'German militarism' has long been understood to be a central element of German society. Considering the role of militarism, this book investigates how conscription has contributed to instilling a strong sense of military commitment amongst the German public. A Nation in Barracks tells the story of how military-civil relations have evolved in Germany during the last two hundred years. Focusing on the introduction and development of military conscription, the author looks at its relationship to state citizenship, nation building, gender formation and the concept of violence. She begins with the early nineteenth century, when conscription was first used in Prussia and initially met with harsh criticism from all aspects of society, and continues through to the two Germanies of the post-1949 period. The book covers the Prussian model used during World War I, the Weimar Republic when no conscription was enforced and the mass military mobilization of the Third Reich. Throughout this comprehensive account, acclaimed historian Ute Frevert examines how civil society deals with institutionalized violence and how this affects models of citizenship and gender relations.
'Ute Frevert's characteristically sweeping and incisive history of military conscription in Germany makes an original and stimulating contribution to our understanding of the problem of militarism in German society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this book Ute Frevert confirms her reputation as one of the most original and wide-ranging historians writing on the last two centuries of Germany's troubled past.' Professor Richard J. Evans, Professor of Modern History, Cambridge University 'A gripping account of the meaning and impact of conscription in Germany from the nineteenth century to the present. By challenging the view that conscription helped forge a relationship between the state and its citizens, A Nation in Barracks will become required reading for anyone interested in the relationship between violence, gender, and civil society.' Joanna Bourke, Professor of History, Birkbeck College, London, and author of An Intimate History of Killing: Face to Face Killing in Twentieth-Century History 'This lucid, intelligent book fills a big gap. It ranges widely and uses rich, often unfamiliar source material superbly. From gender to nation-building, Ute Frevert illuminates every subject she touches. A major work by a major historian, A Nation in Barracks is rigorous, imaginative and original.' David Blackbourn, Harvard University 'In this superb book, Ute Frevert takes the important subject of military conscription to cast new light upon the relationship between the individual, society and the state in modern Germany. Richly illustrated from the archival record, A Nation in Barracks demonstrates the work of Germany's leading historian of gender at the top of her form.' Deborah Cohen, Brown University 'Frevert offers a dense and detailed description of the social functions and consequences of conscription in the "long nineteenth century" in the German societies - first in Prussia and the Southern German States, then in the German Empire. Even well-informed readers will find many new and surprising aspects of the interdependence of military life and civilian life in peacetime Germany.' Journal of Modern History, Vol. 80, No. 1, March 2008