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Absolute WarViolence and Mass Warfare in the German Lands, 1792-1820$
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Mark Hewitson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198787457

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198787457.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Heroism and the Defence of the Volk

Heroism and the Defence of the Volk

(p.72) 2 Heroism and the Defence of the Volk
Absolute War

Mark Hewitson

Oxford University Press

Representations of war changed between 1792 and 1815, as the nature of warfare altered and as a succession of conflicts, waged by seven separate coalitions, affected all the German lands. Most notably, long-established critiques of absolutism and hopes of a long-lasting or perpetual peace were eclipsed by new conceptions of ‘revolutionary’ conflict and wars of the ‘Volk’. Much of the historiographical debate about contemporaries’ attitudes to war rests less on contested interpretations of press reports and literary depictions than on disputed assessments of the significance of such representations. The chapter examines the relationship between patriotism, nationalism, and belligerence in newspapers, literature, and paintings. It argues that a reading ‘public’ in the German lands did have access to an increasing number of such accounts, as the wars succeeded one another, censorship was relaxed, public spheres developed, and the possibility—or, even, need—of a coordinated national campaign against Napoleonic France arose.

Keywords:   public sphere, representations of war, peace, literature, paintings, patriotism, nationalism, belligerence

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