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16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 19 Kingdom United: British and Irish Popular Responses to the Outbreak of War, July to December 1914 (PhD thesis Dublin). M. Erzberger (1914) Die Mobilmachung (Berlin), p. 4. Thus, for example, the short overview given by B. Ziemann (2003) “Kriegsfreiwillige” in G. ) Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg (Paderborn), 640ff. The limited scope of this article, which covers only British and German volunteers, is indicative of the state of research on volunteering in the First World War.

10 Michelet’s “us” clearly refers to the nation, and the nation is constructed as the parent of the soldier. At the same time, however, the parent and the child are but one and the same thing, and any attempt to separate them would be an impious endeavour. Michelet’s readers certainly grasped the allusion to the Christian trinity and the implicit reference to the third term: the Holy Spirit, the nationalistic enthusiasm of which the volunteers were the perfect incarnation and which they transmitted to their republican heirs.

This legislation, however, lasted for less than one year, and it was war that rendered it obsolete. The structure of France’s armed forces changed considerably when the Assembly decided, in June 1791, to organize battalions of “national volunteers” out of the members of the National Guard. 23 At the same time, the Assembly received alarming reports on the situation of the army, stating that France would face considerable difficulties in sustaining a major war. 24 The objective was to reinforce the line army with politically reliable volunteers.

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