The Good Soldier

‘The good soldier.’ Ideal, instrument of manipulation or contradiction in itself?

Conference 15-16 October 2015, Trondheim

Annual conference of the German Association for Historical Peace and Conflict Studies
in co-operation with NTNU and the Norwegian Air Force Academy.
Sponsored by: NTNU Faculty of Humanities, Norwegian Air Force Academy and Fritt Ord.

Convenor: Associate professor Maria Fritsche, NTNU (



The conferences took place at the Luftkrigsskolen (Norwegian Air Force Academy).

Programme day by day

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08:45 – 9:00 Introduction Dean of Air Force Academy Karl Erik Haug & Maria Fritsche

9:00 – 10:10 Panel Soldierly Self-perceptions & Social Practice, Part 1

  • Magnus Koch (Hamburg), Ways of justification being a Wehrmacht deserter during and after WWII (Germany, WWII to 1990s)
  • Matilda Greig (European University Institute, Florence), Diverse images of the Napoleonic soldier in veterans’ popular published memoirs (Britain and France, 1807-1914)

10:10 – 10:20 coffee break

10:20 – 11:30 Panel Soldierly Self-perceptions  & Social Practice, Part 2

  • Anders Ahlbäck (Helsinki University), Contesting images of military manliness in Finland, 1918–1939
  • Oleksiy Salivon (Institut für Geschichte der Medizin, Stuttgart/Germany), A good Jewish soldier and his body in the German Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch

12:40 – 14:30 Panel Soldierly Self-perceptions & Social Practice, Part 3

  • Senem Kaptan (Rutgers University, New Jersey), From Ideal Citizens to Military Culprits: Service and Sacrifice in Turkey's Sledgehammer Trial (contemporary Turkey)
  • Tormod Heier (Norwegian Defence University College, Oslo), Balancing Civic and Military Virtues in post-modern societies (contemporary Norway)
  • Sarit Cofman-Simhon (Kibbutzim College of Education and Arts, Tel Aviv), Shooting and Crying: Representing Soldiers in the Israeli Theatre (contemporary Israel)

14:30 – 14:55 coffee break

14:55 – 16:45 Panel Norm-setting from Above, Part 1

  • Julie LeGac (Paris Sorbonne), A brave and fierce soldier: a demanding model for a French army in search of recognition (France, 1943-45)
  • Klaas Voss (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung), Soldiers Homes, Invalid Companies, Veterans Colonies ­– Changing Notions of Reintegration (Western World, 19th century
  • Bastian Scianna (London School of Economics and Political Science), Tracing role models in the desert: the Italian military’s narrative of El Alamein as “glorious defeat”

08:50 – 10:00 Panel Norm-setting from Above, Part 2

  • Vaclav Smidrkal (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), The Czechoslovak Legionnaires between Conscious Citizens and Messianic Revolutionaries (Czechoslovakia, WWI and beyond)
  • Linh D. Vu (University of Berkley), The rhetoric of sacrificing revolutionaries in the National Revolutionary Army (China, 1925-49)

10:00 – 10:10 coffee break

10:10 – 11:30 Panel Norm-setting from Above, Part 3

  • Jörn Eiben (University of Oldenburg, Germany), A “Small-Scale War” and its Soldiers: Football and Football Players (Germany, late 19th to early 20th century
  • Samantha Killmore (University of Sydney), The Perfect Norm: A Comparative study of Ivy League students and American Air Force Pilots in William Sheldon's somatotyping project (USA 1940-55)

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch

12:35 – 13:45 Panel Transformations, Part 1:

  • Tamir Libel (Centre of War Studies, Dublin), National Defence Universities and the construction of European military culture (Europe, last 20 years)
  • Angelika Dörfler (Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr, Potsdam), The Staatsbürger in Uniform. The German experience with educating a new type of soldier (Germany, after 1945)

13:45 – 14:00 coffee break

14:00 – 15:10 Panel Transformations, Part 2:

  • Efrat Even-Tzur (Tel-Aviv University), The 'good soldier' and the perpetrator's violent thrill: A crisis of a cultural image (Israeli Soldiers)
  • Klaus Naumann (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung), The return of the political soldier in contemporary post-conventional military interventions (Germany, 20th century)

15:15 – 16:00 Concluding Commentary and Summary

  • Claudia Kemper & Maria Fritsche (chair & vice chair German Assoc. for Historical Peace and Conflict Studies)
Awarding honours to French soldier/ 1942. Photo: akg-images / Universal Images Group