar decisions taken by Germany's leaders from 1888 to 1918.

Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815 by Isabel V. Hull Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815, Paperback (August 1997)

"With great intellectual energy and resourcefulness, [Hull] has placed a new set of issues on our scholarly agenda. After reading Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815, no one will view this period in quite the same way...

» View all books by Isabel V. Hull

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Author Biography - Isabel V. Hull

Isabel V. Hull is John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell University. She is the author of A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War, Absolute Destruction, and Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815, all from Cornell.

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