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.
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.