Militarized environments during the ‘terrible year’ (1870–71)
in Mobilizing nature
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In 1871, G. T. Robinson, the Manchester Guardian's special correspondent, published a book on his experiences of the Franco-Prussian War. The French experience of the war was painful, traumatic, and humiliating. The war militarized urban centres and their hinterlands, including Paris, which held out against Prussia and its allies until the conclusion of the war in January 1871. The war's geographical aspects and the relationship between terrain and tactics fascinated non-combatant military observers. During the siege of Paris, Prussian troops feared that the freezing weather would render useless their flooding of the countryside. Animals inhabited the war as symbols. Military culture and experience shaped how the different armies mobilized the same animal species. By the end of January 1871 the French army was demoralized and depleted after a series of military defeats in the provinces.

Mobilizing nature

The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France

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