Defeat as moral victory: the historical experience

Heuser, B. (2017) Defeat as moral victory: the historical experience. In: Hom, A. R., O'Driscoll, C. and Mills, K. (eds.) Moral Victories: the Ethics of Winning Wars. Oxford University Press: Oxford ; New York, pp. 52-68. ISBN 9780198801825 (doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198801825.003.0004)

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This contribution adds to the legal-philosophical approach to the subject of victory by focusing on defeat as a moral victory in collective memory, mentality, and culture. Such a defeat can take the form of the violent death of an individual or a group in battle. At times the dead are commemorated as fallen heroes, just as if they had won their battle, but in addition they will be seen as martyrs to a cause that is construed as giving meaning to their sacrifice. Their death is celebrated as a moral victory if the cause outlasted this event and ultimately triumphed, or is still pursued. Instances can be found where such events, long past, have even recently still fuelled wars, as with the Irish Troubles or the Balkan Wars at the beginning and end of the twentieth century.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Defeat, collective memory, sacrifice, martyrs, Irish Troubles, Balkan Wars, history.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heuser, Professor Beatrice
Authors: Heuser, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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