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The programme is a critical discussion, illustrated by contemporary accounts, of the practice of war in the period of The Enlightenment, measured against the beliefs and aspirations of the philosop...hies. Intellectual thinking, ranging from Leibniz to Bentham, was essentially anti-militarist and anti-nationalist. Such men wanted peaceful co-existence. As Professor Anderson says "In the second half of the eighteenth century there was a widespread belief...that war was becoming less violent." and "A long series of visionaries hoped that it might be possible to banish war for ever from Europe... Moreover, the economists of the period tended increasingly to stress that... a militarily successful war might well be an economic disaster." And to some extent these views were reflected in the actual conduct of war. However, the 'Age of Reason' saw great international issues decided by brute force. The balance of power was maintained by aggressive expansionist policies. The importance of war could be seen in its increasing scale and cost. There was no escaping the suffering of the battlefield both for the common soldier and the civilian. Professor Anderson emphasises the paradoxical contrasts between Enlightenment idealism and the ground-level activities of warfare in this period.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 16
Recording date: 1979-05-03
First transmission date: 03-06-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:18:30
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Producer: Helen Rapp
Contributors: Matthew Anderson; Garard Green
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): 18th Century Wars
Master spool number: TLN18950H825
Production number: TLN18950H825
Available to public: no