By Isabel V. Hull
In a booklet that's instantaneously an immense 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 through powerful civilian associations, more and more sought absolutely the destruction of its enemies because the in simple terms 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 reduce from the utter destruction of civilian estate and lives. Carried to its severe, the good judgment of "military necessity" chanced on actual safeguard basically in extremities of destruction, within the "silence of the graveyard."
Hull starts off with a dramatic account, in keeping with 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 heritage, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this particularly German army tradition and its operations in colonial war. within the First global conflict the exercises perfected within the colonies have been visited upon eu populations. Hull specializes in one set of instances (Belgium and northern France) within which the transition to overall destruction was once checked (if slightly) and on one other (Armenia) during which "military necessity" brought on Germany to just accept its ally's genocidal rules even after those turned militarily counterproductive. She then turns to the Endkampf (1918), the German common Staff's plan to accomplish victory within the nice battle no matter if the place of origin have been destroyed within the process―a possible insane crusade that completes the good judgment of this deeply institutionalized set of army exercises and practices. Hull concludes by means of speculating at the position 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 strength. At its middle is a caution in regards to the blindness of bureaucratic workouts, specially while these bureaucracies command the tools of mass death.
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Additional info for Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany
List of engagements: Germany, General Staff, Die Kämpfe der deutschen Truppen in Südwestafrika, vol. 2: Der Hottentottenkrieg (Berlin, 1907), appendix 3 (hereafter General Staff, Kämpfe der deutschen Truppen, 2:page). 43. The naval records survived World War II, and because the marines were typically the ﬁrst troops sent to quell colonial disturbances, these records are invaluable. 44. Copy of Dr. Baumgart to governor, Okahandja, 1 May 1904, BA-Berlin, R 1001, Nr. 2115, p. 71. 45. War diary, 4 Feb.
Welck). Trotha’s ﬁrst letter to Schlieffen explaining his new policy and threatening resignation if the Kaiser did not approve was 3 Oct. 1904: cf. Trotha diary entries for August and September, and Anhang 1, containing his letters to Schlieffen, Trotha Papers. 106. Bebel, Sten. , XI legis. , 2nd session, 131st meeting, 1 Dec. 1906, vol. 218, p. 4060. pa rt i . s u p p r e s s i o n b e c o m e s a n n i h i l at i o n uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 30 Maison, Gen. 108 Finally, pressured by Trotha’s military intermediaries to respond to the commander’s pleas (and threat of resignation), Wilhelm came close to sanctioning annihilation once it had happened.
Governor Leutwein’s general order of 15 February set the usual parameters for handling “enemy” Africans in colonial uprisings: Mar. 1904); war diary, 2nd Field Comp. (Estorff), 9 May 1904, BA-MA Freiburg, RM 121 I, Nr. 431, p. , p. , p. 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.