The Series : « The Encyclopedia of Wars »
The Encyclopedia of Wars is a series of conferences and lectures initiated at the Centre Pompidou in September 2008, with one meeting per month. To do so, I am building up a “War Library”, accumulating all the works, essays, stories, technical books dealing with the subject of war. I do not impose any corpus on myself a priori. I am neither a historian nor a specialist in polemology. I collect sentences, terms, images, numbers. My first job is to read “war books”, to take quotations from them, which feed pre-existing entries or create new ones. It is then an essentially repetitive, mechanical, copyist activity. I am Bouvard or Pécuchet. Of these entries, there are 1031 to date. The first one being Abattre (mort), the last one being Zouave, passing by Abracadabra; Boom; Camping; Hydrography; Tongue (monotonous); Fly (Make); Pastry; Silence (Reduce to); Triperie; Vadrouille (La très grande); Ypres …
Assembled for the first time in an editorial corpus, the full collection of The Encyclopedia of Wars’ conferences is accessible on Switch (on Paper) and will be completed with the new conferences to come at the Centre Pompidou.
The Author : Jean-Yves Jouannais
The siege of Khe Sanh was a battle conducted during the Vietnam War (1 November 1955 – 30 April 1975) which pitted the US Army against the Vietnamese People’s Army (the name of the current army of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam created in 1944) and the troops of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, the Viet Cong (a Vietnamese armed force of nationalist and communist inspiration created in 1954 and disbanded in 1976). It took place at the beginning of 1968, during the famous Tet offensive. It began on 21 January and lasted 77 days. Ending with an American victory, it nevertheless had no real strategic significance.
The Tet Offensive was a military campaign conducted in 1968 by the combined forces of the South Vietnamese National Liberation Front and the Vietnamese People’s Army during the Vietnam War. The aims were to incite the South Vietnamese people to rise up against the Republic of Vietnam, to demonstrate that American claims that the situation was improving were false, and to divert military pressure from the countryside to South Vietnamese cities. On 30 January 1968, 80,000 communist soldiers attacked more than 100 cities across the country in the largest military operation carried out at that stage in the war. The offensive took the Americans by surprise and profoundly affected their administration, many of whose leading figures took a stand against the war, decisively altering its course.
Born in Trujillo, Spain on 16 March 1475, Francisco Pizarro González (better known as Francisco Pizarro in English) was a Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Inca Empire and became governor of present-day Peru (New Castile).
Probably born in 1485 in Medellín near Seville, Hernán Cortès was a Spanish conquistador who seized the Aztec Empire in the name of Charles V (King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor). This conquest was the founding act of New Spain and marks a fundamental stage in the colonisation of the Americas in the 16th century.
The Crimean War between 1853 and 1856 pitted the Russian Empire against an alliance made up of the Ottoman Empire, France, the United Kingdom and Sardinia. Provoked by Russian expansionism and fears of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (which had entered a period of military, political and economic decline), the conflict took place mainly on the Crimean peninsula around the naval base of Sevastopol. It ended with the defeat of Russia, ratified by the Treaty of Paris of 1856, which declared the neutrality of the Black Sea and marked a halt in Russian influence in the region (banning warships from sailing and the construction of fortifications). The Crimean War is sometimes considered the first “modern war” due to the use of new technologies (steamboats, railways, rifled guns).
Hudo refers to the temporary pit toilets in a military or scout camp.
Tonkin is the name formerly used to designate the northern region of present-day Vietnam. From 1884, the name referred to a French protectorate, one of the six components of French Indochina.
Born Giovanni di Pietro in 1181 or 1182 in Italy, considered to be the precursor of interreligious dialogue (an organised form of dialogue between representatives of different religious or spiritual traditions), Francis of Assisi was a Catholic deacon and founder of the Order of Friars Minor: characterised by a Sequela Christi (following Christ, a strong commitment to monastic religious life) in prayer, joy, poverty, evangelisation and love of divine creation. He was canonised in Rome in 1228 by Gregory IX (Pope from 1227 to 1241).
Born in 1303, Brigitte of Sweden comes from the Brahe family (patronymic of a family of Danish nobility, originally from Skåne), daughter of the knight Birger Persson. After retiring to the monastery of Alvastra as a widow, she settled in Rome in 1349, where she devoted herself to pilgrimages, a life of intense apostolate and assiduous prayer. Renowned for her prophecies and mystical revelations, she was known for her political and religious stances, not hesitating to give her opinions on the governance of States as well as on the papacy that had taken refuge in Avignon. She was canonised in 1391 by Boniface IX (Pope from 1389 to 1404).
St. Peter and the Rooster refers to the episode recounted in all four Gospels of Peter’s denial of Christ. It tells how the apostle Peter denied Jesus three times by disowning him (because he feared for his own life) before the rooster crowed. A legend has arisen from this biblical account whereby the apostle is said to have impaled any imprudent roosters that came to disturb him and remind him of his cowardice. After repenting, Saint Peter is said to have thought it wiser to display them in a prominent place, hence the custom of placing them on the top of bell towers.