"In this ambitious and far-ranging work, Alexander Mikaberidze argues that the Napoleonic Wars can only be fully understood in an international perspective. France struggled for dominance not only on the plains of Europe but also in the Americas, West and South Africa, Ottoman Empire, Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Taking specific regions in turn, Mikaberidze discusses major political-military events around the world and situates geopolitical decision-making within its long- and short-term contexts. From the British expeditions to Argentina and South Africa to the Franco-Russian maneuvering in the Ottoman Empire, the effects of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars would shape international affairs well into the next century. In Egypt, the wars led to the rise of Mehmed Ali and the emergence of a powerful state; in North America, the period transformed and enlarged the newly established United States; and in South America, the Spanish colonial empire witnessed the start of national-liberation movements that ultimately ended imperial control."
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Popular and scholarly history presents a one-dimensional image of Napoleon as an inveterate instigator of war who repeatedly sought large-scale military conquests. General Franceschi and Ben Weider dismantle this false conclusion in The Wars Against Napoleon, a brilliantly written and researched study that turns our understanding of the French emperor on its head. Avoiding the simplistic clichés and rudimentary caricatures many historians use when discussing Napoleon, Franceschi and Weider argue persuasively that the caricature of the megalomaniac conqueror who bled Europe white to satisfy his delirious ambitions and insatiable love for war is groundless. By carefully scrutinizing the facts of the period and scrupulously avoiding the sometimes confusing cause and effect of major historical events, they paint a compelling portrait of a fundamentally pacifist Napoleon, one completely at odds with modern scholarly thought. This rigorous intellectual presentation is based upon three principal themes. The first explains how an unavoidable belligerent situation existed after the French Revolution of 1789. The new France inherited by Napoleon was faced with the implacable hatred of reactionary European monarchies determined to restore the ancient regime. All-out war was therefore inevitable unless France renounced the modern world to which it had just painfully given birth. The second theme emphasizes Napoleon’s determined efforts (“bordering on an obsession,” argue the authors) to avoid this inevitable conflict. The political strategy of the Consulate and the Empire was based on the intangible principle of preventing or avoiding these wars, not on conquering territory. Finally, the authors examine, conflict by conflict, the evidence that Napoleon never declared war. As he later explained at Saint Helena, it was he who was always attacked—not the other way around. His adversaries pressured and even forced the Emperor to employ his unequalled military genius. After each of his memorable victories Napoleon offered concessions, often extravagant ones, to the defeated enemy for the sole purpose of avoiding another war. Lavishly illustrated, persuasively argued, and carefully illustrated with original maps and battle diagrams, The Wars Against Napoleon presents a courageous and uniquely accurate historical idea that will surely arouse vigorous debate within the international historical community.
An analysis of crucial moments in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars by one of the leading military historians of the twentieth century.
Known collectively as the 'Great War', for over a decade the Napoleonic Wars engulfed not only a whole continent but also the overseas possessions of the leading European states. A war of unprecedented scale and intensity, it was in many ways a product of change that acted as a catalyst for upheaval and reform across much of Europe, with aspects of its legacy lingering to this very day. There is a mass of literature on Napoleon and his times, yet there are only a handful of scholarly works that seek to cover the Napoleonic Wars in their entirety, and fewer still that place the conflict in any broader framework. This study redresses the balance. Drawing on recent findings and applying a 'total' history approach, it explores the causes and effects of the conflict, and places it in the context of the evolution of modern warfare. It reappraises the most significant and controversial military ventures, including the war at sea and Napoleon's campaigns of 1805-9. The study gives an insight into the factors that shaped the war, setting the struggle in its wider economic, cultural, political and intellectual dimensions.
Russia played a fundamental role in the outcome of Napoleonic Wars; the wars also had an impact on almost every area of Russian life. Russia and the Napoleonic Wars brings together significant and new research from Russian and non-Russian historians and their work demonstrates the importance of this period both for Russia and for all of Europe.
The Napoleonic Wars left their mark on European and world societies in a variety of ways, not least from the radical social and political change they evoked in many countries. Examining the social, political, and institutional aspects of warfare in the Napoleonic era, Mike Rapport considers their significance and the legacy they leave today.
“These fascinating and valuable studies supplement Sir Charles Oman’s major works about the Napoleonic Wars —Wellington’s Army and the majestic seven-volume History of the Peninsular War. The subjects of study range widely and interestingly. They include a discussion of the views of historians from the time of Herodotus to the nineteenth century, and an account of the Secret Service which, as the author says in his Preface, illustrates “the underworld of political and military intrigue which escapes notice in general histories”. Here, too, are Oman’s seminal reflections on “Column and Line in the Peninsula”. Along with his study of the Battle of Maida, also included in the book, this was the result of his investigation of British tactics before the Peninsular War, upon which he based his comprehension of Wellington’s method of warfare. The discussion of Napoleon’s use of cavalry draws from the whole period of the campaigns of 1800 to 1815, arising from the author’s endeavours to discover the principles according to which Napoleon’s generals handled cavalry during the Spanish War. The reappearance of these absorbing studies by one of the great masters of British military history will be warmly welcomed by specialist historians and general readers alike.”-Print ed.
The essential bibliography of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleon was an artilleryman before he was an emperor. He understood the power and effectiveness of cannon and their ability to pulverise defences, reduce fortresses and destroy attacks. In return, the guns won Napoleon battles. This impressive study chronicles the story of the guns and men during the twenty-three years of almost continuous warfare from 1792_1815: from the battlefields of continental Europe to the almost primitive terrain of North America and of the seas, lakes and rivers that connected them. Detailed technical information is accompanied by vivid descriptions which allow the reader to imagine what it must have been liked to manoeuvre and man the guns in a variety of situations _ whether on the march or on the battlefield. Based on years of research into regulations of the period, eyewitness accounts of artillerymen and material culled from official reports, the scope and depth of material will satisfy the serious researcher, while the lively narrative will appeal to the casual reader.
While Napoleon prepared his army, on the coast of France, for an invasion of England that would never come, Russia and Austria prepared to move against his rear. Napoleon turned on the allies and crushed them in one of history's greatest campaigns. The following year, he met the legendary army of Frederick the Great and annihilated it completely. The year after it was Russia's turn again, and though the northern winter was the major foe, it could not save the Tsar. The world, and warfare, would never be the same again. The Empires of Russia, Austria, Prussia and Britain were not weak. How had Napoleon done this? Why were his methods, and his army, different?