Compulsory military service, in principle for all adult males, was increasingly the practice of all serious Great Powers in the late nineteenth century. With the exception of Britain and the United States, who were both secure against sudden invasion by land, all major powers accepted the notion that the triumph of Prussian armies over Austria in 1866 and France in 1871 pointed to the prudence of universal military training. The maintenance of large numbers of reservists capable of supplementing the strength of the professional army on short notice became the norm. The movement toward larger armies had been inaugurated by the French Revolutionary concept of the levée en masse and Napoleon’s successful use of large conscript forces, but the prospect of general war in Europe retreated over the next half century to reemerge with united Germany’s challenge to the continental balance of power after 1871.
   Conscription’s appeal to national governments thereafter gathered further strength from the intensification of Great Power competition within Europe. The popular appeal of European nationalist movements, along with the increasing commonness of men in uniform, meanwhile contributed to acceptance of the idea that service to the nation and experience of war was the rite of passage to manhood. Militarization of European society was thereby nurtured. Even socialist movements often used military symbols and values to further youth recruitment. Conscription among the rival powers also ratcheted up the prospective scale and cost of a European war, although after 1914 the reality was far worse than anyone had anticipated.
   See also <>.
    Keegan, John. The First World War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999;
    Strachen, Hew. The First World War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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  • conscription — [ kɔ̃skripsjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1789; bas lat. conscriptio → conscrit ♦ Admin. Inscription, sur les rôles de l armée, des jeunes gens atteignant l âge légal pour le service militaire. ⇒ enrôlement, recensement, recrutement. Armée de conscription. ●… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • conscription — index requirement Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 conscription n. The draf …   Law dictionary

  • Conscription — Con*scrip tion, n. [L. conscriptio: cf. F. conscription.] 1. An enrolling or registering. [1913 Webster] The conscription of men of war. Bp. Burnet. [1913 Webster] 2. A compulsory enrollment of men for military or naval service; a draft. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conscription — late 14c., a putting in writing, from M.Fr. conscription, from L. conscriptionem (nom. conscriptio) a drawing up of a list, enrollment, a levying of soldiers, from conscribere to enroll, from com with (see COM (Cf. com )) + scribere to write (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • Conscription — Con*scrip tion, a. Belonging to, or of the nature of, a conspiration. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Conscription — (v. lat.), die Aufzeichnung der militärpflichtigen jungen Leute nach den Altersklassen, sodann auch die auf allgemeine Dienstpflichtigkeit basirte Aushebung zum Militärdienste im Gegensatz zur freien Werbung od. dem Aufgebot von Freiwilligen. Die …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Conscription — Conscript redirects here. For other uses, see Conscript (disambiguation).   No armed forces …   Wikipedia

  • Conscription — La conscription ou le service militaire obligatoire est la réquisition par un État d une partie de sa population afin de servir ses forces armées. Faisant suite aux armées de mercenaires utilisées jusqu à la fin du XVIIIe siècle et précédant …   Wikipédia en Français

  • conscription — conscriptional, adj. /keuhn skrip sheuhn/, n. 1. compulsory enrollment of persons for military or naval service; draft. 2. a compulsory contribution of money to a government during a time of war. [1350 1400 for earlier sense piece of writing ;… …   Universalium

  • conscription — (kon skri psion ; en poésie, du quatre syllabes) s. f. Appel au service militaire, par voie du tirage au sort, des jeunes gens quand ils ont atteint un âge déterminé par la loi. La conscription de 1812. Tomber à la conscription, avoir un numéro… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • conscription — (esp. BrE) noun ⇨ See also ↑draft ADJECTIVE ▪ universal ▪ military ▪ compulsory, forced ▪ the forced conscription of boys into the army …   Collocations dictionary

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