Revisiting Prussia's Wars Against Napoleon

Revisiting Prussia's Wars Against Napoleon : History, Culture, and Memory

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In 2013, Germany celebrated the bicentennial of the so-called Wars of Liberation (1813-15). These wars were the culmination of the Prussian struggle against Napoleon between 1806 and 1815, which occupied a key position in German national historiography and memory. Although these conflicts have been analyzed in thousands of books and articles, much of the focus has been on the military campaigns and alliances. Karen Hagemann argues that we cannot achieve a comprehensive understanding of these wars and their importance in collective memory without recognizing how the interaction of politics, culture, and gender influenced these historical events and continue to shape later recollections of them. She thus explores the highly contested discourses and symbolic practices by which individuals and groups interpreted these wars and made political claims, beginning with the period itself and ending with the centenary in 1913.show more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3 b/w illus. 4 maps
  • 1139030868
  • 9781139030861

Review quote

'As one of the leading historians of gender and war, Karen Hagemann writes a masterful account of the Germanic wars against Napoleon in the era 1806-1815 and their place in subsequent collective memories. Weaving archival evidence on daily life experiences with interpretive sophistication of cultural artifacts, she assesses the place of the Napoleonic wars in the construction of Prussian-German nationalism and gendered citizenship. [This book] ... will enthrall all readers interested in the play of history and memory in one of Europe's most consequential nation-states.' Jean H. Quataert, Binghamton University 'Karen Hagemann has written a pathbreaking book that reveals, in lusciously rich detail, how the Germans of the 'long nineteenth century' understood and interpreted Prussia's wars against Napoleon. Applying methods drawn from military history, memory studies, gender studies, art history, and much else, this is interdisciplinary scholarship at its best.' David A. Bell, Princeton University "War is the mere continuation of politics ...', Clausewitz asserted, distilling the experience of the Napoleonic Wars. He passed over the fact that in Prussia, as in all of the German lands, politics was a battlefield of contending interests, norms, and values as well as of competing political projects. This latter conflict over competing war cultures and war is the subject of the present book. The divisiveness of war cultures arose amid a novel configuration of war, in which the full force of public opinion underwrote the efforts to mobilize a people only to be confronted with fatal choices. Was the war against Napoleon to be a 'War of Liberty' or a 'War of Liberation'? Karen Hagemann concludes that it was waged by contemporaries for the liberty of the German nation, but won by historians and novelists for Prussia's liberation. Of course, it was a mere paper victory, but the price was paid in blood.' Michael Geyer, University of Chicagoshow more

Table of contents

Prelude: war, culture and memory; Introduction: revisiting the wars against Napoleon; Part I. A History of Defeat, Crisis and Victory: 1. The defeat of 1806 and its aftermath; 2. Reform and revenge: political responses; 3. Liberation and restoration: the wars of 1813-15 and their legacy; Conclusion; Part II. Discourses on the Nation, War and Gender: 4. Mobilizing public opinion: propaganda, media and war; 5. Defining the nation: belonging and exclusion; 6. Debating war: the military, warfare and masculinity; 7. Regulating participation: patriotism, citizenship and gender; Conclusion; Part III. Collective Practices of De/mobilization and Commemoration: 8. Military service: mobilizing militiamen and volunteers; 9. War charity: patriotic women's associations; 10. De/mobilizing society: patriotic-national celebrations and rituals; 11. Honoring and commemorating war heroes: the cult of death for the fatherland; Conclusion; Part IV. Literary Market, History and War Memories: 12. Politics, market and media: the development of a culture-consuming national public; 13. Inventing history: nostalgia, historiography and memory; 14. Remembering the past: the Napoleonic wars in autobiographies and war memoirs; Conclusion; Part V. Novels, Memory and Politics: 15. Re-creating the past: the time of the anti-Napoleonic wars in novels; 16. Hopefulness and disappointment: novels of the Restoration era and the Vormarz; 17. Critique, desire and glory: novels of the Nachmarz and the German Empire; Conclusion; Epilogue: Historicizing war and memory, 2013-1813-1913.show more

About Karen Hagemann

Karen Hagemann is the James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has published widely in Modern German and European history, gender history and the history of military and war (19th-20th centuries) combining approaches from social, political and cultural history. Her books include: Frauenalltag und Mannerpolitik. Alltagsleben und gesellschaftliches Handeln von Arbeiterfrauen in der Weimarer Republik (1990); 'Mannlicher Mut und Teutsche Ehre'. Nation, Militar und Geschlecht zur Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Kriege Preussens (2002); Home/Front: The Military, War and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany (edited with S. Schuler-Springorum, 2002); Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History (edited with S. Dudink and J. Tosh, 2004); Gendering Modern German History: Rewriting Historiography (edited with J. Quataert, 2007); Representing Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture (edited with S. Dudink and A. Clark, 2007); Gender, War, and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830 (edited with G. Mettele and J. Rendall, 2010); and War Memories: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Modern European Culture (edited with A. Forrest and E. Francois, 2012).show more

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