A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War by Isabel V. HullA Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War by Isabel V. Hull

A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War

byIsabel V. Hull

Hardcover | April 16, 2014

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A century after the outbreak of the Great War, we have forgotten the central role that international law and the dramatically different interpretations of it played in the conflict's origins and conduct. In A Scrap of Paper, Isabel V. Hull compares wartime decision-making in Germany, Great Britain, and France, weighing the impact of legal considerations in each. Throughout, she emphasizes the profound tension between international law and military necessity in time of war, and demonstrates how differences in state structures and legal traditions shaped the way in which each of the three belligerents fought the war. Hull focuses on seven cases in which each government’s response was shaped by its understanding of and respect for the law: Belgian neutrality, the land war in the west, the occupation of enemy territory, the blockade, unrestricted submarine warfare, the introduction of new weaponry (including poison gas and the zeppelin), and reprisals. Drawing on voluminous research in German, British, and French archives, the author reconstructs the debates over military decision making and clarifies the role played by law—where it constrained action, where it was manipulated to serve military need, where it was simply ignored, and how it developed in the crucible of combat. She concludes that Germany did not speak the same legal language as the two liberal democracies, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences. The first book on international law and the Great War published since 1920, A Scrap of Paper is a passionate defense of the role that the law must play to govern interstate relations in both peace and war.

Isabel V. Hull is John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell University. She is the author of Absolute Destruction and Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany, 1700–1815, both from Cornell.
Title:A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great WarFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.37 × 6.63 × 0.39 inPublished:April 16, 2014Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801452732

ISBN - 13:9780801452734

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Table of Contents

1. Prologue: What We Have Forgotten
2. Belgian Neutrality
3 The "Belgian Atrocities" and the Laws of War on Land
4. Occupation and the Treatment of Enemy Civilians
5. Great Britain and the Blockade
6. Breaking and Making International Law: The Blockade, 1915–1918
7. Germany and New Weapons: Submarines, Zeppelins, Poison Gas, Flamethrowers
8. Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
9. Reprisals: Prisoners of War and Allied Aerial Bombardment
10. ConclusionBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Over the last decade, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the laws of armed conflict have become matters of popular and public interest. Despite the growth of international humanitarian law, much of the law with which we still operate dates from the fifteen years just before the First World War and was applied within it. A Scrap of Paper is the first book to pay sustained attention to the subject of international law in the First World War since 1920. It is not only a timely book, it is an overdue one, and its impact on the study of the war will be important and game-changing. Isabel V. Hull has the linguistic range and scholarly tools to tackle the subject in the truly comparative fashion that its complexity demands." - Sir Hew Strachan, All Souls College, University of Oxford, author of The First World War: To Arms