-Presentación: Arquitectura e instituciones militares. Política, cultura y sociedad [Presentation: Architecture and military institutions. Politics, culture and society]
Centro de Estudios de la Guerra-RUHM (Spain)
-Las murallas de Babilonia. Nueva interpretación de una maravilla del mundo antiguo [The Walls of Babylon. A New Interpretation of a Wonder of the Ancient World]
Juan-Luis Montero Fenollós
Abstract: Babylon is one of the most famous cities of pre-classical Antiquity, whose memory has remained alive in Europe thanks to descriptions in the Old Testament and by Greco-Roman historians and geographers. The origin of the mythical and imagined Babylon lies on these ancient texts and on its later reading and interpretation. A good example of this is the city wall, recognized by Strabo and Philo of Byzantium as a wonder of the ancient world. However, facing this “dreamed eastern city” is the historical Babylon, which has been hidden under the myth.
A century after the end of archaeological excavations in Babylon, led by Robert Koldewey (1899–1917), the city walls required a renewed study free of preconceived ideas. The main conditioning factor to overcome is our dependence on what German archaeologists did (with more or less success), which is almost absolute when it comes to interpreting and reconstructing urbanism and the defense system of a capital with almost two thousand years of history. The historical sequence of the walls of Babylonia is based on cuneiform texts and not on stratigraphic data. In general, these documents are late copies, lack provenance, do not have an accurate dating nor were they found in situ.
Despite the limitations that affect the available documentation on the walls of Babylon, we are defending a new interpretative proposal of them. The three walls of the interior enclosure represented on the same plan by the German researchers have led to confusion, because they are not contemporary. The walls called in the cuneiform texts Imgur-Enlil and Nimetti-Enlil had to function as a single defensive wall of more than 17 m in total thickness, at least since the Kassite period (15th century BC), and not as two autonomous and independent walls. The third wall, the so-called moat wall, was later built, in Neo-Babylonian times (6th century BC), to reinforce and replace the old system.
-Sobrevivir en la frontera de la guerra santa: expansión política, cruzadas, explotación ambiental y el asentamiento medieval de colonización de Biała Góra, norte de Polonia [Survival at the Frontier of Holy War: Political Expansion, Crusading, Environmental Exploitation and the Medieval Colonizing Settlement at Biała Góra, North Poland]
Zbigniew Sawicki, Aleksander Pluskowski, Alexander Brown, Monika Badura, Daniel Makowiecki, Lisa-Marie Shillito, Mirosława Zabilska-Kunek, Krish Seetah
Abstract: Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries AD, the Lower Vistula valley represented a permeable and shifting frontier between Pomerelia (eastern Pomerania), which had been incorporated into the Polish Christian state by the end of the tenth century, and the territories of western Prussian tribes, who had resisted attempts at Christianization. Pomeranian colonization eventually began to falter in the latter decades of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, most likely as a result of Prussian incursions, which saw the abandonment of sites across the borderland. Subsequently, the Teutonic Order and its allies led a protracted holy war against the Prussian tribes, which resulted in the conquest of the region and its incorporation into a theocratic state by the end of the thirteenth century. This was accompanied by a second wave of colonization, which resulted in the settlement pattern that is still visible in the landscape of north-central Poland today. However, not all colonies were destroyed or abandoned in between the two phases of colonization. The recently excavated site of Biała Góra, situated on the western side of the Forest of Sztum overlooking the River Nogat, represents a unique example of a transitional settlement that included both Pomeranian and Teutonic Order phases. The aim of this paper is to situate the site within its broader landscape context which can be characterized as a militarized frontier, where, from the later twelfth century and throughout much of the thirteenth century, political and economic expansion was combined with the ideology of Christian holy war and missionary activity. This paper considers how the colonists provisioned and sustained themselves in comparison to other sites within the region, and how Biała Góra may be tentatively linked to a documented but otherwise lost outpost in this volatile borderland.
-La instrucción de la oficialidad de infantería y caballería. Las academias militares en los reinados de Fernando VI y Carlos III [The instruction of the cavalry and infantry officers. The military academies in the reigns of Fernando VI and Carlos III]
David A. Abián Cubillo
Abstract: This article focuses on the officers’ instruction through the creation of military academies in the Spanish Monarchy during the reigns of Fernando VI and Carlos III. These reigns are connected with the Enlightenment. With these academies, the kings and their ministers expected to make the Bourbons’ army more technical. Even though the first academy was founded by Carlos II and Felipe V, these academies were focused on the most technical corps, as artillery and engineers. This situation changes during the reigns of Fernando VI and Carlos III, and other corps less technical were addressed. Infantry and cavalry were older than engineers and artilleryman, and they had never been trained in an academy. For this reason, the college and academy study were very original, because they were an important effort by these kings to spread the education on infantry and cavalry. On this period, many people thought that only an educated officer could defeat other armies in the battlefield. The three centers studied, the Real Sociedad de Matemáticas de Madrid, the Escuela Militar de Ávila and the Colegio Militar de Ocaña, were the perfect example for this crucial problem. The fail of all of them shows us a disagreement among high officers. Although academies officially closed due to monetary problems, the real causes were deeper. The first of these causes was the absence of a course of study promoted by the own king. Instead of this we found isolated projects of academies. Normally, the existence of the academies was linked to their founders and their influence on the Court. The resistance to these academies started early, and shows us a fear to break the traditional system of career development and promotion within the army. This fear was the appearance of a new factor to be a good officer, the academic merit. This meant that the nobility and the service, the traditional factor in the army, could be changed by a new factor and which would break the tradition of de Ancient Regime. This is the reason why many militaries were against these academies. For this study, I’ve examined many documents of military academies located in the Archivo General Militar de Madrid, Archivo General de Simancas and Archivo Histórico Nacional. Furthermore, I have employed many bibliography about military academies written in the last years.
-Referencias culturales en la prensa interna de la Academia General Militar durante la Transición (1976–1978) [Cultural references in the inner press of the Academia General Militar (1976–1978)]
Abstract: Over the years, a clear academic consensus has emerged on the role played by the Spanish military during the transition to democracy and later democratic consolidation. Some of the key elements of this consensus are: a) the Spanish military are recruited within a very particular social milieu and do not fully share the general values of society; b) during their education in the military academies they are under pressure to adopt the Armed Forces’ traditional system of values; c) the most ambitious reforms undertaken in the Spanish Armed Forces over the last forty years have been based on profound changes in the system of military education; d) after decades of efforts, the Spanish Armed Forces are now more aware of their role in a democratic society and feel less isolated; e) reforms have mostly been the result of political pressure: the military have normally shown a strong preference for continuity.
The publications produced by the students of the Land Forces’ General Military Academy during the transition to democracy in the late 1970s have never been previously studied by scholars. Its close examination and analysis allow us to cast some doubt on elements on what we have called the “consensus”. In their cultural preferences, the cadets seem to be similar to other segments of their generation, in particular to college students. Otherwise, the political pressure on the cadets by conservative commanders and instructors appears much weaker than expected. Professionalisation and the preservation of internal cohesion, rather than Francoist indoctrination, seem to have been the main priorities.
The examined materials only offer fragmentary evidence of the life in the General Military Academy in the late 1970s and are very insufficient to challenge the existing consensus. However, the information they provide could maybe encourage more detailed and comprehensive studies leading to a more complete and sophisticated understanding of the role of the military in the making and functioning of contemporary Spain.
-Obsessio montis Badonici. Britania ante las invasiones bárbaras: ¿pervivencia o abandono de los modelos del ejército romano tardío? [Obsessio montis Badonici. Britain before the Barbarian Invasions: Survival or Abandonment of the Models of the Late Roman Army?]
Miguel Pablo Sancho Gómez
Abstract: This work focuses on a key period of British history, both obscure and difficult: the end of Roman Britain and the formation of different successor states, including the newly arrived Germanic peoples who would be a decisive factor in the subsequent development of the island. From the point of view of military history, the problems multiply, for the period begins in AD 406-411 with the remains of the imperial army still present and ends around AD 500 with a series of established kingdoms, both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon, heavily imbued with heroic culture and in an almost permanent state of war. We are talking about the “Dark Ages”, now commonly called Sub-Roman Britain. The personal clienteles of warriors took control of the situation at the mid of the Fifth-Century and the classic legions became something of the past. We will try to establish some historical guidelines to analyze these complicated phenomena, especially from the perspective of war history.
This period saw as well the emergence of Arthur, another key figure of British history, still hotly debated today. Trying to avoid the much sterile polemic, we will try to trace some link between Roman warfare and the remains of the Imperial rule throughout this complicated period in order to show the state of the historical processes that framed the evolution of the Late Roman World to become the early medieval one. Hypothesis will focus in the military developments of the age and the transformation of the former Roman regular professional army into the so-called aristocratic and heroic warbands, paying attention to the possible Roman remains on the Arthurian warfare.
The so-called “Age of Tyrants” and the “land Fertile on Tyrants” is treated too, with a brief scheme concerning the threats featuring in the Military Anarchy, the Third Century Crisis and the overall Barbarian onslaught as the catalyzers of the proclamation of tyrants in Britain.
-“Comer caldo aguado con cuchillo…” Organización y logística del Ejército del Midi en la prefectura de Jerez (1810–1812) [“Eating [thin] soup with a knife”: French Organization and logistics in the Prefecture of Jerez (1810–1812)]
Abstract: This study strives to Napoleonic occupation tasks, supplying and daily life during the Peninsular War, using French sources partly original (National Archives and Military Archives of Vincennes) and also few Spanish sources (Archivo Histórico Nacional, Archivo de Marina D. Álvaro de Bazán) in this purpose.
Studying the operational display of the First Corps (Army of Midi), initially directed by Marshal Victor, in the prefecture of Jerez between February 1810 and August 1812 give us new visions of the blockade of Cadiz and the fierce fight against the Resistance of the Serranos. For example, we bring unknown facts about French deceived attempts to take the port city, in this times the mayor symbol of the Insurgent Cause. Napoleon was hardly disappointed by the longtime ineffective bombardment by means of gigantic mortars smelted in Sevilla (one of them always present in London, in front of the Horse Guard building) from the Matagorda Castle. So he wanted to threaten its crowded inhabitants with incendiary rockets, which were imitated of the William Congreve's invention, successful experimented against the fleet and the capital of Denmark, in 1807. This way, too, would be a failure in the spring of 1812, and it was the last demonstration of Imperator's interest for the Spanish theater. Otherwise, to contain the insurrection in the Serrania de Ronda and to face his militarization, since the spring of 1812the French military authorities surrounded her by a fortified line, an innovatory counterinsurgency solution reproduced during the Wars of Decolonization.
Moreover, the analysis of it logistical system shows the failure in pacifying this province, whereas this situation appears almost exceptional in the Andalusia occupied. The First Corps endured larges backlog arrears suffered from food shortage by the end of 1811. Since the next spring, the French soldiers only received a half-ration, soon reduced to a quarter. Their fallen moral appeared to many signs: discouraged letters to closely related, protest songs (one of them reproduced and analyzed here) and a crescent desertion, facilitated by the authorities of Cadiz and recognized by Marshal Soult himself.
-La fuerza militar española en defensa de Pío IX (1848- 1850) [The Spanish military force in defense of Pius IX (1848–1850)]
Sergio Cañas Díez
Abstract: The European history of central years of the 19th century finds in the Spanish military action in Italy an interesting line of research in order to understand the political complexity of Isabelline Spain, within a context of war and revolution in Europe. In the case of the process of the Italian unification, it responded to a foreign policy based on moderate liberalism, which mediated internally between the most progressive tendencies and the Carlist opposition. Although this subject has been addressed from other standpoints, the impulse of the military studies taken place in Spain in recent years has aroused the interest of Spanish research on the creation of the Italian nation from a comparative perspective. Likewise, it has continued to contribute with new data to the debate on the presence of Spanish troops in the context of Italian unification, continuing an historiographical discussion that affects Spain and Italy. In this article we analyze these facts to reorder them and at the same time we contribute with a more heterodox interpretation than that which can be consulted in classical works, fruit of the knowledge produced on the subject at present, of a novel investigation made in the Vatican Secret Archive, and of the consultation of nineteenth-century Spanish newspapers and novels that opined and reported on the Spanish military force in defense of Pius IX, decanting public opinion in various ways according to its editorial policy line or the sensitivity of the author.
What we want to demonstrate here is that although the Spanish operation in Italy between 1848–1850 did not have the desired importance on the part of the government of Narváez, causing that a significant part of the Spanish public opinion to be disappointed and reinforcing the critical political positions with that external intervention, they were a remarkable success in several aspects. On the one hand, to resituate Isabel II’s liberal Spain between the great European powers of the moment, once the Carlism had been defeated in the civil war, and the military defeats in the American continent had diminished sensibly the nationalimperial idea of the Old Regime. On the other hand, it also helped to temper the internal moods between liberal liberals favourable to Italian unification and patriotic legitimists, who were addicted to the cause of the Papal States because of the reactionary sense the war had.
-La participación del régimen franquista en la exposición internacional anticomunista Le bolchevisme contre l´Europe (1942) [The Participation of the Francoist Regime in the Anti-Communist International Exhibition Le bolchevisme contre l’Europe (1942)]
Antonio César Moreno Cantano
Abstract: One of the basic elements for achieving social cohesion in times of war is the creation of the image of an enemy, hated and feared, which justifies the policies of a government in such a turbulent situation. In Axis’ Europe, in the midst of a world-wide struggle, the focus was put on international communism, the true embodiment of evil according to the propagandists of that time. Organized by the Third Reich and its ideological machinery, since the late 1930s major public events were held against its great phobias: Jews, Freemasonry and Bolshevism. Through the creation of overwhelming photomontages and all kinds of audiovisual material, a series of stereotypes of the enemy were developed, which would reaffirm citizen support for the State's cause, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War. In this article, through unpublished Spanish and French archival documentation, we will analyze the Spanish participation exhibition Le Bolshevisme contre l´Europe, held in Vichy's France in 1942. By explicit desire of the French and German occupation authorities, the francoist regime was asked to show the dangers of communism, considering that this nation –according to their perspective– had been the first to defeat it. The remembrance of the Civil War would not only reaffirm the legitimacy of the new Spanish State but would also have a major propaganda component. For that reason, efforts were focused on recreating, before the whole world, the functioning of the "checas" during the Spanish Civil War. Through this study we will be able to delve into the efforts made by Francoism to ideologically contribute to the consolidation of the principles of the New Order, exposing at the same time the internal difficulties and the lack of economic resources that accompanied them.
-Aportación de la experiencia bélica israelí a la teoría estratégica del poder aéreo, 1967–2014 [Contribution of the Israeli War Experience to the Strategic Theory of Air Power, 1967–2014]
Abstract: This article studies the contribution of Israeli war experience to the general theory of military air power. The article begins with a brief theoretical framework with two views on the strategic utility of air power. The first vision is that of 'primacy'. This current considers that the air military power is capable of breaking the adversary's will to fight and/or of depriving him of the means to continue fighting. It also considers that military air power could achieve it independently, or with a secondary participation of the ground forces. The second current defends the necessary complementarity between the different forms of military power to achieve synergistic effects.
Then the article examines the main military operations and conflicts in which Israel has fought since the Six Day War to the present. The article orders the way in which air power has been used according to the two currents of the theoretical framework. First, there are the so-called strategic air attacks that correspond to the theoretical vision of 'primacy'.
The article establishes four subcategories in this strategic employment: 1) strategic air attacks with coercive purpose that directly or indirectly harm the civilian population, 2) strategic air attacks against military objectives in enemy territory with a coercive political purpose, 3) strategic air strikes of decapitation, against leaders and adversary command cadres, and 4) aerial attacks against generation of force, nuclear counter-proliferation or against certain conventional military capabilities. Second, the article analyzes military operations that correspond to the theoretical vision of 'integration': 1) close air support, and 2) operational interdiction.
The article concludes that the use of strategic airstrikes has been strategically ineffective and in many cases counterproductive. On the contrary, the integrated use of the air force with the land force, especially in conventional wars, has shown greater effectiveness.
-Reconstruyendo el “frente” y la “retaguardia”: experiencias de género y memoria de las guerras alemanas contra Napoleón – Un caso de estudio [Reconstructing ‘Front’ and ‘Home’: Gendered Experiences and Memories of the German Wars Against Napoleon – A Case Study]
-Las cruzadas bálticas y del Norte de Europa (1100–1562): la expansión de la Latinitas [The Baltic and Northern European Crusades (1100–1562): the Expansion of the Latinitas]
Antonio Contreras Martín
Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to offer an overview of the Baltic and Northern European Crusades. To this end, first, we establish what is meant by 'crusade' and what are its characteristics; secondly, we propose a chronology and we relate these crusades with others; thirdly, we indicate the regions where they occured, how they were developed and the consequences they had for the inhabitants in the demographic, religious, political, social, economic, artistic and cultural levels; fourth, we establish who were its promoters and what their objectives; and, fifth, we value what they meant for the Europe of the Middle Ages. Likewise, and finally, we reflect on what could be the lines of study that should be done to advance their knowledge and understanding.