The French Revolutionary Wars 1787-1802
The French Revolutionaries waged total war. Mobilising the largest army yet seen in Europe, they conquered most of the continent with amazing speed. Their war was one of movement, aggression and action, punctuated by some of the most dramatic battles in history - Valmy, Jemappes, Fleurus, Arcola, Marengo and Hohenlinden, to name only a few. They also sought ideological conquest, forcing the people they liberated to be free in the French manner whether they liked it or not. The military and political progress of the Revolutionary armies is narrated and analysed in this important study, with special attention paid to the legacy of the old regime, the remarkable resilience displayed by the old regime powers, the reasons for the revolutionaries' success on land - and the reasons for their failure at sea. The Revolutionary wars brought France hegemony in Europe but at a terrible cost. Inside the country, the war brought the end of pluralism, the destruction of the Monarchy, civil war and the Terror, paving the way for military dictatorship and burdening the country with an enduring legacy of instability. This interaction between events at the front and at home is discussed in full. Special attention is also paid to the devastation inflicted by the Revolutionary armies as they rampaged across the continent, together with the nationalist resistance movements they provoked. From County Mayo to Constantinople, no part of Europe was unaffected. It was not the French Revolution that created the modern world but the French Revolutionary wars.