Mobilizing nature

The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France

Author: Chris Pearson

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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