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Book review: Enlightened War: German Theories and Cultures of Warfare from Frederick the Great to Clausewitz,… Frackman, Kyle 2012

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  Krimmer, Elisabeth, and Patricia Anne Simpson, eds. Enlightened War: German Theories and Cultures of Warfare from Frederick the Great to Clausewitz. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2011. xii, 348 pp. ISBN: 978-1-57113-495-0 hardcover, $85.00.  In this handsome anthology, Elisabeth Krimmer and Patricia Anne Simpson have assembled a fascinating array of essays on Enlightenment philosophies and realities of war in the long eighteenth century. With this book, the editors aim to problematize and present for further consideration the paradoxical relationship between fundamental Enlightenment concepts (e.g., ?universal human rights, equality, and reason?) and ?the brutality of armed conflict? (16). War was a failure of diplomacy and efforts toward peace, but also a constitutive moment in national and individual consciousness (11). In the eyes of certain prominent eighteenth-century thinkers (like Frederick II ?the Great?), the former is regrettable; the latter is not.   In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, warfare developed from being based primarily on smaller feudal units, like ruling houses and orders, to depending upon the structure and eventual identificatory fervor of the ?nation.? The state?s bureaucratic apparatus made large-scale warfare?and sizable casualties?possible, if not acceptable, as it did in 1813 when Prussia began military conscription and in the Napoleonic wars, which can be considered the first instance of total warfare (3-4). Krimmer and Simpson argue that these military events, which co-existed with Enlightenment thought, are actually instrumental to the emergence of that thought. The era of exalted rationality is also the period of the Seven Years War, the Polish Revolution, and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (2). Indeed, the editors want to show how contemporary philosophy and literature were responsive to the daily happenings of war and vice versa, an area that has been neglected by scholarship on this period. Further, chapters in the volume contribute to a deeper understanding of the interwoven relationships between gender, nationality, militarism, and conflict.   The collection is divided into four parts and presents twelve essays in addition to the editors? introduction. The first two parts present ideas of war in contexts of the cultural movements of Enlightenment, Classicism, and Romanticism. Comparing writings of Frederick II and those of Johann Valentin Embser (1749-83), Sara Eigen Figal?s chapter examines historical-cultural notions of the Feind, Nachbar, and Frater in order to explore connections between ideas of perpetual peace and perpetual war. Johannes Birgfeld?s contribution examines Daniel Jenisch?s mostly-unknown Seven Years War epic, Borussias (1794), which delivers a kind of critique of war and contemporary politics. In his essay, Felix Saure focuses on Wilhelm von Humboldt and how his worldview balanced his interpretations of the needs of the state versus those of the individual. Galili Shahar finds subversive or inverted connections between ideas of war in Heinrich von Kleist and Kant. Elisabeth Krimmer, one of the editors, offers a chapter on Goethe?s Faust II, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Carl von Clausewitz in which she argues that, unlike some of his contemporaries, Goethe found warfare to be a base enterprise that exhibits some of humankind?s worst qualities. The collection?s other editor, Patricia Anne Simpson, presents a chapter on three of the Grimms? fairy tales, arguing that these tales show the literature?s embedded quality in historical context and an ability to retool gender identity.   Each of the last two parts contains essays clustered around a theme paired with war: gender and theory, respectively. Inge Stephan writes about Therese Huber?s unusual novel Die Familie   Seldorf (1795-96), which showcases gender and women?s experiences in relation to this period?s warfare. In an essay on visual art, Waltraud Maierhofer examines the ways in which noted artist Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) chose to depict war, which was thematic material reserved almost exclusively for male painters. In her chapter, Ute Frevert examines the historical development of conscription from the early nineteenth century onward, showing the dynamically symbiotic quality of military service, civic duty, and gender identity. Beginning the book?s concluding section on war and theory, David Colclasure analyzes Kant?s ?Zum ewigen Frieden,? specifically its treatment of national sovereignty, and the prohibition of or allowance for military action for humanitarian reasons. Arndt Niebisch?s essay argues that the famed theoretician of war Clausewitz was a product of his time: the fold between Enlightenment and Romanticism, the shift from rationality to an appreciation of unpredictability. Remaining with Clausewitz in the book?s final chapter, Wolf Kittler illuminates the continued relevance of the Prussian general?s ideas, which have populated strategies in, for example, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and the United States Army and Marine Corps field manual itself.   Throughout the book, most German original quotations appear with their English translations, making the volume more widely accessible. The volume ends with a substantial bibliography, information about the volume?s contributors, and an index organized by proper name. This collection of well-written essays should be consulted by scholars of warfare and the long eighteenth century and will be valuable for research and teaching alike.   Kyle Frackman, University of British Columbia - Vancouver 


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