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07. Isabel V. Hull, History

Isabel HullAbsolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (Cornell University Press, 2005). In this analysis of the rise and development of German military culture, Hull begins with the war in 1870, which inaugurated the Imperial era in German history, and proceeds up to the end of World War I. She argues that the practices and routines of the Imperial Germany Army, unchecked by civilian institutions, increasingly aimed for absolute destruction of the enemy as the only guarantee of the nation’s security. The deeply imbedded logic of “military necessity” was the impetus for extreme destruction of civilian property and lives. The book is called a cautionary tale for today with serious implications for the nature of warmaking in any modern power. It won the 2005 Ralph Waldo Emerson Book Award given by Phi Beta Kappa for scholarly studies that make significant contributions to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.

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