Jews and the Military: A History [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jews and the Military is the first comprehensive and comparative look at Jews' involvement in the military and their attitudes toward war from the 1600s until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Derek Penslar shows that although Jews have often been described as people who shun the army, in fact they have frequently been willing, even eager, to do military service, and only a minuscule minority have been pacifists. Penslar demonstrates that Israel's military ethos did not emerge from a vacuum and that ...

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Jews and the Military: A History

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Overview

Jews and the Military is the first comprehensive and comparative look at Jews' involvement in the military and their attitudes toward war from the 1600s until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Derek Penslar shows that although Jews have often been described as people who shun the army, in fact they have frequently been willing, even eager, to do military service, and only a minuscule minority have been pacifists. Penslar demonstrates that Israel's military ethos did not emerge from a vacuum and that long before the state's establishment, Jews had a vested interest in military affairs.

Spanning Europe, North America, and the Middle East, Penslar discusses the myths and realities of Jewish draft dodging, how Jews reacted to facing their coreligionists in battle, the careers of Jewish officers and their reception in the Jewish community, the effects of World War I on Jewish veterans, and Jewish participation in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Penslar culminates with a study of Israel's War of Independence as a Jewish world war, which drew on the military expertise and financial support of a mobilized, global Jewish community. He considers how military service was a central issue in debates about Jewish emancipation and a primary indicator of the position of Jews in any given society.

Deconstructing old stereotypes, Jews and the Military radically transforms our understanding of Jews' historic relationship to war and military power.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Anna Altman
Penslar offers a deep perspective on what appears to be a dry question, but he enlivens his study with literary references and a wide-ranging history that offers revelations on nationalism, empire and identity.
From the Publisher

Shortlisted for the 2014 Sophie Brody Medal, Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association

"Penslar offers a deep perspective . . . he enlivens his study with literary references and a wide-ranging history that offers revelations on nationalism, empire, and identity."--Anna Altman, New York Times Book Review

"This work of meticulous scholarship, based on sources in seven languages, sets out to correct deeply ingrained myths concerning Jews and military service. Drawing on evidence from the 17th century onward, Penslar puts to rest the common notions that Jews were wholly unsuited to be soldiers--too physically feeble, inherently cowardly, and disinterested to fight for the countries where they happened to be living. . . . This important book is balanced in its judgments and full of useful information."--Choice

"Penslar shows very effectively that there was a lot of middle ground between Jews of the Mosaic persuasion who disavowed any special connection with their foreign coreligionists and ardent Zionists who denied that the Jews could ever really belong to a nation other than their own. . . . Many [Jewish Historians] will no doubt be tantalized into pursuing the innumerable fascinating leads that Penslar provides."--Allan Arkush, Jewish Review of Books

"Remarkable. . . . [A] fascinating, meticulous survey."--Lawrence Freedman, Jewish Chronicle

"It is wide-ranging, in history and in the coverage of countries. . . . This is a very well-researched book, and the author has used publications in a number of languages."--Harold Pollins, Bulletin of the Military Historical Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400848577
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/6/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 1,194,341
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Derek J. Penslar is the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto and the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Oxford. His many books include "Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe", "Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective", and "The Origins of Israel, 1882-1948: A Documentary History".
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1
Chapter One - The Jewish Soldier between Memory and Reality 17

  • War in Premodern Judaism 19
  • Premodern Jews in War 22
  • Jews in the Tsar's Army: Conscription as National Tragedy? 27

Chapter Two - Fighting for Rights: Conscription and Jewish Emancipation 35

  • New Thinking about Jews as Soldiers in the Eighteenth Century 38
  • Absolute Conscription: Jews and the Draft in the Habsburg Empire 41
  • Willing Bodies: Jewish Soldiers in Western Europe 47
  • The Jew as Rebel 56
  • Integration and Accommodation of Jewish Soldiers 61
  • Celebrating the Jewish Fighter 68
  • Jewish Fighters at the Fin de Siècle: Proletarian Rebels and Shock Troops of Empire 74

Chapter Three - The Military as a Jewish Occupation 83

  • Jewish Military Officers as Social Barometers 84
  • The Armed Juif d'État 94
  • Lives Reconstructed: French-Jewish Officers at Home and Abroad 103

Chapter Four - When May We Kill Our Brethren? Jews at War 121

  • Civil Wars within Civil Wars 122
  • Jews and War Finance: Between Patriotism and Internationalism 145
  • World War I: The End or Pinnacle of Jewish Transnationalism? 152
  • Jewish Veterans as a Transnational Community 160

Chapter Five - The Jewish Soldier of World War I: From Participant to Victim 166
Chapter Six - The World Wars as Jewish Wars 195

  • The Jewish Legion and Palestine: The First Global Jewish War? 196
  • Mobilized Jewish Internationalism: The Spanish Civil War 200
  • The Second World War: Fighting Amalek 207

Chapter Seven - 1948 as a Jewish World War 225

  • The Global Battle for a Jewish State 226
  • 1948: The View from America 248

Epilogue 254
Notes 263
Bibliography 317
Index 337

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