TOC – War in History, Vol. 18, No. 4

Here is the latest Table of Contents from War in History. It is good to see a couple of articles from Lecturers at the University of Birmingham in here. Some interesting articles as usual.

Hamish Scott, ‘The Seven Years War and Europe’s Ancien Régime’

Recent decades have seen a welcome revival of scholarly interest in the Seven Years War (1756—63). This has not been accompanied, however, by sufficient appreciation of the burdens imposed by the fighting and the enormous impact of these upon the states which were at war. Drawing upon the abundant recent scholarship, this article argues that the adoption of an international and comparative perspective, together with an extension of the time frame within which consequences are assessed, makes clear that the Seven Years War was decisive for the European ancien régime. It drove governments to adopt new policies and to introduce fundamental reforms, and in some states stimulated opposition to established political authority.

Robert Watt, ‘Victorio’s Military and Political Leadership of the Warm Springs Apaches’

Victorio is widely acknowledged as being one of the best guerrilla leaders of the Apache Wars during the 1870s and 1880s. Yet previous accounts of Victorio make little or no effort to demonstrate why he was such an effective leader. This article combines a knowledge of Apache warfare techniques and primary sources to argue that not only did Victorio demonstrate a mastery of these principles of guerrilla warfare; he also displayed an ability to introduce new techniques to further confound his opponents. As a result Victorio, with a small number of warriors, was able to defeat the efforts of US and Mexican armed forces to destroy him for almost a year before being trapped and killed at Tres Castillos, Mexico, by Chihuahua state troops. The article will also show that Victorio’s military skills were augmented by a keen awareness of the political weaknesses of his enemies. This analysis of Victorio’s military and political skills concludes that his popular reputation as a great Apache leader is richly deserved and should be acknowledged.

Spencer Jones, ‘Scouting for Soldiers: Reconnaissance and the British Cavalry, 1899—1914’

Although reconnaissance was considered the primary duty of cavalry, British cavalry were poorly trained in this role prior to the Anglo-Boer War (1899—1902). The dismal performance of scouting duties in this conflict prompted a complete overhaul of reconnaissance organization, while innovative training methods were introduced to improve scouting and horse-mastership. Although the process was not without difficulties, the results were positive and proved extremely valuable in 1914. It is the purpose of this article to add to the ongoing debate on British cavalry in the period 1899—1914 by demonstrating how the vital skills of reconnaissance were developed as a result of the Anglo-Boer War experience.

Simon Constantine, ‘War of Words: Bridging the Language Divide in the Great War’

This article explores the different ways in which soldiers in the First World War communicated with the enemy. Drawing, in particular, on accounts of capture and captivity recorded in interview with escaped and exchanged British prisoners of war, it argues that language was central to these experiences, and that a soldier’s ability to understand, and make himself understood, was often pivotal to the question of whether he survived or perished.

Martin Kragh, ‘Soviet Labour Law during the Second World War’

By studying Soviet legal practices, we learn about the enforcement of coercive legislation in the USSR. New archival data show how Soviet organs attempted to control labour in industry during the Second World War. State organs interacted in order to enforce legislation, but enforcement in practice was weak. Soviet leaders simplified administrative procedures for enforcement as long as the war threat persisted. So enforcement of coercive labour law was a priority during the war, but actual penalization was inefficient owing to various constraints.

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