The German military and excessive violence during the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71)
The project intends to analyse the scale, significance and impact of francs-tireurs warfare within the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. It will explore the military history of this ‘small war’ or ‘war from below’ in order to provide answers to questions regarding the brutalisation of warfare, transgressive practices of ‘illegitimate’ (counter-)violence and, ultimately, the existence of a specific Prussian-German military culture of violence. Such instances of excessive violence in 1870/71 have to be studied both in their situational and dispositional dimensions, for example by conceptualising soldiers’ emotional constellations as shaped by combat experiences as well as preconfigured in a national state/civil society setting. To this end, individual case studies are identified and examined by drawing on a rich basis of source material (diaries, wartime letters, press reports and official files) gathered in German and French archives.