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The Civilianization of War
The Changing Civil–Military Divide, 1914–2014

Part of Human Rights in History

Andrew Barros, Martin Thomas, John Ferris, Julius Ruiz, Jean Lévesque, Christopher Goscha, Raphaëlle Branche, Christian Gerlach, Stacey Hynd, Victor Bissonnette, Alexander Downes, Chris Fuller, Olivier Barsalou, Frédéric Mégret
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  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108429658


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About the Authors
  • Distinguishing between civilians and combatants is a central aspect of modern conflicts. Yet such distinctions are rarely upheld in practice. The Civilianization of War offers new ways of understanding civilians' exposure to violence in war. Each chapter explores a particular approach to the political, legal, or cultural distinctions between civilians and combatants during twentieth-century and contemporary conflicts. The volume as a whole suggests that the distinction between combatants and non-combatants is dynamic and oft-times unpredictable, rather than fixed and reciprocally understood. Contributors offer new insights into why civilian targeting has become a strategy for some, and how in practice its avoidance can be so difficult to achieve. Several discuss distinct population groups that have been particularly exposed to wartime violence, including urban populations facing aerial bombing, child soldiers, captives, and victims of sexual violence. The book thus offers multiple perspectives on the civil–military divide within modern conflicts, an issue whose powerful contemporary resonance is all too apparent.

    • Provides new insights into why levels of civilian exposure to war violence have remained so fluid, and why its avoidance is, in practice, so difficult to achieve
    • Presents valuable case studies and a global perspective on the treatment of civilian populations in war
    • Includes a multi-disciplinary collaboration of international historians, political scientists, and international lawyers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The twentieth century saw greater protections for civilians in war as well as the mass targeting of non-combatants by states and non-state actors alike. This highly readable volume offers a coherent and thought provoking analysis of these two entangled trends.' Joe Maiolo, King's College London

    This collection addresses a subject of vital contemporary pertinence, that of the civilianization of war. Global in scope, multi-disciplinary in approach and theoretically sophisticated, the chapters provide stimulating case studies that together highlight the complex and changing nature of the civil-military divide as well as the tragic vulnerability of civilians.' Talbot Imlay, Université Laval, Quebec

    'Remarkable for both its multi-disciplinary perspective and historical and geographic coverage, this volume brings together an outstanding group of scholars to address an issue of critical significance: the causes and consequences of changes in the boundaries between combatants and civilians in war. A bold contribution to the literature on conflict.' Stathis Kalyvas, University of Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108429658
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the civilianization of war and the unpredictable civil-military divide, 1914–2014 Andrew Barros and Martin Thomas
    Part I. Who Fights? Combatants, Mobilization, and the Changing Nature of War: Sections 1. The 'Total War' Era, 1914–45:
    1. Doing the necessary: the declaration of London and British strategy, 1905–1915 John Ferris
    2. Fighting the fifth column: the terror in republican Madrid during the Spanish Civil War Julius Ruiz
    3. Moscow 1941: the rise and fall of the Soviet People's Militia (Narodnoe Opolchenie) Jean Lévesque
    Section 2. The Cold War and Decolonization, 1945–2000:
    4. The collapsing civil-military divide in wars of decolonization: two case studies from the Indochina War (1945–54) Christopher Goscha
    5. Parallel ambiguities: prisoners during the Algerian War of Independence Raphaëlle Branche
    6. East Pakistan/Bangladesh 1971–72: how many victims, who, and why? Christian Gerlach
    7. 'I wasn't a boy, I was a soldier': militarization and civilianization in narratives of child soldiers in Africa's contemporary conflicts, c. 1990–2010 Stacey Hynd
    Part II. A Moving Target: Strategic Bombing and Civilians, 1916–2014:
    8. The problems of opening Pandora's box: strategic bombing and the civil-military divide, 1916–39 Andrew Barros
    9. Bombing civilians scientifically: operational research in Bomber Command, 1941–45 Victor Bissonnette
    10. Creating a cordon sanitaire: US strategic bombing and civilians in the Korean War Alexander Downes
    11. 'One hell of a killing machine': how a civilian agency became the vanguard of America's War on Terror Chris Fuller
    Part III. Civilian Protection and International Norms and Organizations: When and How Much?:
    12. Turn everyone into a civilian: René Cassin and the UNESCO project, 1919–45 Andrew Barros
    13. Human rights is the continuation of war by other means: the United States and the creation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, 1945–48 Olivier Barsalou
    14. The United Nations, decolonization, and violence against civilians in the French and British Empires Martin Thomas
    15. The 'protection of civilians': peacekeeping's new raison d'être? Frédéric Mégret.

  • Editors

    Andrew Barros, Université du Québec, Montréal
    Andrew Barros is Associate Professor of History at the Université du Québec, Montréal.

    Martin Thomas, University of Exeter
    Martin Thomas is Professor of Imperial History and Director of the Centre for the Study of War, State and Society at the University of Exeter.


    Andrew Barros, Martin Thomas, John Ferris, Julius Ruiz, Jean Lévesque, Christopher Goscha, Raphaëlle Branche, Christian Gerlach, Stacey Hynd, Victor Bissonnette, Alexander Downes, Chris Fuller, Olivier Barsalou, Frédéric Mégret

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