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Jews and the MilitaryA History$
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Derek J. Penslar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138879

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138879.001.0001

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Fighting for Rights: Conscription and Jewish Emancipation

Fighting for Rights: Conscription and Jewish Emancipation

(p.35) Chapter Two Fighting for Rights: Conscription and Jewish Emancipation
Jews and the Military

Derek J. Penslar

Princeton University Press

This chapter illustrates the context in which western and central European armies took form and how Jews were included in them. The issue of military service played a major role in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century debates about the emancipation of Jews. In the early 1700s, Protestant Hebraists and Enlightenment thinkers reconceived the position of Jews in European society by presenting Jews as capable of martial valor and so deserving of civil rights. In the late eighteenth century, new conceptions of the meliorability of humanity led to the introduction of conscription for all men, including Jews. Proponents of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) paid considerable attention to the issue of military service, especially after the introduction of mass conscription in France during the revolutionary wars. In the German lands, early nineteenth-century advocates of Jewish emancipation urged Jewish youth to volunteer to fight against Napoleonic France.

Keywords:   European armies, military service, Jewish emancipation, civil rights, conscription, Jewish Enlightenment, Jewish youth, Napoleonic France

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