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Tense FutureModernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form$
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Paul K. Saint-Amour

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190200947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190200947.001.0001

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On the Partiality of Total War

On the Partiality of Total War

Chapter:
(p.47) 1 On the Partiality of Total War
Source:
Tense Future
Author(s):

Paul K. Saint-Amour

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190200947.003.0002

Chapter 1 uncovers the first uses of the expression “la guerre totale” in 1916 and tracks the concept forward through interwar air power theory to present-day military historiography. Showing connections between total war and colonial violence and the mediating role of race in that connection, it focuses on L. E. O. Charlton, the RAF officer who, having set out for the Iraqi protectorate in 1922 resigned his post to protest British bombing policies in the region. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Charlton’s subsequent air power writings and his story about a pair of British runaways who are given shelter by Bedouins and are the sole survivors of an RAF raid that kills their hosts. The apparent contradictions between Charlton’s conscientious objection and his air power advocacy help make visible the imperial system of differential legal protection and violence exposure that was cemented by Britain during the interwar period.

Keywords:   total war, Léon Daudet, Giulio Douhet, Royal Air Force, colonial violence, L. E. O. Charlton, James Joyce, Ulysses, Near East Adventure, race, racism, spectacle

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