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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.

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Chris Pearson

, dead bodies, and barbed wire, the militarized environment of the Western Front was amongst the most extreme that has ever existed, scarring soldiers’ minds and bodies, societies and cultures, and the land itself.2 But despite their extreme character, the trenches were part of a far longer and geographically dispersed environmental history of militarized environments in modern French history. In this book I trace the creation, maintenance, and contestation of these militarized environments from the establishment of France’s first large-scale and permanent army camp on

in Mobilizing nature
Transnational resistance in Europe, 1936–48
Editors: and

This work demonstrates that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War has to be seen through a transnational, not a national, lens. It explores how people often resisted outside their country of origin because they were migrants, refugees or exiles who were already on the move. It traces their trajectories and encounters with other resisters and explores their experiences, including changes of beliefs, practices and identities. The book is a powerful, subtle and thought-provoking alternative to works on the Second World War that focus on single countries or on grand strategy. It is a ‘bottom up’ story of extraordinary individuals and groups who resisted oppression from Spain to the Soviet Union and the Balkans. It challenges the standard chronology of the war, beginning with the formation of the International Brigades in Spain and following through to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel. This is a collective project by a team of international historians led by Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance (Faber & Faber, 2015). These have explored archives across Europe, the USA, Russia and Israel in order to unearth scores of fascinating individual stories which are woven together into themed chapters and a powerful new interpretation. The book is aimed at undergraduates and graduates working on twentieth-century Europe and the Second World War or interested in the possibilities of transnational history.

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Chris Pearson

, ruined fields, polluted sites, and lost homelands need to be added to war and militarization’s impact on France. The existence of some areas of biodiversity on some militarized environments should not cover up the loss of life – human and nonhuman – that these processes have entailed. Much more remains to be written about the socio-natural histories and geographies of militarized environments in France and elsewhere. If this book has succeeded in opening up secretive sites, such as army camps, as historical places worthy of critical study, then it will have achieved

in Mobilizing nature
David Killingray

to and during the First World War, as indeed had been the case in many pre-colonial African armies. 5 Woman and children were also very much part of the daily life of colonial army camps and ‘lines’, 6 although some European officers feared that such ‘domestication’ might reduce the martial spirit of soldiers. 7 Colonial armies were usually commanded by white officers with the assistance of a few specialist

in Guardians of empire
Chris Pearson

? Alongside mobilizing forests to defend France’s eastern border, army chiefs set about rethinking and expanding France’s army camps. In the years following defeat, varying opinions concerning the correct geographical place of the army jostled for dominance. Some doctors treated the countryside as an unhealthy place. They feared the harmful climates and atmosphere of boredom that supposedly inflicted rural army camps. But others saw the countryside as a healthy site of national regeneration.17 For his part, Thiers wanted to keep troops away from what he regarded as the

in Mobilizing nature
questions of the ordinary
Rebecca Walker

4 Between violence and the everyday: questions of the ordinary ‘Suyal nilamai’ (the situation) In the sweltering midday heat of a bright day in March 2007, my friend, Anuloja, and I sat outside a makeshift shelter talking with a family who had recently been displaced from their home. The family had set up their shelter on deserted scrubland, away from the main road, edging onto the barricaded borders of a sprawling government army camp. The area where the family were camped was littered with half-buried coils of razor wire. Scrawny flea-ridden dogs lazed in the

in Enduring violence
Chris Pearson

environmentalist rhetoric.25 In France, this claim emerged in relationship with the vitality of vegetation growth on army training grounds. From initially treating the camps’ distinct ecologies as severe impediments to training, the army succeeded in reinventing militarized environments as nature reserves of national and international importance. By the 1960s, French army officers had became acutely aware that the combination of military training, vegetation growth, and the absence of civilian land use practices on army camps created environments that differed enormously from

in Mobilizing nature
John Privilege

the Government was sustained and played little part in his overall attitude to the conflict. The fact of vast numbers of Irish Catholics serving in the British armed forces was never a political problem for Logue but a spiritual one. By 1915, the number of Irish Catholics serving on the various fronts and in the army camps had risen considerably.21 Logue’s moral aversion to the suffering caused by war had long equipped him with a deep affinity for those in the armed forces and concern for their spiritual welfare. He did not pass moral judgement on enlistment but

in Michael Logue and the Catholic Church in Ireland, 1879–1925
Bryan Fanning

The money was used to pay the Department of Defence for the accommodation of the refugees in a former army camp in County Clare and to pay allowances to individual refugees who were not allowed social welfare payments by the state.6 Another article gave a fanciful account of the arrival of the refugees at the army camp at Knocknalisheen in County Clare from Shannon Airport.7 It began with a description of tired but cheerful refugees arriving at ‘the old camp in the valley’. The article then imagined the gratitude of the refugees to the Irish people: Then they looked

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland