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Palgrave Macmillan

Heroism and the Changing Character of War

Toward Post-Heroic Warfare?

ISBN 9781137362520
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Post-heroism is often perceived as one of the main aspects of change in the character of war. Large parts of the contemporary strategic discourse rest on the assumption that war today is no longer fuelled by heroic motivations, and does not produce any popular public heroes, particularly in western democracies. Willingness to kill or die for the cause of one's socio-political community appears to be either a phenomenon of an historical stage that western states have long left behind, or an indicator of nationalistic or religious fanaticism. This is what has been described as the 'post-heroic condition' of western societies. According to this view, demographic and cultural changes in the west have severely decreased the tolerance for casualties in war. This edited volume provides a critical examination of this idea.

Sibylle Scheipers is a lecturer in international relations at the University of St Andrews, UK, and a Senior Research Associate at the Changing Character of War programme at the University of Oxford.

Introduction: Toward Post-Heroic Warfare?; Sibylle Scheipers
1. Heroism and the Nation during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the Age of Military Reform in Europe; Thomas Hippler
2. 'On the Altar of the Nation': Narratives of Heroic Sacrifice in the American Civil War; Adam Smith
3. 'Heroic' Warfare and the Problem of Mass Armies, France 1871-1914; Hew Strachan
4. Heroism and Self-Sacrifice for the Nation? Wars of National Liberation; Rob Johnson
5. War against Evil: The Second World War; Peter Schrijvers
6. Mass Armies and the Cold War: Institutional Post-Heroism?; Ingo Trauschweizer
7. Heroism and Self-Sacrifice: The Vietnam War as a Case in Point; Bernd Greiner
8. The Dilemma of Cosmopolitan Soldiering; Cheyney Ryan
9. Provocations on Policymakers, Casualty Aversion, and Post-Heroic Warfare; Peter D. Feaver and Charles Miller
10. 'Casualty Aversion': Media, Society, and Public Opinion; Susan Carruthers
11. Questioning the Post-Heroic Warfare Logic: Private Contractors, Casualty Sensitivity and Public Support for War in the United States; Deborah Avant
12. Redefining Standoff Warfare: Modern Efforts and Implications; Antulio J. Echevarria II
13. Cohesion: Heroic and Post-Heroic Combat; Anthony King
14. Inspirational, Aspirational, and Operational Heroes: Recruitment, Terror, and Heroic Conflict from the Perspective of Armed Groups; Andrea Dew
15. Suicide Bombers: Victims, Heroes or Martyrs?; Rashmi Singh
16. The War Within: Moral Injury and Guilt; Nancy Sherman
17. The Democratic Warrior and the Emergence of World Order Conflicts; Andreas Herberg-Rothe
18. Citizenship, Masculinity and Mental Health in the First World War; Peter Barham
19. Why Soldiers Don't Fight; Simon Wessely
20. Remembering the Heroes of Australia's Wars: From Heroic to Post-Heroic Memory; Joan Beaumont
21. Public Ritual and Remembrance: Beyond the Nation State?; John Hutchinson

Deborah Avant, University of Denver, USA
Peter Barham, Oxford University, UK
Joan Beaumont, Australian National University
Susan Carruthers, Rutgers University, USA
Andrea Dew, US Naval War College
Antulio J. Echevarria, US Army War College
Peter D. Feaver, Duke University, USA
Bernd Greiner, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, Germany
Andreas Herberg-Rothe, University of Applied Sciences in Fulda, Germany
Thomas Hippler, Oxford University, USA
John Hutchinson, London School of Economics, UK
Rob Johnson, Oxford University, UK
Anthony King, Exeter University, UK
Cheyney Ryan, University of Oregon, USA
Peter Schrijvers, University of New South Wales, Australia
Nancy Sherman, Georgetown University, USA
Rashmi Singh, University of St Andrews, UK
Adam Smith, University College London, UK
Sir Hew Strachan, All Souls College, Oxford, UK
Ingo Trauschweizer, Ohio University, USA
Sir Simon Wessely, King's College London, UK


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