By Isabel V. Hull
In a booklet that's straight away an incredible contribution to fashionable ecu background and a cautionary story for this day, Isabel V. Hull argues that the exercises and practices of the Imperial German military, unchecked via powerful civilian associations, more and more sought absolutely the destruction of its enemies because the in basic terms warrantly of the nation's defense. 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 slash from the utter destruction of civilian estate and lives. Carried to its severe, the good judgment of "military necessity" came upon genuine safeguard in basic terms in extremities of destruction, within the "silence of the graveyard."
Hull starts with a dramatic account, in accordance 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 historical past, and analyzes the genesis and nature of this particularly German army tradition and its operations in colonial struggle. within the First global struggle the exercises perfected within the colonies have been visited upon ecu populations. Hull makes a speciality of one set of situations (Belgium and northern France) during which the transition to overall destruction used to be checked (if slightly) and on one other (Armenia) within which "military necessity" brought on 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 struggle whether the fatherland have been destroyed within the process―a possible insane crusade that completes the good judgment of this deeply institutionalized set of army workouts and practices. Hull concludes by means of speculating at the function of this designated army tradition in nationwide Socialism's army and racial policies.
Absolute Destruction has critical implications for the character of warmaking in any glossy strength. At its middle is a caution concerning the blindness of bureaucratic exercises, 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
63. Rohrbach, Aus Südwestafrikas schweren Tagen, 79. 64. , 113, 127, 132. 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 20 they saw troops. The standard procedure for handling “spies” was to shoot them immediately. Not every officer complied, of course, but Captain Franke’s scruples, which he noted in his diary, testify to the expectation that he was supposed to do so. “I am still ﬁghting with myself,” he wrote on 26 June 1904, “whether I should have a Herero shot, who was brought in and who is clearly a spy.
Franke, Nr. 3, p. 20. The missionary August Kuhlmann mentions this incident and says Franke’s troops bayoneted another Herero at the same time. Franke’s diary entry for 26 Feb. mentions ﬁnding two wounded Herero, so it is possible that this is what Kuhlmann witnessed. Kuhlmann to Inspector Spiecker, 18 May 1904, reprinted in de Vries, Namibia, 282. 69. Kuhlmann to Inspector Spiecker, 18 May 1904; and Bernsmann, Danner, Kuhlmann, Elder, Vedder, Brockmann, Eich, and Diehl to Inspector Spiecker, Karibib, 5 May 1904, VEM-Wuppertal, Diehl papers, B/c II 35, 3, p.
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. ”109 If Trotha had received a verbal order, he would surely have cited it when asking for royal conﬁrmation. Still, the surviving correspondence shows the atmosphere of military hardness at court that Trotha believed backed his extreme policies.