This book fundamentally revises our notion of why soldiers of the eighteenth century enlisted, served and fought. In contrast to traditional views of the brutal conditions supposedly prevailing in old-regime armies, Ilya Berkovich reveals that soldiers did not regard military discipline as illegitimate or unnecessarily cruel, nor did they perceive themselves as submissive military automatons. Instead he shows how these men embraced a unique corporate identity based on military professionalism, forceful masculinity and hostility toward civilians. These values fostered the notion of individual and collective soldierly honour which helped to create the bonding effect which contributed toward greater combat cohesion. Utilising research on military psychology and combat theory, and employing the letters, diaries and memoirs of around 250 private soldiers and non-commissioned officers from over a dozen different European armies, Motivation in War transforms our understanding of life of the common soldier in early modern Europe.
Ilya Berkovich completed his PhD thesis at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and has since published items on crusader and eighteenth-century history. He has won the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Moncado Prize for an Outstanding Article from the Society for Military History. Berkovich is currently an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Before starting his studies, he served three years as a conscript in the Israel Defence Forces.
Introduction; 1. Motivation: new research and contemporary sources; 2. Reconsidering desertion in old-regime Europe; 3. Discipline and defiance: a reciprocal model; 4. Why they enlisted?; 5. A counterculture of honour; 6. Networks of loyalty and acceptance; Concluding remarks; Bibliography.