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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium

Regrettable incidents and avoidable risks. An entangled history of accidents in French and German military during the 20th century

Dr. Birgit Metzger
Contemporary European History
Universität Freiburg

Regrettable incidents and avoidable risks. An entangled history of accidents in the French and German military during the 20th century
When Jul 03, 2017
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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The military is an institution with a very distinctive relationship to risks. It organizes the use of force in order to defend the interests of a state or government. Soldiers are working in dangerous environments and with dangerous materials. They are supposed to be prepared to take risks and to even risk their life in order to carry out their duty. On the other hand, the military is an organization that has to reduce its vulnerability. For centuries, even in times of warfare, soldiers were more at risk to die from diseases and from accidents than from battle action. In the last couple of years, the increased number of military interventions of France and Germany has provoked public debates about fatal mishaps and mistakes killing soldiers as well as civilians and destroying material. Material is supposed to be used as intended and soldiers are supposed to be reliable and not to die by chance or off the battlefield. Is there an evolution in the perception of risks and errors that can lead to accidental destruction or death over the 20th century? Which role does the military play for learning processes concerning risks and risk management in the 20th century? Does the public perception of individual and structural errors change during this period?