Michael S. Neiberg
The military has been relatively neglected by social historians. Military history, for its part, has been written from either an operational or a top-down model that leaves little room for issues of interest to social historians. But the military has played far too important a role in European social history to be so marginalized. Studying the military has value beyond a general attempt to "bring the state back in" to social history. As reflections of the societies they serve, militaries can provide great insight into larger societal patterns. This essay will outline the basic roles and social implications of military institutions in Europe from the end of feudalism to the late twentieth century in four periods: the age of monarchy; the age of nationalism; the world wars; and the postwar period.
Military institutions, by definition, have a monopoly on the legitimate use of organized violence as a means for realizing the state's political, social, and economic objectives. With that definition in mind, one must understand that no monolithic "military" exists, even within one state. Navies and armies, for example, have traditionally differed in their social composition, political outlook, and place within society. In most European states, the relationship between the two (after the creation of air forces, three) main branches of service has usually been unequal. In England, for example, the navy has always been dominant whereas in Russia and Germany the army has been dominant.
Because they are bureaucratic and hierarchical, militaries often look and act like other large public institutions. Nevertheless they differ in their relationship to the management of violence. Militaries, unlike many similar institutions, must accept the potential for high levels of fatalities as a routine part of their mission. Whereas police and fire departments, for example, experience death as an abnormality or an accident, militaries must accept it as a normal consequence of performing their primary function. They differ as well in the centrality they have to modern European nation-states. Military institutions, charged as they are with defense and power projection, are often able to make greater demands on the state than any of their counterparts. Because they are tied to national interest, they are able to demand more from citizens than most other national institutions. This was particularly true after the state became powerful enough to compel military service from young men. After the nineteenth-century introduction of conscription, the military became a unifying institution in many European states.
In times of war, militaries often extend control into areas normally under civilian purview. In peacetime as well, the size and power of militaries can become a threat to the very societies they are designed to serve. Because they possess a monopoly on large-scale violence and have access to advanced weapons technology, they have the power to threaten other national institutions if not kept in check. As a result, European states have developed elaborate systems to maintain control of their armed forces. The patterns that emerge from these systems are generally known as "civil-military relations," although no single "civilian" or "military" viewpoint exists within a given state.
Relationships between civilian and military spheres operate on several levels. On the highest level, civilian and military elites can differ in terms of their value systems, their social background, or their views on contemporary political issues. On a more general level a military "mentality" can emerge that separates the armed services culturally and socially from civilian society. Without controls to prevent the gap from growing too large, militaries can become disconnected from civilian society and lose the support of the people. Thus, maintaining good civil-military relations is vital to the health of a stable political system.
Samuel Huntington identified two models of civil-military relations: "subjective" control and "objective" control. Although his model has been criticized, its general outline (with a few modifications to suit our present purposes) remains a valid starting point for discussions of civil-military relations. In the subjective model, formal constitutional and societal checks exist to limit the power and influence of military systems. These include the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms, the creation of civilian ministries to oversee military services, and the control of military funding by parliaments or other legislative bodies. In most representative systems, the fear of one political party using the military against another is often as large or larger than fears of an outright military coup. European militaries have traditionally played a less direct role in politics than, say, their Latin American counterparts. The European fear, then, is that the creation of large armies could upset internal order by providing a political opponent with a formidable weapon. Subjective controls can also include competing and countervailing hierarchies like secret police (the Nazi Gestapo) or parallel chains of command (the Soviet commissar system). Of course, if used improperly, these controls can help a dictator stay in power by increasing his control over the military, as some historians argue Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. They can also impair the military's performance.
The objective model of control involves imbuing a military with a professional value system that acts as its own check. Huntington argued that this model produced smoother civil-military relations than the subjective model. An objective system, he contended, builds on the military's own emphasis on ethical and behavioral codes. These codes stretch back as far as the chivalric codes that guided warrior conduct in the Middle Ages. Their ideal product is a nonpartisan and nonpolitical military that sees meddling in civilian affairs as antithetical to its own mission. Objectively controlled militaries are thus kept strong enough to serve the state's interest, but pose no threat to the state itself. By creating this kind of professional military, however, a society runs the risk of creating a military that exists as a "society apart," with values and beliefs that differ significantly from civilian counterparts. By the late twentieth century subjective and objective systems coexisted in most developed states.
States have another option for reducing the threat posed by militaries: they can keep them intentionally small and inept. In the 1930s, for example, France invested large sums of money into a chain of defenses on the German border known as the Maginot Line. The decision to build the line emanated from France's experiences in World War I, but Alistair Horne and others have argued that it also provided a way for Third Republic politicians to satisfy the voters' desires for security against Germany without creating a politically unreliable army garrisoned in the nation's interior. Third Republic politicians often saw greater dangers from their countrymen in other parties than they did from foreigners. Creating a powerful army that could end up in the hands of political opponents after the next election was therefore politically unpalatable. With both subjective and objective controls failing, French politicians chose to keep the army on the frontiers both as a check on Germany and as a defense against its own army intervening in French internal affairs. The Soviet Union chose a similar (though much bloodier) strategy when it removed thousands of officers in the purge trials of the 1930s. Joseph Stalin preferred political reliability in his officer corps, even if it meant a decline in military capability. In both cases, a state chose to risk domination by an outside army rather than risk having its own army play too large a role in its political system.
Because variants and combinations of these three models have interacted, military coups are relatively rare in modern European history. Although the military has frequently played important roles in European political and social history, it has rarely dominated. Prussia and Germany in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are a clear exception. In the years before World War I, German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg took his place at the imperial table after the generals, because he had only attained the military rank of major. During that war, Europe experienced one of its few military dictatorships under Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff; notably, it failed. The German example scared most Europeans (including the Nazis) into creating even stronger checks against military influence in the interwar period.
Militaries are, if not mirror images, then certainly reflections of the societies they serve. A democratic state will necessarily produce a different military than will a totalitarian one. Similarly, a technologically and bureaucratically sophisticated state will produce a different military than a developing one. Militaries can serve as vehicles for modernization, as the Russian army did under Peter the Great, or they can act as conservative institutions that resist modernization. However constituted, militaries play critical roles in shaping a state's political, social, and cultural patterns.
FROM FEUDALISM TO ABSOLUTISM
The medieval period left three important legacies for the role of militaries in European society. First, European armies were commanded and led by aristocrats. In the face of a changing society, the military became one of the few institutions that the nobility could dominate, resulting in a conservative outlook for most European armies. Even otherwise innovative monarchs like Russia's Peter the Great (1672–1725) and Prussia's Frederick the Great (1712–1786) were reluctant to change the social composition of their officer corps. Peter went so far as to compel noble service in his officer corps. Aristocratic control probably slowed the technological development of militaries and certainly reduced their overall level of expertise by using birth as the prerequisite for entry into the officer corps. Concentrating the officer corps in the nobility served as a subjective control by limiting senior positions in the military to the segment of society seen as being most politically reliable. Despite the limitations it brought about, monarchs saw noble participation in the armed forces as critical to the army's reliability and stability. The pattern of elite control over armies continued into the twentieth century in most European armies. Navies tended to be relatively less aristocratic and more bourgeois.
Nonnoble, "common" soldiers and sailors generally came from much lower social strata; they even included criminals. Mercenaries (defined as men who serve exclusively for money and are foreigners to the system they serve) and men paid on retainers or bounties (different from mercenaries because they are usually subjects of the state they serve) were another common solution to the problem of filling the ranks. Keeping such men motivated and reliable presented its own problems. Sixteenth-century Spain tried to solve the dilemma by creating permanent regiments called tercios. Each tercio contained about three thousand men and had distinct insignia, uniforms, colors, songs, permanent officers, and, over time, traditions. The tercio system created a small-unit dynamic not seen in European armies since the Roman legions. It also created loyalty to individual units and, by focusing men on the problems of their own unit, distracted military units from political participation, creating an early form of objective control. France and England soon developed a regimental system that served much the same purpose. Many contemporary European military traditions date to this period.
Second, feudalism left a legacy that militaries should have a dignity, an ethos, and a sense of duty. This code (derived in part from medieval chivalry) helped to legitimize militaries as institutions and made possible the creation of laws of warfare. The concept of a "just war" separated formal military institutions from other practitioners of violence and gave the military a political and religious basis for existence. This dignity did not, however, necessarily connect the army to any ideas of a nation-state. Noble control and the growth of royal authority meant that most subjects saw the military as an instrument of the king and the aristocracy, not the people. Put simply, when kings were despotic, the army became an instrument of despotism (see the example of Oliver Cromwell's England).
Third, the end of the feudal period saw the rise of the state's administrative capacity, in part so that monarchs could better control their own armies. At the end of the feudal period, these capacities allowed some monarchs to broaden the recruitment base of their militaries and allowed them to rely upon their own administrations, rather than the capricious compliance of their vassals, to equip their armies. It also allowed the state to monopolize the right to declare and legitimate war. Spain and France were early pioneers in the creation of larger, less aristocratic militaries directly controlled by the monarch, though the nobility still dominated the officer corps. This trend continued throughout Europe, making the aristocracy more of a royal instrument and less the Crown's rival.
The introduction of gunpowder weapons helped to undermine the feudal order and tip the balance of power toward princes who could afford the new weapons. Gunpowder weapons were expensive and constantly became obsolete, requiring new investments. Few nobles could afford to continually update their armies. Many kings, however, could use their administrative capabilities and their wealth (itself based in part on their military success) to buy new weapons and hire more soldiers. Monarchs could now force formerly unruly dukes and barons to accept a new, far less equal, relationship. Large artillery pieces, of course, rendered tall castles, once an aristocrat's safeguard against the king's armies, much less secure. Armies thus became connected to the monarch and to his evolving state apparatus.
The state's enlarged administrative and fiscal capabilities led to increasing links with associated civilian fields of expertise. Increased sophistication in banking and other areas gave states the power to place armies in the field far from home, but most states still had financial difficulty keeping those armies in the field. Mercenaries and men paid by bounty were too expensive to keep on a permanent or semipermanent basis, and could turn on the king if he demobilized them. Much of the destruction of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) resulted from armies seeking loot or sustenance from local areas when regular payments from kings failed to materialize. War was no less expensive in the eighteenth century. French assistance to the American rebels led to a debt that required the dedication of almost half of the royal treasury to debt service.
Although most historians argue that this period did not represent one of great "skill transferability" between the military and civilian spheres, important links were created between the army and navy on the one hand and science and engineering on the other. Artillery weapons necessitated new siege techniques and forms of fortification and defense that required skills outside the army's own ability. Engineers like France's Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633–1707) became highly valued in an era of limited warfare and attempts to limit the impact of war on civilians by focusing military operations around forts.
Navies also built on links to civilians, especially in areas like navigation and, of course, shipbuilding. As European warships grew larger and substituted sails for rowers, they became capable of carrying more food and cannon. By the fifteenth century, European navies were becoming more powerful in African and Indian waters as well as in the Mediterranean and the North Seas. By 1518 Portuguese galleys could carry 35 guns, impressive for the time but soon dwarfed by later warships. By 1759, Great Britain had a ship that carried 104 guns capable of firing 1,100 pounds of iron every 90 seconds.
THE AGE OF NATIONALISM
Though few saw it at the time, Great Britain's unsuccessful war to subdue a rebellion in the American colonies was a watershed. Relying heavily on mercenaries, the British tried to defeat an opponent motivated more by nationalism (or at least regionalism) than by money. The French Revolution brought this same change to the European continent. Throughout the "long nineteenth century" (1789–1914) armies became less an instrument of monarchs and more an instrument (and reflection) of nations. Militaries also became larger, more sophisticated, and capable of extending European imperialism to almost any place the state wished.
France's levée en masse, issued in 1792, established (in theory at least) the idea that all citizens, regardless of age and gender, owed service to their nation's army because it was a representation of them and their general will. The Jourdan Law of 1798, passed to meet the demands of the War of the Second Coalition, established the principle of conscription in France and required all young men to register with the state. By 1815, more than 2 million Frenchmen had joined the army through conscription. The French Revolution changed the prevailing justification of war as an instrument of society. This connection between the military and society weakened the link between the military and the state and created a new link between the military and the nation. The difference is critical. Over the course of the nineteenth century armies became instruments of the citizenry in ways not seen in Europe since Roman times.
This connection brought fundamental changes. The logic of mercenaries as both operationally effective and cost-effective no longer made sense. The nation now had to be defended by citizens, not foreigners. Few Europeans argued that nonprofessional citizen-soldiers made better tactical soldiers. The distinction was more moral than military. The citizen, Europeans now presumed, brought élan, morale, and patriotism that more than compensated for any lack of military discipline or operational skills.
That logic led to another important change: the further opening of the officer corps to nonnobles. In most armies, nonnoble officers were concentrated in technical fields like artillery and engineering. Napoleon opened the officer corps much further with a famous call to his troops that all of them carried the baton of a marshal in their haversacks. While nobles still served disproportionately in the officer corps, a greatly increased number of bourgeois and former enlisted men became officers. Prussia followed suit in 1808, defining its officer corps by talent instead of birth and opening new institutions for the training and educating of officers. Two years earlier, Prussian reformers attempted to create an army on the "Jacobin" model, based on national devotion generating close links between the soldier and his society. Napoleon and his imitators radically changed the military to improve its esprit and, they hoped, its battlefield performance. In the process, they radically changed the connection that militaries had to their nations.
The connection of armies to their societies meant that they only derived legitimacy when citizens viewed them as representing the nation. Throughout the nineteenth century, various crises diminished that legitimacy by making the military again seem like an instrument of the state, sometimes against the peoples' will. We have already seen the Prussian model and the changing balance of civil-military relations there. In Prussia, France, and elsewhere, the military's role in breaking the revolutions of 1848 and the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1871 seemed to many to renew the links between military and monarchy as did scandals like the Dreyfus Affair, in which many republicans saw a nefarious military acting to erode the same liberties it was supposed to defend. The very term "militarism" dates to French republican opponents of Napoleon III and his use of the army as a sword of Damocles to reduce the power of the legislature, control the press, and threaten dissidents.
Fears of the military put the late-nineteenth-century expansion of continental conscription in a new light for people on both the right and the left. Marxists and other leftists saw a larger military as an instrument of capitalism and imperialism and inherently threatening to domestic liberty. Those on the right sometimes resisted conscription as well. Prussian and German Junkers occasionally called for lower conscription levels out of fear that a larger army would mean a larger officer corps, incorporating many nonnobles. Of all the European great powers, only Great Britain, due to its geography, its residual fear of standing armies from the Cromwell era, and its unrivaled navy, avoided conscription in this period.
European militaries also created general staffs in this period to coordinate and plan military activity. Originally devised by the Prussians to manage mobilization, general staff planning and centralization seemed to show its utility to Europe in the Prussian-German victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871. In the following decades, most major military systems in Europe created staffs of their own. These staffs concentrated expertise in a variety of auxiliary fields from technology to diplomacy. Although most historians argue that the period before World War I followed the pattern of relatively little direct skill transferability between the military and civilian worlds, the staff system meant that militaries now had large numbers of officers with expertise in civilian areas.
Armies and navies played central roles in expanding European imperialism. Superior technologies like steamships and machine guns made imperialism cheap. In the First Opium War (1839–1842), one British sloop sank fifty-eight Chinese junks without suffering a single hit. Most military planners and general staffs, however, were much more concerned with the immediate problems of power projection and security on the European continent itself. Militaries also had to deal with the dizzying array of new weapons systems that European industry provided in the fin de siècle period. By 1910, these included artillery powerful enough to reduce any existing fort, machine guns capable of firing 250 rounds per minute, all-big-gun battleships, and torpedo-carrying submarines. The inability of generals and admirals fully to comprehend these technologies partially explains the unprecedented carnage of the twentieth century.
THE WORLD WARS
The two world wars brought nightmares to Europe. From German devastation of Belgian cities in 1914 to the firestorms and Holocaust of World War II, European militaries became instruments of a level of violence that horrified the world. Each of the elements of the European military system discussed above (and for that matter the state and cultural systems as well) contributed to the carnage of World War I. The vaunted general staff system created inflexible war plans that did not permit states to respond with levels of violence proportionate to either the enemy's perceived offense or immediate threat. Germany, the birthplace of the general staff, authored the most cataclysmic of these plans, the Schlieffen Plan. The plan tried to account for Germany's unfavorable geographic position between France and Russia, which were allied through the Triple Entente. At the moment of hostilities, the plan called for German forces to move through Belgium (thereby defying Great Britain, the main guarantor of Belgium's neutrality), seize Paris in six weeks, then move east by rail to meet the Russians. Better than any other single factor, it explains how the assassination of an Austrian archduke in Bosnia set an entire continent to war for four years.
The nineteenth-century creation of mass, conscript armies meant little more than mass targets for the new weapons at the disposal of World War I armies. Despite the mass casualties, nationalism kept nationally based armies like the French, British, and German in the field. Even a French mutiny in 1917 proves the point. French soldiers refused to attack defended German positions, but they did not fraternize with the enemy (indeed, somehow the Germans never found out that a mutiny was in progress) and they did not leave their positions: they knew that they were the only force between the Germans and Paris. Armies that were not nationally cohesive broke down more fully. These included, most obviously, the Austro-Hungarian, where training was conducted in eleven languages and four different religious services were performed by army chaplains each week. They also included the multiethnic Ottoman and Russian armies as well as the Italian army, where northern-southern identities often overrode still-nascent Italian nationalism.
World War I also altered the relationship between the military and society. On the one hand, large groups of veterans, proud of their service, now claimed the right to make special demands on the state as a result of that service. On the other, the war did little to inspire popular faith or confidence in Europe's military leaders. Even among the victors, few generals emerged from the war with sparkling reputations. As a result, the public's faith in the military to resolve, or even correctly define, security problems waned. The widespread disarmament movements of the 1920s were partly rooted in a desire to keep militaries as small as possible. In effect, Europeans had come to argue that smaller, not larger, armies were the pathway to peace. That logic represented a radical change from the logic of the prewar period.
The political instability of the interwar period led to a period of relatively frequent military involvement in European politics. Most famously, army support was critical to fascist takeovers in Italy, Germany, and Spain. In the latter case, a former army chief of staff, Francisco Franco, took power, while in the former two, Mussolini and Hitler derived much of their appeal from army support of their cause. In Greece, a military coup in 1935 restored King George II to the throne and in France major military appointments always had an overtly political dimension. Chief of the General Staff Maurice Gamelin was a political ally of the socialist Édouard Daladier. His commander-in-chief, A. J. Georges, was closely connected to Daladier's political nemesis, Paul Reynaud. The political rivalry between the generals and their political supporters impeded decision making in the French high command in the 1930s, with disastrous results. Gamelin actively opposed the return of Reynaud to power after the German occupation of Norway in April 1940. As a compromise, Daladier stayed on as defense minister. In the tense month of May, Reynaud replaced both Gamelin and Daladier with men closer to his own politics.
In both world wars, mass mobilization and mass suffering blurred the line between military and civilian. Especially in the World War II period, civilian and military skills "fused" as the formerly sharp distinction between the two spheres melted. So many people wore uniforms (including large numbers of women in Britain and the Soviet Union) that maintaining a military-civilian dichotomy proved difficult. Long-range aviation allowed militaries to take war into their enemy's heartland. The incredible sacrifices of the Soviet people underscored how warfare in the twentieth century affected civilians.
World War II also marked the decline of Western Europe as the world's main center of military power. Close links to the increasingly powerful United States military help to explain the Anglo-Soviet victory. Germany, on the other hand, was much less successful in creating synergy with its non-European ally, Japan. Throughout the war American industrial capability and manpower translated into an increasingly large voice in strategic and operational decision making. After bearing the brunt against Germany in 1940 and 1941, Great Britain had to accept second (some argue third) power status in the Grand Alliance. This diminution of European military power and prestige resulted in problems across their empires as well, including the "Quit India" movement and the growth of anti-imperial groups like the Viet Minh.
THE COLD WAR AND AFTER
The dominant theme of the post–World War II period is, of course, the cold war. No European military could escape the reality that their power in relation to the Americans and the Soviets had diminished significantly. What, then, were militaries to do? Three possibilities soon emerged: alliance with either the USSR or the United States; neutrality (usually implying only defensive military activity); or military action largely independent from the superpowers. For some Europeans, reestablishing empires (and in some cases, the nation itself ) was often a higher state priority than choosing sides in the cold war.
Most European militaries became involved in one of the two cold war alliances, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (formed in 1949) and the Warsaw Pact (formed in 1955). NATO involved active members of the World War II coalition alongside former enemies of that coalition like Italy and, later, West Germany. The 1954 decision to rearm West Germany, under the leadership of many Nazi-era officers, stirred considerable controversy. In August of that year France rejected the proposal, but under American pressure later accepted it. The lingering problems, including NATO's 1957 naming of a German general to command forces in Central Europe, contributed to France's alienation from NATO (see below). The militaries of Eastern Europe, of course, had little choice. Largely as a response to NATO and a rearmed West Germany, the Soviet Union codified its relationship with its satellite states' militaries in the Warsaw Pact. Austria, Yugoslavia, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland tried to remain outside the superpower alliance system, with varying degrees of success.
The existence of nuclear weapons represented a fundamental change in the logic of alliances and of military strategy itself. England's explosion of an atomic bomb in 1952 (followed by an explosion of a hydrogen bomb in 1957) and France's successful nuclear test in 1960 did not change the fundamentally unequal power relationships between the superpowers (in this case the United States) and their allies. America's role in ending the 1956 Suez War against England's and France's wishes underscored the nature of that relationship. European militaries thus faced very real credibility problems when they were seen by their citizens as mere instruments of the superpowers. This problem particularly plagued Eastern European militaries as the policies they helped to enforce were so evidently contrary to the wishes of the people.
Striving to create a more independent military policy could help to solve the problem of legitimacy. Of course, this option was simply not open to the Eastern European militaries until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ironically, the end of the cold war may not have solved the problem, as many Eastern European nations soon applied for membership in NATO. France typified the model of independent military action. In 1959 France withdrew its fleet from NATO, refused to stockpile American nuclear weapons on its soil, and asked the United States to remove its war-planes. In 1966, shortly after revealing its own long-range nuclear delivery capability, France formally withdrew from the military operations of NATO. The alliance subsequently moved its headquarters from Paris to Brussels and other key facilities to Maastricht and Rome.
Allegations that national armies were primarily serving the superpowers combined with several militaries' unpopular roles in trying to reestablish empires. The French experiences in Indochina and Algeria tore the country apart, leading to the collapse of the Fourth Republic and fears of revolution or even civil war. The French war in Algeria (1954–1962) led to ten thousand French casualties, an army mutiny, and even an assassination attempt on France's greatest hero, Charles de Gaulle. Belgium's experiences in the Congo, Portuguese operations in Angola, and Dutch operations in Indonesia also met significant opposition at home. Depending on one's point of view, European militaries looked to be either ineffective in reestablishing colonialism or antediluvian in trying to restore empires that properly belonged to a bygone era. Significantly, European militaries did not support the American war in Vietnam as they had the war in Korea. To do so would have further fed charges of both neoimperialism and inappropriate action as an instrument of the United States.
The end of the cold war did not end the essential dilemma of European militaries. Although the Warsaw Pact dissolved, NATO expanded. Britain and France both joined the coalition that defeated Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, though the war was not as popular in Europe as it was in America. Europeans also participated in military operations in Bosnia and Kosovo under the aegis of NATO. The latter operation saw the largest German military effort since 1945. British prime minister Tony Blair called the operation in Kosovo an example of a new ideology: the imperialism of morality. European military operations, he suggested, would derive legitimacy from their defense of the weak and their protection of human rights. In doing so he was both addressing the still powerful need to legitimate the actions of European militaries and recalling medieval notions of just warfare.
Exactly what role Europe should play in the military arena of the post–cold war world remains of great debate. In the absence of an immediate threat, many European nations have eliminated or greatly reduced unpopular universal (male) military training laws. Relying exclusively on volunteers, including larger numbers of women, may lead to increased legitimacy, as may European attempts to move away from American leadership. In 1999 several Western European nations took final steps toward the creation of a joint European military force designed to be able to act independently of the United States. Eastern Europe's military future appeared to be in even more doubt. Some of the former Soviet republics became important nuclear powers. Several former Warsaw Pact nations looked to NATO membership as a way to guarantee their security and gain access to advanced Western weapons technology.
War, according to the famous dictum by Carl von Clausewitz, is an extension of politics by other means. To paraphrase Clausewitz, militaries are an extension of their societies by other means. As such, they merit attention from social historians. Military history ought to do more than examine generalship and tactics. It ought also to explore the connections between military institutions and the social, cultural, and political patterns of European history. Here, of course, social historians have much to contribute. The result of such a contribution will be a better understanding of the ways that the military has influenced, and been influenced by, large patterns of social history.
Bushnell, John. Mutiny amid Repression: Russian Soldiers in the Revolution of 1905–1906. Bloomington, Ind., 1985.
Cobb, Richard. The Peoples' Armies: The Armées Révolutionnaires, Instrument of the Terror in the Departments, April 1793 to Floreal Year II. Translated by Marianne Elliott. New Haven, Conn., 1987. Analysis of what the military as an institution meant to revolutionary France.
Déak, István. Beyond Nationalism: A Social and Political History of the Habsburg Officer Corps, 1848–1918. New York, 1990.
Ellis, John. The Social History of the Machine Gun. Baltimore, 1986. See his argument on the responses of European militaries to technological change.
Herwig, Holger. The German Naval Officer Corps: A Social and Political History, 1890–1918. Oxford, 1973.
Horne, Alistair. To Lose a Battle: France 1940. Boston, 1969. Insightful discussion of the domestic roles of the French military between the world wars.
Huntington, Samuel. The Soldier and the State: The Theory of Politics and Civil-Military Relations. Cambridge, Mass., 1957. Remains an important starting point for discussions of civil-military relations.
Wildman, Allan K. The End of the Imperial Russian Army. 2 vols. Princeton, N.J., 1987. Provides a good complement to Bushnell.