Nationality, which was born with the emergence of nation states, is a legal connection between an individual and a state. While nationals formed a homogeneous group, the rights and obligations relating to citizenship differed notably according to gender. The same was true of the transmission, acquisition, or conservation of nationality. This discrimination, which affected wives in particular, prompted protests by feminist groups from the early twentieth century onwards, who overcame resistance to ensure equal rights to nationality in many countries. In practice, gender has also had an influence on the granting of nationality.
The role of women in the counter-revolution during the nineteenth century is unexpected in light of the gendered conception of social relations supported by this political family. It defended a society inspired by the Ancien Régime, one that was based on Catholicism and monarchy, as well as traditionalist social frameworks and the upholding of a patriarchal model. Aside from their importance on a symbolic level through dynastic, religious, or national incarnations, counter-revolutionary women enjoyed a fairly large freedom of action that appeared in various domains. While a number of these activities fell within the domains to which women were traditionally confined—the family, care activities, etc.—they also intervened in multiple ways on the political scene by taking up arms, or through petitions or fundraising. In the end, the counter-revolution paradoxically provided women with the capacity to act, with its traces visible during the twentieth century in the conservative and Catholic movements that were the heirs to the counter-revolution.
Alors que domine jusqu’au xviiie siècle en Europe l’idée qu’il faut accepter stoïquement toute grossesse, le contrôle des naissances se généralise à partir du xixe siècle et devient progressivement une pratique répandue, en dépit de l’opposition de l’Église et des responsables politiques. Celui-ci apparaît en effet comme un moyen d’ascension sociale, puis, à partir des années 1960, de manière croissante, comme un instrument de liberté. Les politiques, après avoir longtemps condamné cette évolution, finissent par s’y adapter, y contribuant par la libéralisation de la contraception. Néanmoins, les gouvernements restent encore divisés en Europe, en particulier sur la question de l’avortement.
Of all the artefacts produced by The Great War, trench art is probably the most curious and complex. These commemorative objects raise questions with regard to their technical creation, as well as to the attention they received and the intention with which they were made. An artistic expression of a personal experience during a major European event, the various forms taken by trench art make this practice a fascinating object of anthropological and archeological study.
Armistices, surrenders, and ceasefires have interrupted combat in varying ways. They silence weapons but also maintain the state of war, which ends only with a peace treaty. The choice of negotiating or surrendering depends on the nature of the war being waged, and therefore on its goals, how the war was fought, and the expectations of public opinion. Armistices became increasingly political during the modern period: whereas in the nineteenth century they were content to signal the end of fighting and prepare the technical aspects of peace talks, since The Great War they have anticipated the negotiation of territorial or material concessions. The different forms of ending hostilities became confused as a result. At the end of the Second World War, almost all belligerent countries ceased combat through surrender, although the existence of nuclear weapons imposed the use of ceasefires during the second half of the twentieth century, by putting the notion of victory into perspective.
Military mapping is very old in origin, yet it was during the early modern period that this tool began to modify the nature of combat and its preparation. European states and their armies played a prominent role in this evolution. War shaped European cartography in the seventeenth century, and war was subsequently transformed by maps through their various combat-related uses, from battle planning to celebration. They also played a part in redefining it.
Contrary to the historiographical commonplaces that consider the revolutionary period as a diplomatic void, diplomacy under the Revolution falls into three clearly distinct periods: while almost intangible under the constitutional monarchy (1789-1792), French diplomacy was at the outset structurally obstructed at the beginning of the Republic (1792-1795), before gradually being militarized under the Directory and the Consulate (1795-1804). As a result, although republican diplomatic practice was initially distinguished by a genuine art of compromise, it later stood out as much by its instransigent defence of national dignity as its desire to negotiate according to the reciprocal interest of the French nation and European peoples. This diplomacy of national sovereignty should therefore not be confused with a vehicle for revolutionary propaganda: more than an “art of negotiation” in the service of monarchs, it was redefined and reevaluated as a genuine science of European national interests.
There has been a recent renewal in the history of the knowledge of the languages of Islam during the Renaissance. Numerous accounts attest to both a lasting interest during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and to new approaches that blossomed in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, leading to broader European interest beginning in the sixteenth century. This history is nevertheless marked by discontinuities, such as the fact that the bilingual Latin translations of the Koran from the years 1450-1525 had very little lasting influence. The study of the remaining bilingual manuscripts, neglected until then, has allowed the gradual illumination of the context surrounding the periodic reactivation and knowledge transfer of Arabic, Turkish, and Persian to a “Latin” setting between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries. This context depended on complex factors, such as merchant networks, links between Jewish and Christian communities, the continuation of the medieval perspective of controversy, and new forms of intellectual and philological curiosity, among others.
The first generations of humanists wanted to bring back to life classical Latin culture and literature. They were looking for manuscripts of rare or forgotten texts, and translated the rediscovered legacy of classical Greek literature. Humanist pioneers such as Petrarch, Salutati and Poggio demonstrated a specific interest in the recuperation of Cicero, whose Latin remained a model for centuries to come. Thanks to the invention of the printing press, the philological attitude of Italian humanism spread all over Europe. In the sixteenth century the epicentre of the philological movement shifted from Italy to the Low Countries, featuring prominent philologists such as Erasmus and Lipsius. Their works were a key factor in the shaping of the new humanist culture of the European elite and in the Reformation.
The dark and stormy circumstances of World War I, 1914–1918, prompted the development of government-backed regimes for mass surveillance of electric and postal communications across Europe. The transnational flows of information, which had expanded rapidly since the mid-nineteenth century, turned into a security risk at the outbreak of hostilities, as they were linked to escalating government fears of enemy propaganda, information leaks and espionage. Moreover, the war years saw the birth of modern signals intelligence, as demonstrated by the famous case of the ill-fated German Zimmermann Telegram.