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'Barbarity more suited to Savages': British Soldiers’ Views of Spanish and Portuguese Violence during the Peninsular War, 1808–1814


Daly, G, 'Barbarity more suited to Savages': British Soldiers' Views of Spanish and Portuguese Violence during the Peninsular War, 1808-1814, War and Society, 35, (4) pp. 242-258. ISSN 0729-2473 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 School of Humanities & Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales

DOI: doi:10.1080/07292473.2016.1244920


This article explores British soldiers’ reactions to the violence that Iberian soldiers, guerrillas and civilians perpetrated against wounded French soldiers and prisoners of war during the Peninsular War. Whilst they saw this violence as retaliatory, and sympathized with the suffering of the occupied, British soldiers were shocked, disturbed and outraged, often leading them to self-identify with their very enemy — the French. On one level, this violence was seen as a fundamental violation of customary rules of war. Yet further, in British minds it revealed a deeper Iberian culture of violence and way of war, which set the Iberian peoples apart from ‘civilized’ nations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:atrocities, Britain, British army, Iberia, Peninsular War, Napoleonic Wars, violence
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:British history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Daly, G (Dr Gavin Daly)
ID Code:115010
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-03-06
Last Modified:2018-03-13

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