Reading: Rotem Giladi, ‘The Phoenix of Colonial War: Race, the Laws of War, and the ‘Horror on the Rhine’, (2017) 30(4) LJIL 847-875:
The article explores the demise of the ‘colonial war’ category through the employment of French colonial troops, under the 1918 armistice, to occupy the German Rhineland.
It traces the prevalence of – and the anxieties underpinning – antebellum doctrine on using ‘Barbarous Forces’ in ‘European’ war. It then records the silence of postbellum scholars on the ‘horror on the Rhine’ – orchestrated allegations of rape framed in racialized terms of humanity and the requirements of the law of civilized warfare. Among possible explanations for this silence, the article follows recent literature that considers this scandal as the embodiment of crises in masculinity, white domination, and European civilization.
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