井底之蛙

1/15/2008

Germans and China

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:55 am

I have been reading Isabel Hull’s Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of Total War in Imperial Germany Cornell, 20051 I was mainly interested in the book for its treatment of the Boxer Expedition, but the book in general is about the evolution of ideas about war in German military culture. She sees the colonial wars in China, Southwest Africa and East Africa as being very important in the development of German concepts of war and above all treatment of civilians.

I found this interesting not only because there is stuff about the Boxers. Everyone knows that German military advisers were very important in China and that Chinese military culture was heavily influenced by Germany. Everyone also knows that Chinese troops, especially warlord troops, were notoriously brutal towards non-combatants and generally inept at dealing with the civilian population. I would have attributed the bad behavior of warlord troops to their poor training, inadequate supplies and lack of modern military professionalism. After reading Hull I think that much of the military professionalism that China would have been importing would not have done much to remedy these problems

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  1. One of the great things about the modern, internet, age is that when you find an interesting book you look it up on Amazon to see if they have a table of contents. They often have a used copy, in this case for 8 bucks. []

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