Surrender in Modern Warfare Since the French Revolution
The French Revolution's stress on the rights of individuals extended to an acknowledgement of the rights of captured soldiers. But as the state claimed to represent the popular will, it became possible to see individual soldiers as more, not less, responsible for continued resistance. So guarantees of rights in international law were the necessary concomitant of the advent of ‘total’ war, particularly in ideological clashes where restraint might be forfeit. Preventing individual decisions to yield from converting into a mass phenomenon and in turn prompting the state to surrender was — in the first instance — the responsibility of the command chain. Thus the pattern of mass surrender, and whether it triggered a national collapse, goes to the heart of the relationship between the individual and the modern state.
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