Introduction: War, Demobilization and Memory in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions

  • Alan Forrest
  • Karen Hagemann
  • Michael Rowe
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850 book series (WCS)


The picture that appears on the cover of this book, Moritz Daniel Oppenheim’s The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to his Family still living in Accordance with the Old Customs, may seem a strange choice for a volume that purports to speak to war, demobilization and memory in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions—starting in the 1770s and ending in the 1830s. The German-Jewish painter Oppenheim, born in 1800 in the Hessian town of Hanau, was too young to volunteer for the Wars of 1813–1815, the final struggle to liberate Germany and Europe from Napoleonic rule. But in this painting, which dates from 1833–1834, Oppenheim invoked the memory of these wars. He referred to the participation of young Jewish volunteers in what he saw as a fight for liberation and liberty.1 His painting portrays the return of one of these victorious fighters after demobilization to the warmth of his family. Like many other Jewish families that had allowed their sons to participate in these ‘people’s wars’, they had hoped to become part of the German people as a result of their patriotic support for the war. The Jewish volunteers also expected to get equal citizenship rights after the wars—as was promised by kings and princes—because they had done their military duty as men and protected family, home and country.2


Civil Society Military Service Collective Memory French Revolution Postcolonial Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Alan Forrest, Karen Hagemann and Michael Rowe 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Forrest
  • Karen Hagemann
  • Michael Rowe

There are no affiliations available

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