Théâtre de Guerre: The 1793 Siege of Toulon in the Plays and Political Discourse of the French Revolution

Theater has been consistently used for political purposes, and it can be argued that power, and politics, is intrinsically spectacular in nature. The intersections between theater and politics were especially evident during the French Revolution: the newly-established representative democracy was characterized by its theatricality at the same time that new works of theater reflected political questions and were used to promote the Republic’s ideals. In this context, pièces de circonstance – plays based off of recent events – became widespread. The Revolution’s pièces de circonstance offer a unique source for examining how the spheres of politics and theater interacted at this time. To that effect, I will use as a case study the 1793 siege of Toulon, in which Republican forces recaptured the city following a Royalist uprising. The siege and ensuing victory were frequently referenced in political discourse, and also served as the subject matter for a profusion of contemporary plays and operas.

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Research Post 2: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

I have found, as I continue my study into the response of the world to the Abyssinia Crisis, that the domestic organization of each of the Great Powers directly involved heavily affected their actions during the Crisis. The three major powers directly involved with the Crisis, Great Britain, France, and Italy, each had a very different domestic set of institutions and concerns to their national governments that influenced how they interacted with each other and the League as an institution. Italy, as an authoritarian, Fascist government, organized itself so that the average Italian citizen’s opinion mattered little, and rather the industrialists and industry of the nation influenced the national government more aggressively. The French Government, while a republic, had an executive branch and military apparatus that was extremely concerned about a resurgent Germany and was committed to maintaining the Stresa Front, whilst having a divided civil population that did not express its international desires easily. Britain, as the leading world power with a Liberal Democracy, and with one of the most complex apparatuses of state, had the interesting combination of needing to follow the direction that the people and domestic institutions expressed in voting, but while also having a government apparatus that did not easily change direction and was comparatively conservative. These different styles of governance and domestic interests resulted in fundamentally different approaches between the nations regarding dealing with each other and the League.

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