Financial concerns and familial duty anchored men’s thoughts to familial survival. Evidence of their attitudes emerges from the hearings of the military service tribunals established to determine exemptions under the Military Services Act. Comparing men’s private letters with the public record shows the underlying anxieties over the conscription of brothers. Four factors affected deliberations concerning brothers: government policy regarding single men; the relative ignorance of the vital support single, young men made to the household economy; tribunal treatment of brothers as economic units, and the role of the military representative. Exchanges between tribunal members and claimants expose tensions between fraternal, familial and national interests. Local newspaper reports show how tribunals became an arena where men’s behaviour was criticised and praised according to specific circumstances. Although the war work of siblings hardly ever influenced the appeal process, multiple losses sustained by individual families swayed local opinion. Fraternal decisions were made with an eye to current needs and future prospects, enabling men to pick up their family business and personal affairs when the war ended. Men often adopted a pragmatic view of conscription, balancing their manly duty to their nation with their responsibilities to their loved ones.
This chapter focuses on the transitional moment of departing for war. Viewing the dynamics of volunteering and enlistment from a sibling’s perspective uncovers the emotional limits that men placed on their patriotic duties. The fear and anxiety observed and expressed by siblings of all ages realigns our understanding of heroic masculinity. Personal narratives affirm the relational nature of anxious feelings, recording concerns for the wellbeing of combatant brothers and other family members. Expressions of fatalism, excitement and familial pride accompanied departures. For men and women of all classes, adventure and militaristic glamour masked the brutal carnage of trench warfare of the First World War, offering an opportunity to escape the dreariness of domestic and work routines. Sisters, wearied by repeatedly seeing their brothers, cousins and friends depart, some never to return, developed superstitions around these partings. Retrospective reflections of this war fever provoked feelings of guilt and shame. Battle-hardened men saw no shame in warning their brothers to keep out of the conflict or to avoid the most dangerous arenas of battle. Many brothers derived comfort from serving alongside each other, an aspect of the make-up of the Pals battalions that is largely overlooked in the historiography.
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 introduction analyses family composition and practices in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, highlighting the importance of sibling ties in terms of longevity and pervasiveness. It complements Leonore Davidoff’s exploration of the cultural meaning of siblinghood through the paradox that military comradeship eclipsed fraternal blood ties. Recasting mundane interactions between siblings as caring or loving acts shows how their performance assists in building affectionate bonds. The presence of a dominant emotional regime in wartime has masked the complex acts of navigation undertaken by men and women balancing familial and societal obligations. Efforts put into discharging these acts were often ‘rewarded’ by the compassionate acceptance of breaches of self-control. The choices made by brothers and sisters when faced with these emotional pressure points, presents a new insight into male grief and restraint of emotions. Drawing on a wide range of source material is crucial when investigating the emotional lives of historical subjects. The great volume of personal narratives written during or after the First World War gives us a generational insight into sibling relations and emotional expression during the twentieth century. The role of memories is revealed in close analysis of the stories individuals told and retold about themselves and their siblings attests to the significance of brotherly bonds.
Erica Charters, Marie Houllemare, and Peter H. Wilson
This co-authored introduction analyses how violence was described, defined,
and measured across the early modern world, eschewing Western categories and
narratives and applying a global approach in their stead. By focusing on
large-scale violence, it highlights the fundamental relationship between
violence and growing interconnectedness across the early modern world. It
endorses the broader view that violence includes both physical actions and
coercive threats of physical action, and that it should be understood as a
transgression that is socially defined. Early modernity is defined as the
period between the mid fifteenth and early nineteenth centuries, while
recognizing that any attempt to delineate epochs faces the difficulty of
imposing a single framework on something as complex as the history of the
world. Global history is used as a methodology to analyse large-scale
violence more precisely by providing detailed case studies of violence in a
range of local contexts, and to articulate the significance of violence in
narratives of state and empire-building, as well as in narratives of decline
and fall. Finally, the volume’s thematic structure is outlined, and
comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the thirteen case studies.
The final chapter looks at the myriad ways in which siblings used material and written forms to memorialise brothers, setting this within a wider deliberation on the impact of death and grief in interwar Britain. Motivated by the need to ensure that the heroic sacrifice of their siblings was not overlooked or forgotten, they memorialised their brothers as individuals, restoring their individual achievements and qualities from the mass of war casualties. By sharing their stories they link the personal and communal memories of the war. Painful emotions crept in as siblings reflected on the loss sustained by themselves, their families and their wider communities. As such they can be regarded as an adjunct to the ‘disillusionment’ stream of memoirs. Guilt, anger, and grief infuse these accounts, at times becoming evident in a lack of composure. In the post-war decades, some siblings drew on the emerging war literature of the period, particularly its poetry and music, to express their loss. With the passing of years, these added poignancy to collective occasions, providing an emotional ‘punctum’ that pierced stoical masks. Rather than finding such open expressions of emotions discomforting, men and women derived comfort and companionship from a generational shared understanding of grief and trauma.
The expansion and significance of violence in early modern
This chapter examines the ways in which cultures and practices of violence in
Africa altered between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries. It
discusses these shifts in the context of both external and internal
dynamics, and argues that while in some areas endogenous state-building
projects led to an increase in levels of violence, the overriding driver of
violence during this period was the global encounter. Trade and – in a
handful of areas – settlement engendered new zones of violent exchange, and
shifts in the understanding and deployment of violence. At the same time,
warfare expanded in scale and impact as the result of global exchange. The
chapter also reflects on the ways in which such violence has been
(mis)remembered in the more recent past, and on distorted interpretations of
precolonial history more broadly.
Raiding war and globalization in the early modern world
Raiding war has often been characterized as ‘primitive war’, but raiding in
the early modern world was highly organized and dynamic. This chapter
examines evidence of raiding warfare in southern France and the
Mediterranean during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
French experiences of raiding violence reveal three dimensions of early
modern raiding warfare: borderlands raiding, economic devastation, and
maritime raiding. Pirates and privateers launched repeated raids along the
French coastlines, while soldiers, militia bands, and bandits engaged in
significant raiding activities in the countryside and woodlands.
Commerce, diplomacy, and brigandage on the steppe routes between the
Ottoman Empire, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia, 1470s–1570s
This chapter examines the large-scale non-state violence on the trade routes
in the buffer zone between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of
Moscow, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crimean Khanate. Though the rulers
constantly declared their will to maintain their diplomatic contacts and
protect the caravan trade between these states, execution of their orders
was entrusted to those who actually committed the violent attacks – the
Cossacks and the local dignitaries. The absence of stable central control
over the means of violence in the buffer zone rendered preventive measures
largely ineffective. The rulers preferred to avoid awkward responsibility by
relinquishing their sovereignty over the steppe routes. The growth of
brigandage on the steppe routes continued because of the patronage of the
local authorities and the support of networks of assistance, which included
alehouse keepers, ransom-brokers, and the merchants who bought the stolen
goods from the freebooters.
The Tokugawa, the Zheng maritime network, and the Dutch East India
Adam Clulow and Xing Hang
In late 1672, news reached Nagasaki that a Ryukyuan tributary vessel had been
captured on its way from that island archipelago to China. Tokugawa
officials had been dealing with violence on the sea lanes criss-crossing
East Asia for years, but there was something different about this episode.
The ship from the Ryukyu kingdom had not been attacked by a European fleet.
Rather it had been seized by vessels attached to the sprawling Zheng
maritime network based in Taiwan. This chapter examines Tokugawa responses
to two maritime operations: the first carried out by a European overseas
enterprise, the Dutch East India Company, the second by its great Asian
rival, the Zheng maritime network. By comparing the very different ways
these played out, the chapter argues that the rise of the Zheng presented a
new and difficult challenge for polities across Asia, even for those like
Tokugawa Japan that had dealt successfully with European maritime