Hew Strachan

in How Fighting Ends

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693627
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741258 | DOI:

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The French Revolution's stress on the rights of individuals extended to an acknowledgement of the rights of captured soldiers. But as the state claimed to represent the popular will, it became possible to see individual soldiers as more, not less, responsible for continued resistance. So guarantees of rights in international law were the necessary concomitant of the advent of ‘total’ war, particularly in ideological clashes where restraint might be forfeit. Preventing individual decisions to yield from converting into a mass phenomenon and in turn prompting the state to surrender was — in the first instance — the responsibility of the command chain. Thus the pattern of mass surrender, and whether it triggered a national collapse, goes to the heart of the relationship between the individual and the modern state.

Keywords: laws of war; lieber code; command; French Revolution; First World War; Second World War; Stalingrad; terrorism; command

Chapter.  8422 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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