Globalization, conscription, and anti-militarism in pre-World War I Europe

The Comparative Study of Conscription in the Armed Forces

ISBN: 978-0-76230-836-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-131-6

ISSN: 0195-6310

Publication date: 18 January 2002

Abstract

This chapter explains the emergence and complex pattern of popular resistance to military recruitment in pre-World War I Europe by pointing to two factors: the effects of globalization on civilian wages and whether militaries used conscription or voluntary recruitment. By increasing civilian wages, globalization also increased the potential opportunity costs of military service in Europe. How these economic pressures became manifested in the state's military politics was determined by the institutions that states used to mobilize labor into the military. In conscripted systems (continental Europe), recruits were compelled to serve despite the growing cost of military service, thus politicizing popular opposition to military service. In voluntary systems (Britain), labor could respond to the rising opportunity costs of military service by simply not enlisting, meaning that the growing burden of military service did not become strongly politicized. Consequently, anti-militarism was strongest on the continent and weakest in Britain.

Citation

Rowe, D.M. (2002), "Globalization, conscription, and anti-militarism in pre-World War I Europe", Mjøset, L. and van Holde, S. (Ed.) The Comparative Study of Conscription in the Armed Forces (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 145-170. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0195-6310(02)80026-6

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2002, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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