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Contesting "Le corps militaire": Antimilitarism, Pacificism, Anarcho-Communism and 'Le Douanier' Rousseau's La Guerre

Author(s): Brauer, Fae

Journal: RIHA Journal
ISSN 2190-3328

Start page: 0048;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Aesthetic propaganda of the deed | Anarcho-communism | Antimilitarism Conscription | Dialectical art praxis | Fraternal solidarity | Free association | Individual liberties | Le combattant isolé | Nation-en-armes | Pacificism | Subjection

When the 1889 Military Law was passed, it established three-year universal conscription and a greater army of citizens to boost military preparedness for war in French colonies and against Germany.Far from its ramifications being of no concern to neo-impressionists, it was the subject of bightingly bitter antimilitarist cartoons by Maximilien Luce and antimilitarist paintings by the neo-impressionist outsider, 'Le douanier' Rousseau. Far from picturing the patriotic honor of becoming a soldier and the victories of war, as did Edouard Detaille, Rousseau did the opposite. In the heat of military slaughter of families at Fourmies, Rousseau revealed how conscription would transform French citizens into le corps militaire to fight not just against their arch-enemy with machine-like precision but against their very own people.
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