The morality of capacity-increasing technologies in the military

Throughout history, states have tried to create the perfect combatant, with superhuman physical and cognitive features akin to those of comic book superheroes. However, the current innovations have nothing to do with the ones from the past, and their development goes beyond a simple technological perspective. On the contrary, they are raising the prospect of a human-enhancement revolution that will change the ways in which future wars will be fought and may even profoundly alter the foundations upon which our modern societies are built. This book discusses the full ethical implications of these new technologies, making it a unique resource for students and scholars interested in the morality of warfare.

Refusing to adopt a binary vision, political theorist Jean-François Caron argues that, when analysed from an ethical viewpoint, the development and use of capacity-increasing technologies in the military is far more complex than it first appears, since it presents us with a significant moral dilemma. On the one hand, enhancing soldiers’ capacities can be interpreted as a moral obligation on the part of the military. On the other, such technologies might also end up harming fundamental moral principles of warfare. Without condemning them as evil and inadmissible, Professor Caron proposes a nuanced and balanced appraisal of capacity-increasing technologies in the military as a tool that ought to be used contingently on the respect of certain moral criteria.

The politics of Britain’s small wars since 1945

Britain is often revered for its extensive experience of waging ‘small wars’. Its long imperial history is littered with high profile counter-insurgency campaigns, thus marking it out as the world's most seasoned practitioners of this type of warfare. Britain's ‘small wars’ ranged from fighting Communist insurgents in the bamboo-laden Malayan jungle, marauding Mau Mau gangs in Kenyan game reserves, Irish republican terrorists in the back alleys and rural hamlets of Northern Ireland, and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's Helmand province. This is the first book to detail the tactical and operational dynamics of Britain's small wars, arguing that the military's use of force was more heavily constrained by wider strategic and political considerations than previously admitted. Outlining the civil-military strategy followed by the British in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, Defending the Realm argues that Britain's small wars have been shaped by a relative decline in British power, amidst dramatic fluctuations in the international system, just as much as the actions of military commanders and civilian officials ‘on the spot’ or those formulating government policy in London. Written from a theoretically-informed perspective, grounded in rich archival sources, oral testimonies and a reappraisal of the literature on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, Defending the Realm is the definitive account of the politics of Britain's small wars. It will be of interest to political scientists and historians, as well as scholars, students, soldiers and politicians who wish to gain a more critically informed perspective of the political trappings of war.

Experiencing and imagining the military in the long nineteenth century

This collection explores the role of martial masculinities in shaping nineteenth-century British culture and society in a period framed by two of the greatest wars the world had ever known and punctuated by many smaller conflicts. Bringing together contributions from a diverse range of leading scholars, it offers fresh, interdisciplinary perspectives on an emerging field of study. Chapters in this volume draw on historical, literary, visual and musical sources to demonstrate the centrality of the military and its masculine dimensions in the shaping of Victorian and Edwardian personal and national identities. Focusing on both the experience of military service and its imaginative forms, it examines such topics as bodies and habits, families and domesticity, heroism and chivalry, religion and militarism, and youth and fantasy. The collection is divided into two sections: ‘experiencing’ and ‘imagining’ military masculinities. This division represents the two principal areas of investigation for scholars working in this field. The section on experience considers the realities of military life in this period, and asks to what extent they produced a particular kind of gendered identity. The second section moves on to explore the wider impact of martial masculinities on culture and society, asking whether nineteenth-century Britain can be regarded as a warrior nation. These two sections ultimately demonstrate that the reception, representation and replication of masculine values in Britain during this period was far more complex than might be assumed.

Pirates, rebels and mercenaries

This book is a story about the importance of stories in International Relations. It brings insights from Literary Studies and Narratology into IR and political science by developing a new discourse analytical method of narrative analysis. Focusing on the three narrative elements of setting, characterization and emplotment, the book argues that narratives are of fundamental importance for human cognition and identity construction. Narratives help us understand the social and political world in which we live. The book emphasizes the idea of intertextual narratability which holds that for narratives to become dominant they have to link themselves to previously existing stories. Empirically the book looks at narratives about pirates, rebels and private military and security companies (PMSCs). The book illustrates in the case of pirates and rebels that the romantic images embedded in cultural narratives influence our understanding of modern piracy in places like Somalia or rebels in Libya. Dominant romantic narratives marginalize other, less flattering, stories about these actors, in which they are constituted as terrorists and made responsible for human rights violations. In contrast, in the case of PMSCs in Iraq the absence of such romantic cultural narratives makes it difficult for such actors to successfully narrate themselves as romantic heroes to the public.

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The Victorian army and its use of railways

The railway represented one of pivotal technological developments of the nineteenth century. This book reviews the way in which the British army exploited the potential of railways from the 'dawn of the railway age' to the outbreak of the First World War. It explores the use of railways when the army was acting in aid of the civil power, as a factor in the planning for home defence, and as an increasingly efficient means of supporting the army on active service. If the early Victorian army welcomed railways as an ancillary means of responding to domestic emergencies, it encountered similar challenges in fulfilling its role in home defence. Over nearly thirty years from the Crimean War to the intervention in Egypt, the Victorian army both experimented with railways and observed the employment of railways. The Sudan Military Railway was regarded as 'astounding in conception'. The book reveals that the army monitored the use of railways in foreign wars, experimented in the use of railways within rear areas, designed and built railways for strategic defence in India, and later exploited railways to transform the prospects of military success in the Sudan and South Africa. The Victorian army demonstrated a capacity to integrate the railway into its logistic planning, to grasp the imperative of operational management, and to envisage it as a key element in mobilisation and strategic planning.

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The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France

This book traces the creation, maintenance, and contestation of the militarized environments from the establishment of France's first large-scale and permanent army camp on the Champagne plains in 1857, to military environmentalism in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In doing so, it focuses on the evolving and profoundly historical relationship between war, militarization, and the environment. The book treats militarized environments as simultaneously material and cultural sites that have been partially or fully mobilized to achieve military aims. It focuses on the environmental history of sites in rural and metropolitan France that the French and other militaries have directly mobilized to prepare for, and to wage, war. They include such sites as army camps, weapons testing facilities, and air bases, as well as battlefields and other combat zones, but not maritime militarized environments, which arguably deserve their own book. First World War cemeteries and the memorial landscapes of the D-Day beaches remain places of international importance and serve as reminders of the transnational character of many French militarized environments. And although the book focuses on the environmental history of militaraization within metropolitan France, it speaks to issues that mark militarized environments across the globe, such as civilian displacement, anti-base protests, and military environmentalism. By focusing on the French case, the author aims to encourage reflection and discussion on the global issue of military control and use of the environment.

Army, Medicine, and Modernity in WWI Germany

This book is a critical examination of the relationships between war, medicine, and the pressures of modernization in the waning stages of the German Empire. Through her examination of wartime medical and scientific innovations, government and military archives, museum and health exhibitions, philanthropic works, consumer culture and popular media, historian Heather Perry reveals how the pressures of modern industrial warfare did more than simply transform medical care for injured soldiers—they fundamentally re-shaped how Germans perceived the disabled body. As the Empire faced an ever more desperate labour shortage, military and government leaders increasingly turned to medical authorities for assistance in the re-organization of German society for total war. Thus, more than a simple history of military medicine or veteran care, Recycling the Disabled tells the story of the medicalization of modern warfare in Imperial Germany and the lasting consequences of this shift in German society.

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The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910–22

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) remains something of a forgotten army of the Irish revolutionary period. There has also been a tendency for historians of opposition to Home Rule to view the UVF as little more than a supporting cast to the Unionists stars: Sir Edward Carson and Andrew Bonar Law. In traditional Unionist accounts of the Third Home Rule crisis, militancy was a measured and controlled response by Ulster Unionists to the actions of the Liberal government. The book considers the social composition and political ideology of the UVF. The command structures of the UVF and the force's military efficiency are discussed next. Many of the early manifestations of Ulster Unionist militancy occurred outside the formal structures of the Orange Order and Unionist Clubs. The earliest forms of armed Unionism during the 1910-1914 period took a similar form and, indeed, this neo-feudalism was to survive in the UVF proper between 1913 and 1914. The command of the UVF, while theoretically a standard military hierarchy, was in reality anything but that. The military efficiency units differed significantly over time and region. Unionist propaganda was aimed at four different audiences: Ulster Unionists themselves, British public opinion, the Liberal government and Nationalist Ireland. The book then covers the related issues of finance, arms and equipment. The contribution of the UVF to the 36th (Ulster) Division is then dealt with. Finally, it considers the brief revival of the UVF in 1920 and its amalgamation into the Ulster Special Constabulary.

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Same-sex desire in the British Armed Forces, 1939–45

This book takes a contextual, time-specific approach to the study of same-sex desire in the British armed forces. Such an approach is now considered to be de rigueur for the historian of sexuality. The book first examines the medical, legal and cultural understandings of same-sex activity and identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then focuses on the life of service personnel; how they lived, loved and survived within the armed forces. Among other themes, the book examines the importance of homosociability and the mechanics of passing. It explores the experiences of personnel during moments when the veil could be lifted, whether on leave, on stage, away from authority, in foreign climes or simply away from the strictures of familial authority. The book further interrogates how men and women deemed to desire members of the same sex were conceptualised and treated by the armed forces. It uses court-martial records, court transcripts, official papers and personal testimony to map out how those caught out by the system were understood and treated. Finally, the book provides a clearer picture of how self-identified queer personnel and those who engaged in homosex experienced the Second World War when on duty, at play and when experiencing the sharp end of military law.

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The military in British art, 1815-1914

In an age when engraving and photography were making artistic images available to a much wider public, artists were able to influence public attitudes more powerfully than ever before. This book examines works of art on military themes in relation to ruling-class ideologies about the army, war and the empire. The first part of the book is devoted to a chronological survey of battle painting, integrated with a study of contemporary military and political history. The chapters link the debate over the status and importance of battle painting to contemporary debates over the role of the army and its function at home and abroad. The second part discusses the intersection of ideologies about the army and military art, but is concerned with an examination of genre representations of soldiers. Another important theme which runs through the book is the relation of English to French military art. During the first eighty years of the period under review France was the cynosure of military artists, the school against which British critics measured their own, and the place from which innovations were imported and modified. In every generation after Waterloo battle painters visited France and often trained there. The book shows that military art, or the 'absence' of it, was one of the ways in which nationalist commentators articulated Britain's moral superiority. The final theme which underlies much of the book is the shifts which took place in the perception of heroes and hero-worship.