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The John Rylands Library houses one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world. The collections span five millennia and cover a wide range of subjects, including art and archaeology; economic, social, political, religious and military history; literature, drama and music; science and medicine; theology and philosophy; travel and exploration. For over a century, the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library has published research that complements the Library's special collections.

Louise Tythacott

In October 1860, at the culmination of the Second Opium War (1856–60), British and French troops looted and then burnt the imperial buildings in the Yuanmingyuan (known at the time by foreigners as the ‘Summer Palace’) in the north of Beijing. This widespread destruction of China’s most important complex of palaces, and the dispersal of the imperial art collection, is considered one of the most extreme acts of cultural destruction of the nineteenth century. Over a million objects are estimated to have been looted from buildings in the Yuanmingyuan; many of these are now scattered around the world, in private collections and public museums. This chapter analyses the display of ‘Summer Palace’ objects in five military museums in the United Kingdom, exploring the meanings constructed around China’s imperial artefacts at these particular sites of representation.

in Dividing the spoils

By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance. Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum, ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in activities not officially classed as war.

The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
Myfanwy James

). Yet, not everyone can perform this humanitarian identity with the same ease. For some local staff, their situation in society and their military, political and personal histories often made it difficult for them to be viewed as mere representatives of MSF. Employees with military histories described the difficulty of presenting themselves as impartial to the conflict: for instance, individuals with experience in Rwandan-backed rebellions endeavoured to keep their background a secret from ‘self-defence’ Mai-Mai who mobilised against these rebellions. Others described

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

In the sixteenth century, many different stories on the Revolt in the Low Countries spread throughout Europe, written by very different authors with very different intentions. Over time this plethora of sources and interpretations faded away, leaving us with only a couple of canonical narratives, extremely opposed in essence. In this way, the Dutch and Spanish national myths were forged on the basis of two different visions of the conflict: as a liberation war and act of rebellion against cruel Spanish oppressors or as a glorious part of the history of the Spanish Empire. This book revolves around the concept of episodic narratives, factual texts on the events and its protagonists, which can be seen at first sight as anecdotic, but that happen to be the building blocks of history. This approach renders the book thought-provoking for anybody interested in the history of the Revolt in the Low Countries, but also for those who wish to understand the dynamics of early modern narratives. Since it offers a wide array of sources in different languages it also provides readers with the chance to engage with texts they do not have easy access to. How did the Spanish write about the Revolt, what can we find in Italian chronicles, what were the Jesuits writing in their letters and how does the war look like from the perspective of a local nobleman or a Spanish commander?

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Culture and memory after the Armistice
Editors: Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy

This book revisits the end of the First World War to ask how that moment of silence was to echo into the following decades. It looks at the history from a different angle, asking how British and German creative artists addressed, questioned and remembered the Armistice and its silence. The book offers a genuinely interdisciplinary study, bringing together contributions from scholars in art history, music, literature and military history. It is unique in its comparison of the creative arts of both sides; assessing responses to the war in Britain, Germany and Austria. Together, the different chapters offer a rich diversity of methodological approaches, including archival research, historical analysis, literary and art criticism, musical analysis and memory studies. The chapters reconsider some well-known writers and artists to offer fresh readings of their works. These sit alongside a wealth of lesser-known material, such as the popular fiction of Philip Gibbs and Warwick Deeping and the music of classical composer Arthur Bliss. The wide-ranging discussions encompass such diverse subjects as infant care, sculpture, returned nurses, war cemeteries, Jewish identity, literary journals, soldiers' diaries and many other topics. Together they provide a new depth to our understanding of the cultural effects of the war and the Armistice. Finally, the book has a recuperative impulse, bringing to light rare and neglected materials, such as the letters of ordinary German and British soldiers, and Alfred Doblin's Armistice novel.

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 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.

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David J. Appleby and Andrew Hopper

this relationship, although their studies stressed the primacy of national politics.10 The chapters in this volume reflect these and other developments, which have served to enhance our understanding of the period.11 Given that these were wars, however, it is important to consider how this volume stands in relation to wider historiographical trends in military history and the medical humanities. Conflict has been an ever-present factor in human affairs, so it would seem to follow that war should be an important field of historical study. Why then do some surveys of

in Battle-scarred
Marnie Hay

political network developed through their membership in the Fianna proved useful in their future careers. Membership profile based on three samples This chapter will examine the membership of the Fianna between 1909 and 1923 in order to provide a general profile of who joined the Fianna during the revolutionary era. The research for this chapter is based on three samples of former Fianna members gleaned from Bureau of Military History (BMH) witness statements, entries from the Dictionary of Irish Biography ( DIB ) and

in Na Fianna Éireann and the Irish Revolution, 1909–23