Conscription in the Habsburg Empire to 1815

TitleConscription in the Habsburg Empire to 1815
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBoerke, Arthur Mark, Donald Stoker, Frederick C. Schneid, and Harold D. Blanton
Book TitleConscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?

Military conscription in Europe has been a feature of European society since the Middle Ages, and the enlistment of members of a population, either willing or unwilling, into military service has been carried out in many different ways. Knights forced from their lands to serve their feudal lords, peasants armed to campaign on foreign soil, villagers rounded up at the end of a pike and forced to fight; these are all examples of conscription. So too was the impressment of drunken vagrants along the waterfront to serve the British navy. Militias established to prevent the border incursions of hostile neighbors were conscripts of a form as well. In whatever guise, it remains one of the most resented institutions by those forced to endure it.

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