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"The rise and fall of military honour in Western Europe, 1789-1918"


"The proposed project examines changing concepts of military honour in Western Europe between the end of the ancien régime culture of civility in the mid-eighteenth century and the advent of modern mass warfare in 1914/18. This period, as a is well known, marked an important political, economic, technological, and cultural watershed in European history. The ancillary transformation of normative codes of conduct in war on the other hand shows historiographical lacunae. Whereas a substantive corpus of literature has been written on the operationalisation of honour within nation-states, we know less about its transnational articulation from a longue durée perspective. The practice of parole d’honneur, which granted captured officers freedom of movement within or en route to their place of confinement in exchange for the promise not to escape, is a case in point. For long both sides imposed heavy social sanctions on non-conformists, but in the Napoleonic Wars and even more so the First World War there occurred partial breakdown of these practices, despite their codification in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. To address the complex reasons for the reconfiguration of military honour, my projects will develop an interdisciplinary analytical framework which draws on methodologies from history, sociology, and international relations."

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Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Stig Förster (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 170 401,60