War and Imperial Expansion

TitleWar and Imperial Expansion
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsVandervort, Bruce
EditorChickering, Roger, Dennis Showalter, and Hans van de Ven
Book TitleThe Cambridge History of War
Volume4: War and the Modern World
PublisherCambridge University Press

The purpose of this chapter is not to rehearse the history of the European and European-American colonial wars in the nineteenth century. Just giving the highlights of Britain’s more than four hundred battles in some sixty colonial campaigns from 1837 to 1901 would fill a large volume. The aim of what follows is, rather, to explore the dynamics of colonial warfare in relationship to two grand, related themes in western military history during the long nineteenth century. These are the “second military revolution,” a martial corollary of the still unfolding Industrial Revolution, and the related “totalization” of war, as whole populations were mobilized for conflict and became willing to accept that people in enemy lands, along with their economies and societies, had become legitimate targets of destruction. [Publisher]

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