The Impossibility of Stripping Nationality. The French State Faced with Pro-Carlist Military Volunteers (1872–1876)

The Impossibility of Stripping Nationality
By Alexandre Dupont

The recent debates in France about stripping individuals of their French nationality have cast a fresh light on the state’s capacity to strip away the citizenship of French citizens who have left to fight in another country. The French state already faced this issue in the nineteenth century and, while establishing a de jure prohibition on individuals volunteering to fight abroad, France allowed it to happen de facto. In one case, however, the French volunteers who fought for the Spanish Carlists in the 1870s, French authorities seemed determined to use this judiciary weapon, before having to renounce it for multiple reasons. As such, the French pro-Carlist volunteering has special status as an example of the extreme difficulty of actually stripping international combatants of their nationality.

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