To operate efficiently, armed forces require physical separation from civilian society, achieved usually through the employment of mercenaries, conscription and the provision of discrete military accommodation. War became more "popular" during the religious conflicts between 1520 and 1648 diluting civil-military distinctions but the advent of regular, uniformed, professional armies in the second half of the 17th century re-established clearer segregation. The adoption of compulsory, male, military service during the 19th and 20th centuries again brought the military and the civil into closer contact. Since 1991 small, professional, more cost-effective forces have gradually replaced mass conscript armies thus re-sharpening the civil-military divide.
Chloroform, telegraphy, steamships and precision rifles were among the "modern" features of the Crimean War (1853–1856). As the war was observed by numerous press reporters, illustrators and photographers, who sent their text and image reportage to the public back home, it can also be considered the first media war in history. Modern communications technologies enabled events to be reported on almost simultaneously. Reporting was therefore no longer a recording of completed processes after the event, but played an active role in shaping events. To satisfy illustrators and correspondents, both the military and civilian events of the war were carefully stage-managed by those in charge, which made the Crimean War aesthetically attractive, if not spectacular. Traditional historiography with its focus on written sources has thus far ignored this.
During the course of the First World War, the armed forces involved increasingly attempted to construct individual incidents of the war as media events in an effort to use them to influence the course of the war overall. This gave rise to narratives that were, to a degree, in competition with each other, although they were based on the same occurrences. This phenomenon is illustrated below via the example of the Battle of Jutland, a naval battle of the conflict. The First World War, it is argued, was not a single media event, but was constructed in the form of multiple media events – even though propaganda experts on the Allied side and German right-wing nationalist circles on the other side retrospectively attempted to re-construct the conflict as a whole as having been shaped by the media, and thus as 'one' media event.
The article traces the evolution of the treatment of prisoners of war and the emergence of the modern, legally codified prisoners regime. It argues that the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were a turning point in the history of prisoners of war. With the nationalization of war long-established practices such as the release of prisoners on parole, the exchange of prisoners and the pressing of prisoners into the captor’s armed forces were no longer politically feasible. The creation of the legally codified prisoners regime that started in the nineteenth century was a reaction to this breakdown of the traditional rules and customs.
The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars represented continuity in European diplomacy from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, but witnessed considerable change in the way that war was waged. The influence of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France depended on the nature of its relationship with the other European states. Satellite states were transformed considerably, whereas allied and client states experienced only a degree of ideological and practical transformation. French territorial objectives from 1792 to 1807 followed a relatively traditional pattern, seeking either direct or indirect influence in central Europe and the Italian states. The eventual response to Napoleonic hegemony was the understanding that cooperative efforts outweighed individual interests in order to bring the wars to a conclusion. The result was victory over Napoleon and the creation of a new diplomatic system that incorporated individual interest into a balance-of-power system.
The article evaluates the degree to which the Second World War was responsible for the development of Europe since 1945. It seeks to disentangle effects that were clearly directly due to the war from those which can be seen as the result of changes already affecting pre-war Europe, and those due to post-war developments, such as the Cold War and the European Union. It examines the relationship between long term social, economic and cultural developments and the impact of the war and political turning points.