Incorrigible Rogues: The Brutalisation of British Soldiers in the Peninsular War 1808-1814

Alice Parker


This article looks at the behaviour of the British soldiers in the Peninsular War between 1808 and 1814. Despite being allies to Spain and Portugal, the British soldiers committed violent acts towards civilians on a regular basis. Traditionally it has been argued that the redcoat’s misbehaviour was a product of their criminal backgrounds. This article will challenge this assumption and place the soldiers’ behaviour in the context of their wartime experience. It will discuss the effects of war upon soldiers’ mentality, and reflect upon the importance of psychological support in any theatre of war.

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