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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

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The Siege of Strasbourg

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The Siege of Strasbourg Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When war broke out between France and Prussia in the summer of 1870, one of the first targets of the invading German armies was Strasbourg. From August 15 to September 27, Prussian forces bombarded this border city, killing hundreds of citizens, wounding thousands more, and destroying many historic buildings and landmarks. For six terror-filled weeks, "the city at the crossroads" became the epicenter of a new kind of warfare whose indiscriminate violence shocked contemporaries and led to debates over the wartime protection of civilians.

The Siege of Strasbourg recovers the forgotten history of this crisis and the experiences of civilians who survived it. Rachel Chrastil shows that many of the defining features of "total war," usually thought to be a twentieth-century phenomenon, characterized the siege. Deploying a modern tactic that traumatized city-dwellers, the Germans purposefully shelled nonmilitary targets. But an unintended consequence was that outsiders were prompted to act. Intervention by the Swiss on behalf of Strasbourg's beleaguered citizens was a transformative moment: the first example of wartime international humanitarian aid intended for civilians.

Weaving firsthand accounts of suffering and resilience through her narrative, Chrastil examines the myriad ethical questions surrounding what is "legal" in war and what rights civilians trapped in a war zone possess. The implications of the siege of Strasbourg far exceed their local context, to inform the dilemmas that haunt our own age--in which collateral damage and humanitarian intervention have become a crucial part of our strategic vocabulary.

Synopsis:

For six terror-filled weeks in 1870 German armies bombarded Strasbourg, killing hundreds of citizens, wounding thousands, and destroying landmarks. Rachel Chrastil tells how the city became the epicenter of a new kind of warfare whose indiscriminate violence shocked contemporaries and led to debates over the wartime protection of civilians.

About the Author

Rachel Chrastil is Associate Professor of History at Xavier University.

Xavier University

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674728868
Author:
Chrastil, Rachel
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
France
Subject:
History, Modern -- 19th century.
Subject:
HISTORY / Military / Other
Subject:
HISTORY / Social History
Subject:
European History
Subject:
Military history
Subject:
World History-France
Publication Date:
20140408
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
14 halftones, 3 maps
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

The Siege of Strasbourg New Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674728868 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , For six terror-filled weeks in 1870 German armies bombarded Strasbourg, killing hundreds of citizens, wounding thousands, and destroying landmarks. Rachel Chrastil tells how the city became the epicenter of a new kind of warfare whose indiscriminate violence shocked contemporaries and led to debates over the wartime protection of civilians.
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