War of Morality

The Morality of War – Second Edition
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Burke, Edmund Contacting: Linnea Kralik Enter your message below. The future implications for a nation that employs either may reveal themselves in unexpected ways. Abstract and Keywords Three major moral positions recur, resting on far-reaching disagreements over the consequences of renouncing war. Abstract What is judged as morally right and wrong in war?

Read More. Subscriber sign in. Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within References Notes. Abstract and Keywords Three major moral positions recur, resting on far-reaching disagreements over the consequences of renouncing war. The wartime recourse to prostitutes by soldiers was assuredly not new in the First World War.

In a war where so many married men were mobilized and where cultural mobilization of society often stressed the purity of the national cause, however, the widespread toleration of prostitution in the vicinity of the fighting front, but also in zones behind the front lines and near home-front depots, was bound to heighten fears of national debasement. Some military establishments were less torn on this issue and more permissive than others, even if all in the end were obliged to show some pragmatism. Women who were not prostitutes per se but who were desperate for cash, food, or companionship might also have sex with soldiers in regions where they were stationed.

Zones of occupation , such as Brussels, were home to large-scale prostitution, yielding heartrending instances of young women and girls being exploited. The challenges of prostitution and of venereal disease VD entwined home front and war fronts across the porous borders between them; soldiers on leave might make for cities like Paris, or, in the case of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean theatres, Cairo or Alexandria, in a manner that aided the transfer of norms as well as the spread of disease.

The so-called Wassa riot in the red-light district of Cairo on Good Friday occurred when ANZAC soldiers on leave ransacked the area in anger at bad liquor and diseased prostitutes. Embarrassing for military authorities and shocking for respectable opinion at home, the incident resulted, tellingly, in few punishments for men but rather in stricter controls on brothels. Overall, men risked punishment not so much for using prostitutes but for doing so irresponsibly. Failure to undergo the recommended treatment at official prophylactic stations after the fact left a soldier open to court-martial.

Women in Britain who had VD were liable to prosecution under the Defence of the Realm Act and other regulations for having sex with a soldier.


The families of British soldiers who contracted VD were made to suffer by means of the cutting of family allowances for the duration of his hospitalization. This immiseration of the innocent increased the penalty for unregulated sexual activity by soldiers to include public shame of the family.

Men were punished usually only when sating their sexual desire threatened military cohesion by means of disease. Aside from sexual morality, wider issues arose in wartime societies about self-control and the moral value of temperance and the consumption of alcohol, food and leisure. At first, in August , societies seemed to have purged themselves of what seemed like frivolous or sordid pleasures.

War & Human Nature: Crash Course World History 204

Most people refrained from acts of conspicuous consumption and in Berlin a ban on dancing and variety shows operated. However, in the German case, from on, youths with wages that were high relative to others were in a position to consume leisure again and craved the chance to do so. In reaction the military commanders in specific areas of Germany took measures to curb commercial leisure for such youths, measures which enjoyed broad support from the adult population, except from those commercial interests directly affected.

Beginning in Kassel in October , local military commanders invoked the Prussian State of Siege to ban youths from pubs and cinemas. Munich and Hamburg followed suit with bans on youths smoking. Predictably, these efforts had mixed results and some bans were reversed. The question of alcohol was a highly controversial one in various societies before the First World War and had been the reason behind a range of social reform movements under the banners of temperance or teetotalism. In wartime, the abuse of alcohol was deemed not only selfish but unpatriotic.

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Drink was not alone a waste of money, reformers declared, but it also had a negative effect on workplace productivity and led to accidents. The forces of teetotalism were generally strongest in Anglophone combatant nations, Britain, her Dominions and the United States , likely due to a combination of ideas of liberal reform and broadly Protestant cultures. In Anglophone Canada too, soldiers in training were being observed and judged by the wider public for their drink culture.

Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution shortly after American entry into the war in , swayed in part by arguments that while Americans sacrificed their bodies overseas all Americans should sacrifice drink.

Ratified by the requisite thirty-six states by January , it came into effect a year later. Influenced in part by his Welsh Nonconformist Protestant background, David Lloyd George — who served successively as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Minister of Munitions, and from December as Prime Minister in wartime cabinets — was the political leader most prominently associated with the public policy drive for temperance in wartime. The announcement that King George V would not drink nor serve drink at his palaces for the rest of the war helped make abstinence normative, not least when Anglican, Nonconformist, and Catholic religious leaders followed suit and encouraged the populace to do likewise.

Women ran voluntary canteens offering men on leave wholesome fare and an alternative to the pub. In Ireland, still part of the United Kingdom in , pre-existing confessional temperance movements amongst both Ulster Protestants and Irish Catholics encouraged abstinence as both a moral and patriotic duty. The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart, founded in Dublin in , by Jesuit priest Fr James Cullen enrolled Catholics who pledged not to drink and to make reparation for the sins occasioned by excessive drinking.

Famously physically brave and devoted to men in distress on the battlefield, Doyle died at the Fourth Battle of Ypres on 16 August , his body never being recovered: for his posthumous admirers, his belief in temperance was at one with his self-sacrifice on the battlefield. Irish republicans could equally invoke abstinence as part of a nationalist identity. Thomas Kent , executed in Cork on 9 May for his part in the rebellion, took care to commit his temperance badge to the safekeeping of the army barracks chaplain as he faced the firing squad.

The War on Morality

I have done my duty as a soldier of Ireland and in a few moments I hope to see the face of my God. Irishwomen too could be called to moral action. The prospect of female suffrage , finally realised in restricted form in the Britain and Ireland in , sharpened this appeal. Overall, the war increased the regulation of alcohol across the world, normally for reasons of military efficiency. Wartime alcohol control mostly occurred at the national level: an exception to this was a paternalistic regional system operated by European powers to restrict access to alcohol in the African colonies.

Men found reason to fault the relatively novel sight of women smoking in public, a taboo that took time to disappear.

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Transnational supervision of international narcotics agreements under the new League of Nations resulted as specifically provided for in Article of the Treaty of Versailles. The demands of modern industrial warfare involved a novel degree of cultural mobilization for war amongst combatant nations.

Peasants and middle-class observers often expressed resentment at skilled workers brought home from the front or exempted from going there , in order to carry out work in vital war industries, under military discipline, at home. The norms and values of wartime societies both reflected, and helped shape, the hostility displayed towards those who profited excessively from war and those individuals and groups who seemed to shirk their responsibilities more generally.

The image of the wartime profiteer in particular never failed the raise the ire of soldiers and civilians alike. Gregory argues that whilst there were indeed profiteers, wartime inflation accounted for some of the perception of being swindled in the shops. Perceived sharp practice, be it in local shops or on the part of rack-renting landlords, was not just villainous but also unpatriotic, especially when its victims were the families of servicemen. The figure of the profiteer could be either a stereotypical big industrialist — such as an arms manufacturer — or a local businessperson.

Denunciation became a more acceptable mode of behaviour. Wartime patriotism also provided an opportunity to indulge resentments and settle scores in a manner that would have been less seemly in peacetime. In response to such waves of public anger, which threatened to undermine the politically useful wartime values of equity and solidarity, Britain, Germany and France all introduced special windfall taxes on businesses in which were levied when the tax authorities could substantiate claims of unwarranted profit margins.

Stigmatization affected such resorts in general as conspicuous consumption was at total variance with wartime norms and values. The spa town of Vichy in central France, for instance, continued to attract a moneyed clientele in wartime, including wealthy foreigners, while also being one of the largest hospital centres in France for recuperating soldiers. Some of these changes persisted after the war in realm of personal and corporate taxation.