viernes, noviembre 30, 2007
Peso estimado: 1285 gramos
"En el 39 Hitler desencadenó la máquina de guerra más grande de la historia y, sin embargo, menos de seis años después, las fuerzas combatientes de Alemania yacían aplastadas y derrotadas."
Esta es la tapa
Este año salió Una guerra de exterminio. Hitler contra Stalin.
Autor REES LAURENCE
Colección MEMORIA CRITICA
Peso 0,93 Kg.Edición 2006,en Tela
"La guerra que enfrentó a la Alemania nazi y a la Unión Soviética no fue una parte del conflicto mundial, sino otra guerra más brutal en que millones de seres humanos fueron exterminados deliberadamente.
Laurence Rees, el autor de Auschwitz, nos cuenta esta historia en toda su dramática verdad, utilizando nueva documentación -que incluye fotografías de los archivos secretos de la NKVD- y el testimonio de los supervivientes de ambos bandos."
y esta es la tapa
No digo que haya copiado la foto a propósito, pero podrían haberse cerciorado de que ya había un libro con el mismo diseño.
Concluímos: las editoriales también tienen sus creativos.
Esta es la desgrabación taquigráfica.
"McCain: . . . I just want to also say that Congressman Paul, I've heard him now in many debates talk about bringing our troops home, and about the war in Iraq and how it's failed.
And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed...
We allowed ...
Cooper: Allow him his answer. Allow him his answer, please.
McCain: We allowed -- we allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement.
And I want to tell you something, sir. I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and their message to you is -- the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is, "Let us win. Let us...
Cooper: We will -- please. We will get to Iraq...
All right. Let me just remind everyone that these people did take a lot of time to ask these questions, and so we do want direct questions to -- the answers. We will get to Iraq later, but I do have to allow Congressman Paul 30 seconds to respond.
Paul: Absolutely. The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?
What John is saying is just totally distorted.
(Protester shouts off-mike)
Paul: He doesn't even understand the difference between non- intervention and isolationism. I'm not an isolationism, (shakes head) em, isolationist. I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel. But I don't want to send troops overseas using force to tell them how to live. We would object to it here and they're going to object to us over there.
The rest is here. This is what Ron Paul said about Iraq:
"Paul: The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That's the most important thing that we can do.
Already, part of their country has been taken back. In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn't worked. There's less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south.
The British are leaving. The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They're in charge up north -- the Shia -- the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there's no violence up there or nearly as much.
So, let the people have their country back again. Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours -- we trade with them, the president comes here.
What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam.
So it's time for us to take care of America first.
Prueba de que Ron Paul tiene un nucleo duro de seguidores disconformes con las opciones estatistas es la encuesta de CNN.
jueves, noviembre 29, 2007
Es una trampa en la que han caído las compañías al darse el lujo de experimentar hasta lo carente de estética. ¿Probar no cuesta nada? Depende de las ventas. Pero si fuera accionista de estas compañías estaría a disgusto.
Mercedes Benz CLS 500. ¿Por qué no anulaban directamente las ventanillas de atrás?
miércoles, noviembre 28, 2007
martes, noviembre 27, 2007
¿Qué pasa cuando se copia del diseño de la trompa de un Audi A4 (2005) y un Volvo S80 (2006)?
Queda un Mitsubishi Lancer GTS (2008)
Robémosle un poco de la parrilla, de la entrada de aire, de los faroles...y magia.
Face to face un Volvo S40 (2008) y un Mitsubishi Lancer (2008)
Ver encima los nombres de algunos modelos de Mitsubishi: Dignity, Pajero, Pajero junior, Pajero sport, Pinin, Pistachio, Carisma, Dingo, Mighty Max...
Sidewinder lanzado por F-16
F-16´s lanzando flares
Tengo muchas dudas y ninguna certeza. ¿Volverá Iraq a tener fuerza aérea? ¿Se estarán entrenando pilotos? ¿Qué aviones le puede regalar EEUU? ¿Tendría alguna utilidad una fuerza aérea iraquí?
Por el momento lo que queda es este derivado de MiG 21 abandonado en la base de Al-asar.
domingo, noviembre 25, 2007
Como, merced a la red en la que estamos inmersos, lo mejor que podía hacer ya lo hice, esto es, pasar con rapidez unos pocos bits de información con el enlace una teoría invalorable en bits y bytes, ahora me permito algún divague vagamente relacionado, echando mano a uno de mis libritos de cabecera. En Milagros económicos (1995), Alain Peyrefitte analiza 4 casos de estudio: el milagro holandés -y los rasgos de la mentalidad económica holandesa-, el milagro inglés -y el ethos del comerciante británico-, el milagro norteamericano -y la invención de un país o el país de la invención- y el milagro japonés -y los animadores de Japón-. Tomando las ideas-fuerza y algunas citas de lujo, a este último caso nos abocaremos sucintamente. Destaca, ante todo, la capacidad japonesa de imitar todo lo que funciona. Creo que no vivió para verla, pero Peyrefitte hubiera elogiado la película El último Samurai. Quien evoque el recuerdo de esta auténtica fotografía de la era Meiji comprenderá más gráficamente lo apuntado a continuación.
En 1853 el comodoro Perry fuerza la entrada a la bahía de Tokio, desembarca a sus marines e intima al gobierno de un Japón todavía feudal y agrario a abrirse al comercio internacional. Al regresar seis meses después, Perry recibe la respuesta afirmativa, volcada al tratado de Kanagawa -"de paz y amistad"- , en el cual consigue el acceso de barcos norteamericanos a dos puertos. Enseguida Japón firma más de estos "tratados desiguales" con países europeos: primero Gran Bretaña, luego Rusia, y seguirán Francia, Prusia y Holanda dentro del lustro, además de renovados acuerdos con EEUU y Gran Bretaña. A partir de 1858 Japón compraba armas norteamericanas. La resistencia a ampliar los tratados, o bien a cumplirlos, provocó no obstante la intervención y bombardeo en varios puertos por parte de europeos entre 1863 y 1865, en los últimos suspiros del shogunato.
"Entre los regalos ofrecidos por el Comodoro Perry figuraba un aparato eléctrico de telegrafía y un modelo reducido de ferrocarril, junto con los rieles necesarios para establecer un recorrido circular de 400 metros, una locomotora y un carro. El 7 de enero de 1870 se transmite el primer mensaje telegráfico entre Yokohama y Tokio. El 26 del mismo mes se inaugura la línea de telégrafo."
La imitación japonesa de todo lo extraño es selectiva y la adopción de una institución suele no revestir carácter definitivo, como se ve en la organización del ejército.
En 1869 (año de la apertura del canal de Suez y del primer ferrocarril transcontinental en EEUU) es adoptado el modelo del ejército francés asociado a la gloria de los Napoleón. Poco después ese ejército es derrotado en Sedán, pero no es hasta 1879 en que Japón tomará para sí el modelo prusiano.
Con el envío de estudiantes extramuros, el copiado casi exacto de la organización política, económica y social de países más avanzadas ayuda a componer un cuadro en donde Japón pasa a tener un
parlamento al estilo inglés, códigos civiles y penales de corte francés, así como la gendarmería; ejército prusiano. Aclimataron su modelo al presupuesto norteamericano, la relojería suiza, los rodamientos suecos, las barcazas noruegas, la óptica y el derecho comercial alemanes, la escuela primaria francesa, el gymnasium y la investigación alemana, los campus norteamericanos. Y sobre todo, luego de un período dirigista, estimularon la iniciativa privada, las empresas , los puertos, la Bolsa, los seguros y los bancos, siguiendo el modelo anglosajón.
Los chinos, en cambio, convencidos de haber alcanzado de una vez por todas la perfección, tomaron con sumo rechazo la imposición de la apertura del comercio en Nanking en 1842 tras la derrota en la primera guerra del opio. Abiertos a la fuerza aunque todavía mentalmente cerrados, los chinos experimentaban un prodigioso complejo de superioridad, creyéndose el centro del mundo. China se encierra soberbia en su civilización. No quiere modificar su comportamiento, y como consecuencia deberá resignar riquezas y poder. Japón modifica la actitud tradicional y en el lapso de una generación produce una metamorfosis sobre cuya tracción vencerá a China, el gigante que con desprecio los llamaba "enanos".
En un apartado con el título de "No es posible vivir en el aislamiento", Peyrefitte recuerda como "el 17 de septiembre de 1894, en la desembocadura del Ya-lu, cruceros y acorazados producidos por modernas acerías y astilleros japoneses, tripulados por marinos y oficiales japoneses ciudadosamente entrenados conforme al modelo inglés y norteamericano, hunden o expulsan a la flota china, cuyos hombres carecían de entrenamiento, por decir lo menos. En realidad, se presencia el enfrentamiento entre la Edad Media y los tiempos modernos".
"En la víspera de la batalla, un mensajero inglés había entregado una misiva del almirante japonés Ito a su homólogo chino el almirante Ting, ex camarada y amigo transformado en adversario. Esta comunicación entre soldados aclara el notable contraste entre un Japón modernizado y una China petrificada. Es un documento que no puede permanecer ignorado:
"La situación presente de vuestro país [...] resulta de un sistema. Por ejemplo, designáis a un hombre para cumplir una función sobre la base exclusiva de su erudición; es, por cierto, una costumbre milenaria. Es indudable que el sistema funcionó mientras vuestra nación estuvo aislada, pero hoy ha fenecido. Ante las veloces mutaciones del mundo ya no es posible vivir en el aislamiento".
"Conoceís perfectamente las penosas condiciones del imperio japonés hasta hace treinta años, y cómo nos hemos dedicado a eliminar las condiciones adversas rechazando el viejo sistema y adpotando el nuevo. Vuestra patria también debe aceptar esta nueva manera de vivir. Si lo hace, todo funcionará bien. Si no, sólo puede derrumbarse."
"Quien desea servir a su país con lealtad no debe aeptar el verse arrastrado por la gran marea que amenaza. Sería mejor que reformara al imperio más antiguo del planeta, que posee una historia gloriosa y un territorio inmenso, tornándolo inexpugnable para siempre."
"Venid por lo tanto a mi país, para aguardar el momento en que vuestra patria os llame para emprender las reformas".
"Después de la batalla el destinatario de la misiva se suicida, con el rostro vuelto respetuosamente hacia Pekín."
En 1904-05 Japón dará un verdadero batacazo al derrotar a otro gigante, Rusia. Absorto, el mundo empieza a mirar a Japón con asombro y temor a la vez. En 1914 la carta más segura para tutelar su ansia expansionista será jugar a favor de la triple entente, del lado de Gran Bretaña. La proyección desmedida sobre China, el sudeste asiático y Oceanía termina en desastre al chocar con EEUU. Entonces se recuperaría, celebrando en 1968 el centésimo aniversario de la era Meiji como el tercer grande, a la zaga de EEUU y la URSS, y el segundo grande en 1990, tras la implosión soviética.
En el 1994 su producción industrial equivalía a la de Francia y Alemania juntas. Más impresionantemente aún, era igual a la de todos los demás países de Asia, incluídos China y la Siberia ex soviética. Es el primer fabricante mundial de automóviles, motocicletas, ciclomotores, navíos mercantes, máquinas-herramienta, máquinas de coser, aparatos fotográficos, cámaras (de televisión, de cine o para aficionados), microscopios, semicondoctures, electrónica para el gran público (equipos de sonido, televisores, transistores), climatizadores, fotocopiadores, etc. De las doscientas empresas más grandes del mundo (excluyendo a Estados Unidos), 45 son japonesas. Más del 70% de los capitales importados a Estados Unidos proviene de Japón. Su balanza de pagos arroja un balance favorable de US$ 145 mil millones, cuando la de EEUU presenta un déficit de US% 173 mil millones. Mientras Norteamérica se endeuda, Japón acumula excedentes. En un siglo se ha transformado en un verdadero laboratorio del crecimiento.
Eso fue mediados de los 90´s. Desde ahí retoma Barnett.
sábado, noviembre 24, 2007
Claro que siempre hay resistencia a aceptar la obesidad como un problema para la salud, cuando no directamente negación, diría un psicoanalista.
viernes, noviembre 23, 2007
Ahora, volviendo a Oken...
que ladris, este lo compre a 13,90 en yenny
habra que comprar ofertas de manfredi en coto
jajaja y como puede haber esa diferencia
en realidad es diferencia de ediciones
ah, media trucha la de yenny?
pero bueno la edicion que yo compre esta buena, se lee bien, es grande tapa dura
es de una coleccion
y te la leiste?
en cuanto tiempo haces mierda un libro de estos?
q se leen rapido
ta buena es larga, pasa que te cuenta todo lo que paso antes, habla de las dos guerras punicas, anibal recien aparece a la mitad del libro que son 600 paginas
despende, ese no es de lectura tan facil
en la mitad
este de alejandro del mismo autor tambien me esta costando
sabes de que equipo era hincha?
de caragineses juniors
cartagines hay un equipo de costa rica
no, mas facil
nooo de arsenal?
ah hoy juega la seleccion ladri
a ver si ramon mete otro tiro libre
el otro dia un pelotudo que estaba en el imbatible de susana a sus hijos les puso Ariadna y amilcar
que tragaleche, habrá pensado en el padre de anibal
ayher hubo buen nivel en el imbatible
pero es cualquier cosa cuando desempatan con botonera sin errores
pero el tragaleche le pifio con el trinvirato
q tragaleche, como puede equivocarlo
si es como un cantito lo de chiclana paso y serratea
jaja hasta yo la sabia esa
pero a veces los hijos de puta saben tanto de tantas cosas
como donde mierda queda tal golfo, y quien compuso tal sinfonia
a mi donde mas me complican es en literatura
bueh che, me voy a la mierda
quien escribio eta mierda
yo q mierda se
claro, encima obras viejas
jajaj bueh chau
jueves, noviembre 22, 2007
Seguimos viendo libros que despierten el interés, no por ello coincidiendo en todo cuanto se diga.
Don´t know much about history: Everything you need to know about american history but never learned, de Kenneth Davis. En su página el autor presenta de esta manera al libro:
Who really discovered America? What was “the shot heard ‘round the world”? Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: Did he or didn’t he?Para quien de guste los paralelismos, copio uno del libro:
From the arrival of Columbus through the bizarre election of 2000 and beyond, Davis carries readers on a rollicking ride through more than 500 years of American history. In this updated edition of the classic anti-textbook, he debunks, recounts, and serves up the real story behind the myths and fallacies of American history.
How did the colonies win the war?
Does this sound familiar? The world’s most powerful nation is caught up in a war against a small guerrilla army. This superpower must resupply its troops from thousands of miles away, a costly endeavor, and support for the war at home is tentative, dividing the nation’s people and leadership. The rebels also receive financial and military support from the superpower’s chief military and political antagonist. As the war drags on and casualties mount, generals are disgraced and the rebels gain momentum, even in defeat.
The United States in Vietnam? It could be. But it is also the story of the British loss of the American colonies. There are numerous parallels Say You Want a Revolution 101 between the two conflicts. For the United States, substitute England under George III, the dominant world power of the day, but caught up in a draining colonial conflict that stretches its resources. For the Vietcong, substitute the colonial army under Washington, a ragtag collection if ever there was one, who used such unheard-of tactics as disguising themselves in British uniforms and attacking from the rear. British generals, accustomed to precisely drawn battle formations, were completely taken aback, just as American commanders schooled in the tank warfare of World War II were unprepared for the jungles of Vietnam. For foreign support, substitute England’s chief European adversary, France (as well as Spain and the Netherlands) for the Soviet (and Red Chinese) supplying of the Vietcong.
There can be no question that without France’s armies, money, and supplies (as much as 90 percent of the American gunpowder used in the war came from France), the American forces could not have won. Why did the French do it? Certainly King Louis XVI and his charming wife, Marie Antoinette, had no particular sympathy for antimonarchist, democratic rabble. Their motive, actually the strategy of a pro-American minister, the Comte de Vergennes, was simple: to bloody England’s nose in any way they could and perhaps even win back some of the territory lost after the Seven Years War. Had the monarchy and aristocracy of France known that their own subjects would be greatly inspired by the American Revolution a few years later, the French royalty might have thought the matter over a bit longer. An American loss might have saved their necks. C’est la vie!
Equally important to America’s victory was the consistent bungling of the British high command, which treated the war as an intolerable inconvenience. At any number of points in the fighting, particularly in the early years, before France was fully committed, aggressive generalship from various British commanders might have turned the tide. If Washington’s army had been destroyed after Long Island or Germantown . . . If Congress had been captured and shipped off to England for trial— and most likely the noose . . . And what if England had “won”? Could it possibly have maintained sovereignty over a large, prosperous, diverse, and expanding America, a vast territory far richer in resources than England? It is unlikely.
Independence was a historical inevitability, in one form or another. It was simply an idea whose time had come, and America was not alone, as the revolutions that followed in Europe would prove. The British had to weigh the costs of maintaining their dominance against its returns. They would have seen, as America did in Vietnam, and as the Soviets did more recently in Afghanistan, that the costs of such wars of colonial domination are usually more than a nation is willing or able to bear. It’s a pity that America’s military and political leaders never learned a lesson from our own past, a fact that speaks volumes about the arrogance of power.
What did America win?
The Peace of Paris, negotiated for the United States by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, was formally signed on February 3, 1783. At the same time, England signed treaties with America’s allies, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The most important thing the treaty did was to recognize the independence of the United States of America. Beyond that, it marked the boundaries of the new nation. The United States now meant everything from the Atlantic west to the Mississippi River, save New Orleans and the Floridas. This area was ceded by England back to Spain as part of New Spain, the massive empire that now stretched from South America north, well into coastal California, and including much of the American southwest, east to the Florida peninsula. The northern border was set at the Great Lakes and along the provincial frontiers of Quebec and Nova Scotia. During the eight years of the American Revolution, there had been more than 1,300 land and sea battles. American losses have been calculated conservatively at 25,324. Of these, only 6,284 were killed in action. More than 10,000 died of diseases such as smallpox and dysentery, and another 8,500 died while captives of the British. The victory also left America with a considerable foreign debt. In a report to Congress several years later, Alexander Hamilton would place this debt at $11,710,379 (in addition to domestic and state debts totaling more than $65 million). This enormous debt was just one of the problems that would threaten the new nation in its first years of independence. Behaving like thirteen independent countries, the states churned out worthless paper money. New York began to place taxes on every farmer’s boat that crossed the Hudson River from New Jersey.
Must Read: Liberty!: The American Revolution by Thomas Fleming; Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution by A. J. Langguth; The Creation of America: Through Revolution to Empire by Francis Jennings for a very different view of the Revolution as the work of a privileged elite, dreaming of empire.
miércoles, noviembre 21, 2007
¿Después cómo no lo iba a andar buscando la policía?
Entre que quedó hecho bolsa y que le anotaron la patente, Claude tuvo que desprenderse rápido del jeep. Con el siguiente le fue mejor, por poco.
martes, noviembre 20, 2007
China proyecta respecto al Tibet, -sostiene Slavor- una idea muy similar a la que un amigo me había comentado, a través de la cual EEUU podría cambiar Irán a mediano y largo plazo. Repasémosla:
EEUU tendría que bombardear a Irán y países por el estilo con productos comerciales. Es el ingreso a los hábitos de consumo, innato en toda persona, lo que alejará a estas sociedades de sus más obsoletas costumbres. Suguiendo con la idea (más metafórica que operacional), sobre tierras persas EEUU tendría que arrojar DVDs, pornografía, Coca cola, hamburguesas, computadoras, todo lo cual limará las vetustas jerarquías tradicionales que impiden realizar a las personas de carne y hueso su voluntad de consumo. Ver sino el colapso de la URSS y las reformas estructurales de países estatistas durante gran parte del siglo XX.
Para Slavor, el Tibet es una teocracia, por lo que, para combatirla
en los últimos años, los chinos cambiaron su estrategia en el Tíbet. Además de la coerción militar, apelan cada vez más a la colonización económica y étnica. Lhasa se está convirtiendo en una versión china del salvaje oeste capitalista, con bares de karaoke y parques temáticos budistas semejantes a Disneylandia.Agrega que al gobierno chino no lo anima un sentido antirreligioso; por el contrario, encuentra en la religión una fuente de estabilidad social, pero también inquieta en la medida en que escapa al control y monopolio estatal. Debe recordarse el carácter totalitario del gobierno chino, al menos el aspecto social y político, con el subsiguiente estado de permanente desconfianza sobre cualquier actividad privada.
En pocas palabras, las imágenes de los medios de brutales soldados chinos que aterrorizan a monjes budistas ocultan una transformación socioeconómica de estilo estadounidense mucho más efectiva: en diez o veinte años, los tibetanos quedarán reducidos a la situación de los pueblos originarios estadounidenses en los Estados Unidos. Beijing por fin aprendió la lección: ¿qué es el poder opresivo de las fuerzas de la Policía secreta, los campos y los Guardias Rojos de destruir monumentos antiguos en comparación con el poder del capitalismo desenfrenado de socavar todas la relaciones sociales tradicionales?
lunes, noviembre 19, 2007
¿Y vos, como pronunciás la ll?
domingo, noviembre 18, 2007
El dato llamativo parece ser la edad, 37 años. La misma edad de Julio A. Roca cuando asumió la presidencia, o la de Churchill en 1915 cuando, en el cargo de Primer lord del almirantazgo, le tocó lidiar políticamente con el peso de la operación en los dardanelos.
sábado, noviembre 17, 2007
Cuando Churchill cumplió 80 años un periodista menor de 30 fue a fotografiarlo y le dijo:
- Sir Winston, espero fotografiarlo nuevamente cuando Ud cumpla 90 años.
Respuesta de Churchill:
- Por qué no? Ud parece bastante saludable.
Telegramas intercambiados entre Bernard Shaw (mayor dramaturgo inglés del siglo 20) y Churchill (mayor líder inglés del siglo 20).
Invitación de Bernard Shaw a Churchill:
'Tengo el honor de invitar al digno primer-ministro al estreno de mi obra Pigmalión. Venga y traiga un amigo, si lo tiene.'
Respuesta de Churchill a Bernard Shaw:
'Agradezco al ilustre escritor la honrosa invitación. Infelizmente no podré concurrir a la primera presentación. Iré a la segunda, si se realiza.'
El General Montgomery estaba siendo homenajeado, por vencer a Rommel en la batalla de África, en la IIª Guerra Mundial.
Discurso del General Montgomery:
'No fumo, no bebo, no prevarico y soy un héroe'
Churchill oyó el discurso y con celos, retrucó:
'Yo fumo, bebo, prevarico y soy el jefe de él.'
Otra en el Parlamento inglés:
Una diputada le dice a Churchill;
-´Señor, Ud esta borracho.´
Y el le contesta;
-´Señora, Ud es fea. Mañana yo estaré sobrio
Otro chiste, relacionado con los autos feos
A quién se le puede ocurrir comprar un Chrysler PT Cruiser?
Estoy con poco tiempo, voy a hacer un post ladri dedicado a dos reviews de libros que no leí,
2 reviews hechos para el Michigan war studies review.
Uno sobre la cultura de la guerra en la Alemania imperial, informativo y complementario para los que vieron el otro jueves el muy buen capítulo sobre las escenarios coloniales y ultramarinos de la serie documental sobre la Gran guerra emitida por Encuentro. Allí en Africa, Asia y en el mar, donde peleaban como caballeros, el review de este libro viene a dar otra idea. El primer genocidio del siglo es un gesto poco caballeresco.
Otro sobre una tesis, fallida según el crítico, de que las guerras napoleónicas de las que hablábamos el otro dia vendrían a ser la primera guerra total de la historia, por ser total el grado en que se involocra la población civil.
Aunque exagerado, es pintoresco el contraste que marca el autor entre esta supuesta primera guerra total inaugurada con la revolución francesa, y el old way. En la cita hay algo le va sonar a Mack y algo a Hugo.
The first two chapters deal with the epoch before the French Revolution—the Ancien Régime. Here we learn that warfare in the Old Regime was an expression of aristocratic culture and therefore a fairly ridiculous business, essentially a sport for the nobility, who led the armies of Europe in a kind of military minuet or chess game, each side maneuvering to achieve minor advantage while avoiding battles, which were indeed rare but often very bloody, further encouraging avoidance. The evident restraint with which the great powers fought one another, and in so doing observed the rules that protected civilians and prisoners of war from war’s violence, reflected the strictly limited aims of warfare itself. Bell builds on this picture of contemporary limited war to expose at some length the hopes of Enlightened Europe, articulated by men of Reason from Fénelon to Kant, that under a rational New Regime this absurd spectacle would simply disappear. The weakness of these chapters is that on both themes he has exaggerated greatly.Bell’s account simply ignores other determinants of limited warfare in the Old Regime—the balance of European power, the tremendous financial burden of maintaining armed forces and replacing their losses, operational methods imposed by primitive infantry weapons and highly developed systems of fortification, and situationally defined limits on strategic objectives. In doing so, Bell has rehearsed an old, flimsy stereotype of Old Regime warfare—effete generals leading brave but incompetent officers who command peasant‑soldiers too brutalized to run away in battle.
Cuánto nos dicen los conflictos del hombre.
jueves, noviembre 15, 2007
El por qué no te callas del rey se aproxima a finalizar el ciclo de vida de toda noticia, llamada a durar no más de una semana. Antes de que la novedad se termine de desvanecer, hago un corto comentario.
En La nación online se participó de una encuesta en la que hubo un número inusualmente alto de participantes (16.335). La mayoría calificó de correcta la reacción del rey, mientras otra porción importante la encontró entendible. Sumadas las dos opciones, podría decirse que el 77% de los encuestrados consideró que el rey tuvo buenos motivos para ofuscarse. En los días en que la votación estaba en curso me pronuncié por la opción de entendible. Asumí que, si bien no se expresó en la mejor forma, la irritación del rey no es una extrañeza si no se la desliga de la actitud de Chavez de punzar constantemente hasta provocar, como en este caso, el hartazgo.
He modificado algo la opinión. Ahora creo que la reacción del rey no sólo fue entendible, sino correcta. Un poco protocolar Chávez, siempre reclamando protagonismo, aquí fue frenado en seco e indignado por maneras con tanto de protocolar como las suyas. Chávez, que se jacta de salir siempre victorioso, aquí recibió una bofetada, por lo que ahora exige disculpas del rey. Aparte, la del borbón fue una respuesta humana, lo cual lo aleja de su imponderable e inmaculada dignidad y lo acerca al común de sus vasallos, sanguíneo, aunque sea de color azul. Sería provechoso contar con una encuesta que mida la evolución de la popularidad del rey en España, dado que no sería aventurado aseverar que ha aumentado por toda la repercusión mediática. Aunque sea cómo ícono pop motivo de cuanto ring tone y remix musical se haya ensamblado en los últimos días, Juan Carlos ha llevado la figura real más allá de las fronteras del mundo iberoamericano, contribuyendo prolongar la existencia de la casa al no vérsela como algo ajeno y desafectado del sentimiento de muchos de nosotros, los mortales.
¿Ameritará todo esto, en un futuro, la realización de una película como La Reina? El título ya está puesto: ¿Por qué no te callas?.
Pero donde se equivocó algún diseñador de Volvo fue con la genial idea de hacer un modelo rural tan largo y cuadrado que bién podría servir de coche fúnebre.
Qué lugubre el V70.
Se tiene que llevar el premio al coche más cuadrado y al coche más funebrero. Bien espacioso, para acomodar a los chicos y llevarlos al cementerio.
martes, noviembre 13, 2007
Me encanta este The fall of rome: and the end of civilization de Bryan Ward-Perkins. Habla de ...la caída del imperio romano de occidente, retornando a las tesis clásicas con fundamentos y evidencias renovadas. Léase, que Roma no pudo pagar un ejército capaz de mantener a raya a los invasivos pueblos germanos, y que la integración con éstos lejos estuvo de ser pacífica. Toda diplomacia entablada era condicionada por el pago de tributos y la concesión de tierras. Las invasiones produjeron una espiral caracterizada por la devastación de la tierra, la subsecuente imposibilidad de recolectar tributos de los romanos empobrecidos, y por consiguiente de mantener un ejército de frontera permanente, panorama este que, agravado, generaba divisiones internas e inestabilidad política -los emperadores duraban en promedio 2 años-, consumiendo más recursos, económicos y militares. Copio las páginas 67-75 en que, entre tantas otras tratadas en el libro, se ven 3 cuestiones:
-la política de appeasement ante los bárbaros, vista desde Roma y vista desde el interior.
-sobre si la caída de Roma era inevitable
-¿cómo es que el imperio de oriente sí sobrevivió? El que le guste y quiera más, ya sabe.
Selling out the Provincials
Because the military position of the imperial government in the fifth century was weak, and because the Germanic invaders could be appeased, the Romans on occasion made treaties with particular groups, formally granting them territory on which to settle in return for their alliance. Four such agreements are recorded in fifth-century Gaul: with the Visigoths, who were given part of Aquitaine, centred on the valley of the Garonne, in 419; with the Burgundians, settled on the upper Rhone near Lake Geneva in about 443; with a group of Alans, granted ¡¥empty lands¡¦ around Valence in about 440; and with another Alan group some two years later, settled in an unspecified part of northern Gaul. In recent scholarship these treaties have received a disproportionate amount of attention, and have been paraded as evidence of a new-found spirit of cooperation between incoming Germanic peoples and the Romans, both those at the centre of power and those in the provinces. But is it really likely that Roman provincials were cheered by the arrival on their doorsteps of large numbers of heavily armed barbarians under the command of their own king? To understand these treaties, we need to appreciate the circumstances of the time, and to distinguish between the needs and desires of the local provincials, who actually had to host the settlers, and those of a distant imperial government that made the arrangements. I doubt very much that the inhabitants of the Garonne valley in 419 were happy to have the Visigothic army settled amongst them; but the government in Italy, which was under considerable military and financial pressure, might well have agreed this settlement, as a temporary solution to a number of pressing problems. It bought an important alliance at a time when the imperial finances were in a parlous condition. At the same time it removed a roving and powerful army from the Mediterranean heartlands of the empire, converting it into a settled ally on the fringes of a reduced imperial core. Siting these allies in Aquitaine meant that they could be called upon to fight other invaders, in both Spain and Gaul. They could also help contain the revolt of the Bacaudae, which had recently erupted to the north, in the region of the Loire. It is even possible that the settlement of these Germanic troops was in part a punishment on the aristocracy of Aquitaine, for recent disloyalty to the emperor. Some or all of these considerations may have weighed with the imperial government when settling the Visigoths in Aquitaine, particularly if the arrangement was envisaged as only temporary until the Roman military position improved. The 419 settlement was almost certainly modelled on earlier arrangements made with Gothic armies in the Balkans, none of which had proved permanent. The interests of the centre when settling Germanic peoples, and those of the locals who had to live with the arrangements, certainly did not always coincide. The granting to some Alans of lands in northern Gaul in about 442, on the orders of the Roman general Aetius, was resisted in vain by at least some of the local inhabitants: The Alans, to whom lands in northern Gaul had been assigned by the patrician Aetius to be divided with the inhabitants, subdued by force of arms those who resisted, and, ejecting the owners, forcibly took possession of the land. But, from the point of view of Aetius and the imperial government, the same settlement offered several potential advantages. It settled one dangerous group of invaders away from southern Gaul (where Roman power and resources were concentrated); it provided at least the prospect of an available ally; and it cowed the inhabitants of northern Gaul, many of whom had recently been in open revolt against the empire.40 All this, as our text makes very clear, cost the locals a very great deal. But the cost to the central government was negligible or non-existent, since it is unlikely that this area of Gaul was any longer providing significant tax revenues or military levies for the emperor. If things went well (which they did not), the settlement of these Alans might even have been a small step along the path of reasserting imperial control in northern Gaul. The imperial government was entirely capable of selling its provincial subjects downriver, in the interests of short-term political and military gain. In 475, despite earlier heroic resistance to the Visigoths, Clermont was surrendered to them by the imperial government, in exchange for the more important towns of Arles and Marseille. Sidonius Apollinaris, bishop of Clermont and a leader of the resistance to the Visigoths, recorded his bitterness: "We have been enslaved, as the price of other people's security." Sidonius' opposition to this policy of appeasement proved correct within a year, Arles and Marseille had fallen back into Visigothic hands, this time definitively.
It may have been the intention of the imperial government that Roman rule would continue within the territories where Germanic peoples were settled by treaty. For instance, this appears to have been the hope in Aquitaine in 419 the imperial government planned to go on ruling the Garonne valley through the normal structures of provincial civilian administration; the newly settled Visigoths were, in theory, a friendly and obedient force settled on territory that was still Roman.42 But, whatever the intention, the introduction of large numbers of heavily armed and experienced fighters under the rule of their own king in reality led to the rapid transfer of effective power. In the 420's, Paulinus of Pella, a Roman aristocrat from near Bordeaux, tried to regain some lost estates within the area of Visigothic settlement. He did not seek redress from the imperial government in Italy, nor from a Roman official in Bordeaux, but attempted to exploit his sons¡¦ personal contacts with the newly settled Goths and with the Gothic king. At about the same time, the Goths were also showing signs of a decidedly independent foreign policy.
They aided the Roman state on several occasions in campaigns against Vandals and Alans in Spain; but in the 420s and 430s they launched a series of attacks on Arles, the seat of the Roman Prefect of the Gauls, with the apparent aim of extorting more land or resources from the empire. Already in the 420s Aquitaine was an independent Visigothic state, rather than a Roman province that happened to be hosting an allied army. Whatever the original intentions of the imperial government, effective power had been ceded to the Visigoths, and, as it happened, this situation was never reversed.
Was the Fall of the West Inevitable?
All empires have, sooner or later, come to an end; so it is a reasonable assumption that the Roman empire was destined at some point to fall or to disintegrate. But this does not mean that the fall of the West had to occur during the fifth century; indeed, at a number of points along the line, things might have gone differently, and the Roman position might have improved, rather than worsened. Bad luck, or bad judgement, played a very important part in what actually happened. For instance, had the emperor Valens won a stunning victory at Hadrianopolis in 376 (perhaps by waiting for the western reinforcements that were already on their way), the 'Gothic problem' might have been solved, and a firm example would have been set to other barbarians beyond the Danube and Rhine. Similarly, had Stilicho in 402 followed up victories in northern Italy over the Goths with their crushing defeat, rather than allowing them to retreat back into the Balkans, it is much less likely that another Germanic group in 405-6, and the Vandals, Alans, and Sueves in 405, would have taken their chances within the western empire. Even after things had started to go seriously wrong for the West in 407, the downhill slide was not necessarily irreversible. A few successes could have begun an improvement in imperial fortunes, as they had done in the second half of the third century. Indeed, in the period 411-21, under the generalship of Constantius and before his premature death, there was a partial revival of Roman fortunes, with the pacification of Italy and the reassertion of imperial control over much of southern Gaul and parts of Spain. It is true that the subsequent Vandal attack on Africa in 429, the eventual fall of Carthage in 439, and the beginning of Vandal sea-raiding were devastating blows that removed the western empire's last secure and lucrative tax base. But even these events were not necessarily fatal major expeditions against the Vandals were planned in 441 and 468 with considerable eastern assistance, as well as an independent western effort in 460. All three failed miserably -that of 468 ending in a disastrous defeat at sea, but, had any of them succeeded, the recovery of African resources, and the reassertion of imperial prestige, might have enabled the empire to extend its successes into other regions (as indeed eventually happened when Justinian crushingly defeated the Vandals in 533, and went on to reconquer Italy). If events had fallen out differently, it is even possible to envisage a resurgent western empire under a successful Germanic dynasty. Theoderic the Ostrogoth ruled Italy and adjacent parts of the Danubian provinces and Balkans from 493; from 511 he also effectively controlled the Visigothic kingdom in Spain and many of the former Visigothic territories in southern Gaul, where he reinstated the traditional Roman office of 'Praetorian Prefect for the Gauls' based in Arles. This looks like the beginnings of a revived western empire, under Germanic kings. As things turned out, all this was brought to an end by Justinian's invasion of Italy in 535. But, given better luck, later Ostrogothic kings might have been able to expand on this early success; and who knows? might have revived the imperial title in the West centuries before Charlemagne in 800.
How did the East Survive?
The eastern half of the Roman empire survived the Germanic and Hunnic attacks of this period, to flourish in the fifth and early sixth centuries; indeed it was only a thousand years later, with the Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453, that it came to an end. No account of the fall of the western empire can be fully satisfactory if it does not discuss how the East managed to resist very similar external pressure. Here, I believe, it was primarily good fortune, rather than innately greater strength, that was decisive. Certainly any theory that the East was always much stronger than the West is demolished by the fact that it was the eastern field army that was defeated and massacred at Hadrianopolis in 378. This defeat provoked a profound and immediate eastern crisis: the Balkans were devastated; Constantinople itself was threatened (though saved by the presence of some Arab troops); and Gothic soldiers within the Roman army were slaughtered as a precautionary measure. The loss with all its equipment of perhaps two-thirds of the eastern field army took years of expenditure and effort to repair. Indeed, until the Goths under Alaric entered Italy in 401, it was the eastern emperors, not the western, who occasionally needed military help from the other half of the empire (in 377, 378, 381, 395, and 397). In dealing with the Goths, after their entry into the empire in 376, the eastern emperors alternated between a policy of alliance and one of aggression; but their ambitions after 380 seem to have been limited to containing the Gothic menace, with little hope of destroying it or driving it right out of imperial territory.
The eastern empire was also notably unsuccessful against a fifth-century menace in the Balkans, the Huns, who brought with them the additional problem that they were good at storming cities. The eastern armies never convincingly defeated the Huns in open battle, and suffered some notable disasters, such as the fall and sack of the great fortress town of Naissus in 441; seven years later, an envoy from Constantinople found the city still depopulated and had difficulty finding a place to camp, because the area around was littered with the bones of those killed in the disaster. In 447 the Hunnic leader Attila was able to raise the rate of annual tribute paid to him by the eastern emperor to 2100 pounds of gold (with a further 6000 pounds of gold owing as arrears), a sum sufficient to build almost six churches a year the size of S. Vitale in Ravenna. According to our source for this raise in tribute, which is admittedly far from dispassionate, Roman taxpayers were driven to suicide by the resultant misery. It was in fact a western army, under Aetius, though at this date primarily made up of independent Germanic allies, that eventually inflicted a significant defeat on Attila, at the battle of the Catalaunian Fields in 451.
The decisive factor that weighed in favour of the East was not the greater power of its armies and their consequent greater success in battle, but a single chance of geography¡Xa thin band of sea (the Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles), in places less than 700 metres wide, that separates Asia from Europe. During the fifth century, this natural line of defence was given considerable human support, through the construction of fortifications that turned Constantinople into the greatest fortress of the Roman world. Standing on the Bosphorus¡¦s European shore, Constantinople became a bulwark against enemies in the Balkans, defended as it was by formidable defensive works Long Walls, sealing off the whole peninsula that led to the straits and to the city, and then the extraordinary triple land-walls of Constantinople itself . But it was the sea, and Roman naval domination, that were decisive for the survival of the eastern empire¡Xinvaders from the north could have bypassed Constantinople, to wreak havoc on the interior of the empire, except that the straits and the Roman navy presented an insurmountable obstacle. It is not surprising that in 419 a law was issued in the East threatening death to 'those who have betrayed to the barbarians the art, previously unknown to them, of building ships'.
The straits protected the largest part of the eastern empire’s tax base. Although the Goths and Huns were repeatedly able to devastate the Balkans and Greece, even as far as the Peloponnese, the presence of the sea meant that they were never able to cross into Asia Minor. Consequently the richest provinces of the East, from Constantinople to the Nile, were untouched by the troubles of the late fourth and fifth centuries, except for one daring raid in 395 by a group of Huns, over the Caucasus, through Armenia, and into Syria. By far the largest part of the eastern empire¡¦s tax base (probably well over two-thirds) was safe, and, indeed, during the fifth century enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. The loss of territory and security in the Balkans was serious, and always threatened Constantinople, which during the fifth and sixth centuries became the fixed residence and capital of the eastern emperors. But it was not disastrous. Within an eastern empire safely supplied by the secure provinces of Asia Minor, the Levant, and Egypt, there could even be a debate as to whether it was better to fight the invaders from the North, or to buy them off with gold and Balkan lands.
War and devastation might of course have been carried into the heart of the eastern empire by other means, and two further factors were needed to guarantee the survival of the East: freedom from civil war, which we have explored above; and peace on the Persian frontier. At the end of the fourth, and throughout the fifth century, the empire was at peace with Persia, except for brief periods of hostility in 421-2 and 441-2. This was partly through good fortune (the Persians often had their own serious problems elsewhere), but also partly through good management. In marked contrast to the experience of the third and fourth centuries, both the Persians and the Romans during the fifth century seem to have realized that war was not always in their best interests, and that negotiated and peaceful settlements over differences were both possible and desirable. The Romans even contributed intermittently to the cost of defence of the Persian 'Caspian Gates', a vital route through the Caucasus, which it was in the interest of both empires to hold against invaders from the steppes.
Peace with Persia, at the end of the fourth and through most of the fifth centuries, was undoubtedly of great importance to the survival and wellbeing of the eastern Roman empire, since, as we have seen, it was impossible to fight successfully on more than one front at a time. Indeed, the Huns took advantage of the two occasions when the empire did get embroiled in Persian wars, in 421-2 and in 442-2 (when there was also a major expedition against Vandal Africa), and immediately launched successful campaigns in the Balkans
The history of the eastern empire might have been completely different if there was no band of sea separating modern Europe and Asia. In fact, if the Goths had been able to follow up their stunning victory at Hadrianopolis in 378 with campaigns and raids deep into Asia Minor and Syria, the East might well have fallen long before the West. Geography, with a little human help, saved it. A similar advantage operated also in the western empire; but unfortunately to lesser effect, and for a much shorter period of time. Thanks to the sea, and Roman naval domination, Africa and the Mediterranean islands (including the rich island of Sicily) were protected from the initial devastation. After sacking Rome in 410, the Goths tried to reach Sicily, but were forced to retreat after marching right to the toe of Italy, where they were unable to cross the Straits of Messina. Five years later, they marched to the foot of Spain, hoping to cross to North Africa, but at the Straits of Gibraltar they were again forced to turn back. Roman naval power in the West could hold these narrow strips of sea as effectively as the eastern navy held the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Unfortunately, however, the West's safe haven (Africa, Sicily, and the other islands) was very much smaller than the equivalent secure provinces in the East, and will have produced a much smaller income: whereas over two-thirds of the East¡¦s tax base was safe, in the West the figure was probably under a third. Even more unfortunately, this too was lost in the years following the successful crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar by the Vandals in 429. By 439 they had conquered Carthage and the richest provinces of Africa, and soon afterwards they began a period of conquest and raiding by sea that severely disrupted Sicily and the other West Mediterranean islands. At one level¡Xbecause it seems to mock human endeavour (as well as historians' attempts to impose order on the past). I am very reluctant to believe that a chance geographical difference is central to explaining the remarkable situation at the end of the fifth century (undreamed of only 100 years earlier): an eastern empire, richer and more powerful than ever before; and a western empire that had entirely disappeared. However, the evidence is very strong that a thin band of water, reinforced by sea power and supported by peace on other fronts, was the eastern empire's greatest defence. Whereas, without this advantage, a series of invasions at the start of the fifth century plunged the West into a vicious spiral of devastation, loss of revenue, and bitter internecine strife --from which it never recovered.
Como siempre prometo y nunca cumplo, más adelante comentaré el libro en mi propia prosa.
domingo, noviembre 11, 2007
Lo que sigue es largo para un blog, pero vale el esfuerzo de leerlo por estar bien explicadas las raíces de las guerras que devastaron Europa durante más de 20 años.
Two centuries now separate us from the series of conflicts known as the French Revolutionary Wars. These wars, fought by armies of unprecedented size, in the course of a single decade (1792-1802) thrust upon an unwilling continent political, social, and military changes of such radical proportions that they forever changed the Western world.
For the first time in European history war unleashed ideological forces whose power and appeal called into question the principle that underpinned the European political system: the principle of monarchy. The French Revolutionaries, in challenging the political legitimacy of the ancien regime, laid the foundations for the widespread acceptance of democratic, representative, and constitutional rule. Wherever their armies went they brought with them the abstract notions of 'Nation' and 'People'. Here began a new phase in the history of warfare whose impact is still seen today in the existence of mass citizen-armies.
The precedent was set, through universal conscription and the systematic marshaling of national resources, for 'total' war. The greatest naval and military figures of modern times - Nelson and Napoleon - came to the fore during this period. They were to reach their respective heights only a short time later in the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). Indeed, the French Revolutionary Wars were fought in an age when leaders and men still regarded war as 'glorious' and the cult of the hero was at its pitch. The Revolutionary Wars were the first provingground for the band of charismatic and colorful men who were to serve as marshals under the French Empire. Most of Napoleon's great marshals and Nelson's able lieutenants gained their experience at this time. Augereau, Jourdan, Massena, Kellermann and many others proved themselves on the fields of Belgium and Germany, the plains of northern Italy and on the sands of Egypt and Syria. The Revolutionary Wars were fought on a vast geographical scale. They raged across much of western and central Europe, the Middle East, southern Africa and the West Indies. At sea, rival navies struggled for supremacy in all the waters around Europe, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and beyond. When we consider their extent it should perhaps not surprise us that contemporaries and 19th-century historians referred to these conflicts, in conjunction with the Napoleonic Wars, as 'the Great War'. The French Revolutionary Wars were more than just the last conflict of a century already riven by intense strife; they marked an abrupt and shattering end to the era of 'limited' wars which had begun in the age of Enlightenment. Up until this time, rival dynasties ruling absolutely over their feudal societies matched the power of their small, meticulously trained, highly expensive professional forces in the quest for territorial spoil or economic advantage without radically upsetting the existing balance of power between great empires. The wars of the French Revolution swept all that into the dustbin of history. Here was a new and epic struggle, which the revolutionaries characterized as a life or death contest between the forces of liberty, equality, and fraternity, on the one hand, and the corrupt despotism of the ancien régimes on the other. Indeed, for France the early years were nothing less than a fight for political survival, with cries of 'la Patrie en danger!' coming from all quarters. Yet even before security from invasion was assured the war aims of the Revolutionaries took a radical turn: the 'liberation' of their oppressed brethren in the Low Countries and the Rhineland became the new objective. And, finally, emboldened by victories, the noble aims of the Revolution had been forgotten and the whole movement appeared to have lost its early idealism. What had begun as an ideological struggle, within a few, turbulent years developed into a simple war of territorial expansion in the great traditions of the revolutionaries' monarchist political forebears. It was a supreme irony indeed, and by 1795 - for the first time since the Carolingian kings of the 9th century -France stood triumphant on her 'natural' frontiers: the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. She achieved what both Louis XIV and Louis XV had failed to do earlier in the century despite the kings' enormous expenditure in men and money.
The Revolutionary Wars mark the beginning of modern war not because of the introduction of new technology, but because they established the idea of the great citizenarmy now so familiar to us today. Universal conscription implemented with organizational genius by Lazare Carnot enabled France to field vast new armies. These, composed of men fired with patriotic enthusiasm, were used not only to hold back the tide of counter-revolution, but to cross the French frontiers taking with them the seeds of republicanism. Marching to the strains of the Marseillaise and with cries of 'Vive la Republic!', these 'armed missionaries', as Robespierre termed them, introduced forms of political and social changes which opponents of the Revolution could not contain. The wars revolutionized warfare itself, with the use of light troops, the deployment of armies by corps and divisions, the use of concentration both tactically and strategically to bring maximum force to bear on a weaker opponent, and, above all, the principle of 'living off the land' rather than depending exclusively on depots and enormous supply trains. Gone forever were the days when civilians lived a separate existence from the conflicts waged by their respective sovereigns. For occupied peoples, the French Revolutionary Wars brought conflict directly to the home front through the permanent presence of foreign armies, conscription, wholesale requisitioning and heavy, sometimes crippling, taxation. In France, particularly, war made hitherto unheard of demands on its citizens, thus establishing the close link between soldier and civilian so familiar to the generations which fought the World Wars more than a century later. The wars placed into the hands of the Revolutionary government in France power which the European monarchs could not have imagined - power which translated itself into armies whose combination of sheer size and patriotic fervor drove them across Europe, defying all who stood in their paths. Indeed, so great was the military power unleashed by the Revolution that nothing less than the whole of Europe, seven coalitions and a generation of fighting were required finally to bring France to heel. Politically, the Revolutionary Wars opened a Pandora's box which even the final allied victory in 1815 could not completely close. As the revolutionary armies marched triumphant across the Low Countries, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland they laid the groundwork of nationalism and constitutional rule so necessary for a strong sense of nationhood or, in some cases, future unification. The wars brought an effective end to the Holy Roman Empire. Prussia's status and influence within Germany were therefore increased. This had far-reaching implications. Prussia ultimately became a far more aggressive state than Austria ever was and would become a menace to European security after German unification in 1871. By eliminating dozens of antiquated princedoms and electorates, France inadvertently opened the way for eventual German unification under Prussian leadership.
The French Revolutionary Wars included some of history's most dramatic battles on land as well as at sea - and no previous conflict boasted so many. Seldom have wars begun with battles so decisive not only for the immediate conflict itself, but for history in general. Valmy did just that. A few hours' cannonade brought a halt to the carefully dressed ranks of Prussian infantry, that great legacy of Frederick the Great. This exchange itself illustrates the emergence of the new citizen-soldier and the decline of the 'walking muskets' of absolutism. As Marshal Foch declared a century later, 'The wars of kings were at an end. The wars of peoples were beginning.' Lodi, though not in itself more than a minor engagement, nevertheless symbolized the spirit of the age, with the young, energetic Bonaparte, flag in hand, leading his men across a heavily defended bridge, driving before him a vastly superior force. Battles at sea were no less significant.
At Cape St Vincent, off the Spanish coast, Horatio Nelson's success bore out his policy of ignoring orthodox naval tactics. The following year, with his crushing victory at the Nile, Nelson would end forever Bonaparte's dream of establishing an Eastern empire and threatening British rule in India. And there was Marengo - where after driving his weary men over the Alps in the great traditions of Hannibal, Bonaparte snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leaving Austria defenseless in Italy and almost incapable of further resistance. Although France ultimately attained supremacy on land, Britain had swept the oceans of the French merchant marine, snapped up most of France's colonies, and had consistently defeated her navy in great fleet actions which so reduced French power at sea as to render the outcome at Trafalgar almost a foregone conclusion. Naval power complemented and sustained Britain's commercial and financial strength. Britain was able to establish and maintain two great coalitions, only to see them crushed by her seemingly invincible counterpart on land. After a decade of conflict France had vanquished all the Continent's great powers - Austria, Prussia, and Russia - leaving an uneasy and temporary stalemate with Britain mistress of the seas and France master on land. In 1802, Napoleon inherited a French Republic greatly enlarged and supremely self-confident. He was by then not simply a leader of men but a leader of the nation. His unrivalled success in the Revolutionary Wars gave him the authority he needed to seize political power in France, and also a mandate to prosecute war on an even greater scale than before, so building - and ultimately losing - the greatest empire in Europe since Rome.
On the eve of the French Revolution the political construction of Europe was remarkably simple. The Continent was dominated by five great powers: Britain, France, Austria, Russia, and Prussia. Their weaker neighbors - Sweden, Spain, Poland, Holland, and Turkey - had all once enjoyed periods of economic, military, or naval greatness, but by the end of the 18th century had slipped into the ranks of the lesser powers. Most of western Germany remained fragmented into hundreds of minor principalities, ecclesiastical cities, and minor states contained within the Holy Roman Empire. Italy, similarly, contained a number of small kingdoms, some independent and others controlled by Austria. Europe was overwhelmingly agrarian and feudal, particularly in the east, with monarchs ruling absolutely within their domains. Britain was a somewhat different case: though the vast majority of her people were disenfranchised, the monarchy ruled under constitutional constraints.
The nation's prosperity was based not on agriculture but on trade. The process of industrialization, though still in its infancy, was well under way. A generation before the French Revolution, Prussia, under the ruling house of Hohenzollern, had established herself as Europe's newest great power, having won a series of costly and exhausting wars in which she had taken on and defeated practically every major state on the Continent. Frederick the Great had inherited from his father, Frederick William (1713-40), a highly militarized, extremely efficient state where the landed aristocracy and king enjoyed a close relationship.
The aristocracy were freeholders of their land and, in effect, over their peasants as well. In return, the crown taxed the nation heavily in order to maintain a standing army proportionally much larger than that of any other European state. Frederick used that army aggressively: he invaded Austrian Silesia in 1740, and thus began the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48). This was followed by the Seven Years' War (1756-63) (see Osprey Essential Histories,The Seven Years' War, by Daniel Marston) in which Prussia used her formidable army for the glory of the nation and to consolidate her territorial gains, generally at the expense of Austria. During the Seven Years' War Frederick fought the greatest coalition ever seen in Europe - Austria, France, Russia, Sweden, and most of the German states of the Holy Roman Empire - and survived intact. It was the hard-fought bloody encounters of this war that confirmed for Prussia her place among the Great Powers.
The Russian Empire covered a vast stretch of territory containing at the turn of the century about 48 million subjects, over half of whom were serfs tied to the land. The autocratic Romanov dynasty had ruled since the early 17th century. Russia's military reputation had been won under Peter the Great, who had defeated the Swedes in the Great Northern War (1700-21). Although Russia had briefly fought Prussia in the later years of the Seven Years' War, her territorial gains were made at Polish and Turkish expense during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-96), particularly during the First Partition of Poland in 1772 and in the annexation of the Crimea, an Ottoman possession, in 1783. Russia fought simultaneous conflicts with Sweden (1788-90) and, in alliance with Austria, Turkey (1787-92). She was ultimately successful in both of these conflicts. When the French Revolutionary Wars began, Catherine the Great remained neutral and she died four years later in 1796 without having challenged the Revolution. That task was left to her son and successor, Paul I, who would finally face France during the War of the Second Coalition (1798-1802). Paul was known for his mental instability and obsession with military matters and was assassinated in 1801. George III, who had presided over the somewhat different and more constitutional monarchy of Britain since 1760, proved to be one of the Revolution's most implacable opponents. Political power rested with Parliament and the Prime Minister.
William Pitt the Younger had attained office in 1783 with a loyal following in the House of Commons and the support of the crown. Though small by continental standards - with a population of fewer than 10 million - Britain was the world's most prosperous nation. Her wealth was based on thriving trade with Europe and her exclusive access to a vast empire which, in addition to Canada and, above all, India, included newly acquired territories in Australia and many of the bountiful 'sugar islands' of the West Indies. As international trade was the basis of the rapidly increasing national wealth, the protection of trade was paramount. Britain's unrivalled merchant fleet, which exceeded 10,000 vessels, could confidently rely on the power of the Royal Navy for its protection. Although agriculture was still important - accounting for one-third of the national product - Britain was the birthplace of the recent phenomenon of industrialization, and its growing manufacturing capacity played a major role in stimulating a booming economy.
Britain and France were long-standing enemies, having fought one another regularly over the past century and on opposite sides in nearly every conflict in which the two countries were engaged since the Middle Ages. Indeed, the French Revolutionary Wars were just the latest conflict in a long succession dating back to Louis XIV which historians would later refer to as the second Hundred Years' War. The roots of Anglo-French hostility were political and economic. Britain was chiefly concerned with preventing the French from dominating the Continent. The cornerstone of this policy was the protection of the Low Countries and the Channel ports, in support of which aim Britain had participated in the Wars of the Spanish and Austrian Successions, challenging France in Europe as well as overseas. The two powers were traditional colonial and commercial rivals. Britain had fought over North America and India, and at the end of the Seven Years' War Britain was in possession of the whole of Canada and the American colonies, together with large portions of the subcontinent.
France had exacted a degree of revenge by providing vital aid to the American colonies during the War of Independence (1775-83), a war that deprived Britain of an important piece of her empire and left her in serious debt. At the start of the French Revolution Austria was ruled by Joseph II, brother to Marie Antoinette. As head of the Habsburg monarchy he also held the title of Holy Roman Emperor, which enabled him to exercise considerable political influence over a large number of small German states, many bordering France, whose existence stretched back to the days of Charlemagne. Francis II (1768-1835) succeeded to the throne in 1792. He held personal control of affairs through a council of ministers, although regional diets, or parliaments, administered Hungary, Holland, and lands in Italy. His domains were vast and stretched from northern Italy, across Austria proper, Hungary, parts of Poland and portions of the Balkans, to the Netherlands (roughly modern Belgium). The number of nationalities - the empire included Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Italians, Poles, Croats, and others, totaling about 27 million subjects in 1800, with 250,000 in Vienna - and geographical circumstances (the fact that, for example, Belgium was not contiguous to Austria) rendered the empire less cohesive than the states of western Europe. Austria had been repeatedly defeated: by France during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35); by the Turks during a Balkan war from 1737 to 1739, and, as already noted, by Prussia in a series of major conflicts between 1740 and 1763, during the reign of Maria Theresa. Not only did the Empress suffer loss of territory, she jealously witnessed the slowly rising influence of Prussia in German affairs. Her successor had his own share of problems. In 1787, Joseph II had been obliged to go to war against Turkey after the Turks declared war on Austria's ally, Russia. As the Russians soon became enmeshed in a simultaneous war with the Swedes in the north, this left Joseph alone to take on the Turks in the south, where they briefly invaded southern Hungary. To complicate matters, the Austrian possessions in the Low Countries rose in revolt in 1789. Yet in the meantime the Turks were defeated, Belgrade taken and the war ended in the same year. The Habsburg monarchy thus continued to enjoy its status as a great power when war again loomed after the revolution in France. France possessed an illustrious military past, though the wars of the 18th century had done much to erode this reputation. Since the 16th century her rivalry with Habsburg Spain and Austria had formed the pillars of her foreign policy, and the conflicts that resulted enabled France to expand her territory and commerce to such a degree that under Louis XIV she was Europe's foremost military power.
Louis continued to challenge Habsburg power, particularly in the Low Countries and regularly fought Britain both in Europe and overseas. Yet the War of the Spanish Succession did not yield the Low Countries, as France had hoped, and in later years, in spite of several successful campaigns during the War of the Austrian Succession, France was obliged to return to Austria the conquests in the Netherlands she had made during that conflict. During the 'diplomatic revolution' of 1756 she made amends with her long-time Habsburg foe and allied herself with Austria to take on Prussia, as well as her great colonial and commercial rival, Britain. However, France suffered catastrophically as a result of the Seven Years' War, losing Canada to Britain, and also many of her possessions in the West Indies and most of those in India. Thus France was in decline, and although she was instrumental in ensuring the success of the rebel cause during the War of American Independence, the Treaty of Paris offered independence to the Americans and territorial gain to Spain but virtually nothing to France. The halcyon days of Louis XIV were now long in the past. France's wars had not only cost her dear in colonies and men, but they were also crippling financially. The strain on the French economy and the threat of bankruptcy obliged ministers to institute radical reforms, beginning in 1787, which required the imposition of new taxes. In order to pass these reforms, Louis XVI required the convocation of the Estates General, a body divided into three parts consisting of the clergy, nobility, and commoners. It was here that all the trouble began. One of Louis's ministers warned him of the potentially disastrous consequences: 'As a Frenchman, I want the Estates General, [but] as a minister 1 feel bound to tell you that they could destroy your authority.' The political and financial crisis grew throughout 1788, with many army officers discontented at the imposition of new reforms. Things finally came to a head in the spring of 1789 when Louis convened the Estates General. Catastrophic harvest failures had caused a rise in the cost of bread - this in an essentially medieval society still held together by feudal ties and peopled by millions of impoverished peasants and an increasingly discontented urban working class. The Revolution was unleashed on two very different fronts.
The Estates General, which met in May at Versailles, represented political legitimacy, even if they had not been elected by the people; while in Paris, a vast city of 700,000 inhabitants, the crowds had no such claims to power, but would no longer accept disenfranchisement, much less outright tyranny. Events moved swiftly and in June the Estates General - or rather that portion consisting of commoners, known as the Third Estate - declared the creation of a 'National Assembly' and pledged in the famous 'Tennis Court Oath' not to dissolve until a new constitution for the nation had been settled. The nation and not the king was now the supreme authority in the land. The Third Estate regarded itself as the legitimate representative body of the nation. In effect, the king was no longer sovereign. Louis was not prepared simply to sit back and watch the erosion of royal authority, and while the National Assembly, supported by the people of Paris, might declare the principle of national sovereignty, the king still retained that ultimate instrument of absolutist power: the army. Yet Louis could not depend on this traditional bulwark of the crown. On the contrary, political disaffection in the officer corps was so widespread that it was impossible to rely on the army to confront the National Assembly or, still less, to disperse seething Parisian mobs. Indeed, an overwhelming proportion of the nobles among the Estates General were army officers who actively supported radical political change, and without the army's defection the Revolution would probably never have happened. Louis recalled elements of the army from the frontiers but feared that they would mutiny if ordered to fire on the people. Worse still, when the French Guards who were garrisoned at Paris began to fraternize with the people, any hopes of relying on them to uphold the royal will evaporated.
Then, on the fateful day of 14 July, the mob stormed the Bastille and the Revolution was set on its radical course. But it was not the people alone who captured the great prison-fortress; the French Guards and other mutinous elements of the army provided the military know-how to seize the Bastille, a structure less significant as a bastion of royal power than it was as a storehouse of the weapons needed to arm the new militia, shortly to become the National Guard. The next day Louis ordered the army to withdraw from Paris and Versailles. Now that the king could no longer depend on his army, the last defense of royal authority had evaporated. One can easily oversimplify the role of the army in explaining the outbreak of the Revolution; it was only one factor among many.
Crop failure, food shortages, and bankruptcy also played their part. Yet the army's role was decisive, not only ensuring the survival and expansion of the Revolution at home, but within a few years achieving a succession of military victories. These victories would preserve and consolidate the Revolution, and, in a relatively short space of time, raise French power to heights never dreamt of, much less achieved, under the ancien regime. Austria was to become France's most determined continental foe, fighting in both coalitions against the Republic with by far the greatest contribution of forces. Her armies were raised partly by voluntary enlistment and partly by conscription, which in Germanspeaking areas meant conscription for life. Units were designated 'German', which included men from the Netherlands, Italy and Poland, and 'Hungarian', which included Croatia and Transylvania.
Training varied in quality, was often poorly funded and constantly underwent reorganization. Officers were largely drawn from the minor aristocracy, and earned their commissions through social and political connections. Though Austria on paper had an army of nearly 360,000 men, in actual numbers she mobilized only about 230,000 when war began. As discussed earlier, during the reign of Frederick the Great, Prussia entered the ranks of the Great Powers largely through the remarkable military successes of her king. In the course of two wars against Austria and her allies, Frederick raised the army's reputation and effectiveness to unrivaled heights in Europe. By making maximum use of his relatively scarce resources and small population, by economizing in Spartan style, by a strict system of recruitment and by extolling the virtues of loyalty to state and army, Frederick built an army that was second to none. By the time of his death in 1786, Prussia was the thirteenth largest country in Europe in population and the tenth largest in area, yet possessed the third largest army - the very model of a militarized state which could count on the loyal support of its proud subjects. However, since the glory days of the Seven Years' War the army had undergone something of a decline, such that by the time Prussia entered the war in 1 792 under Frederick William II, it was resting on its laurels and clinging to the tactics of an earlier period. It had fought as recently as 1778 against Austria, and later intervened in Holland in 1787, but with few opportunities for action its deficiencies were not entirely revealed, and the popularly held belief in the superiority of the Prussian army remained the orthodox view of many observers throughout Europe. In contrast to his uncle, Frederick William preferred cooperation with Austria, and thus his kingdom entered the war as Austria's ally with an army numbering a respectable 200,000 men.
When Britain entered the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 she was unquestionably the world's leading naval power, with 195 ships-of-the-line in commission, 210 frigates, and 256 sloops - a total of over 600 vessels manned by 100,000 men. Emphasis on naval strength had always adversely affected the army, which was small by continental standards. Defeat in the American colonies only a decade earlier had damaged the army's reputation and its leadership left much to be desired. It was not only Britain's navy that was strong.
The economy, the product of her booming trade with her far-flung colonies in India, Canada, the West Indies, and elsewhere, as well as with Europe, enabled her to supply her allies with enormous subsidies with which to prosecute their campaigns on the Continent. In 1800 alone the Treasury spent over 7 percent of its total revenue on subsidies, most of it for Austria. Although Russia did not join the conflict until the formation of the Second Coalition at the end of 1798, her army had recent combat experience in wars with Sweden, Poland, and Turkey, as well as with various peoples on her lengthy frontier. Imperial rule was absolute. The Russian soldier in the ranks was almost invariably illiterate and destitute, and was distinguished by his unquestioning loyalty, high degree of discipline in combat, and his extraordinary ability to endure privation and hardship without complaint. Vast as the Russian Empire was, stretching from the Baltic to the Ukraine, the Crimea and beyond, its soldiers were principally drawn from the heartland of ancient Great Russia. In theory the army exceeded 400,000 men, including garrison regiments, militia and Irregular forces - notably the Cossacks - but in reality its effective strength was much lower.
Although defeated in the Seven Years' War the French army had regained some of its reputation in America. With monarchist enemies ranged against her in 1792 France burst forth with patriotic fervor with the cry of 'la patrie en danger!' thus calling forth the massive manpower and financial resources of the nation in a wave of unprecedented nationalist enthusiasm. The officer corps, traditionally dominated by the aristocracy, was by the beginning of the war open to all on merit. However, the flight and purge of royalist officers in the early years of the wars left the army in a pathetic state, and officials found that there was no time to train the large influx of recruits and conscripts. Some even refused to accept the degree of discipline necessary for an effective fighting force. Nevertheless, enough officers and men of the old regular army remained to form a nucleus for the new Republican armies. Without these veterans, defeat would have been inevitable at the hands of the more professional and better-disciplined armies. Laws formalizing conscription were passed in 1798, requiring all men between the ages of 18 and 40 to register, with those between 18 and 25 liable to be called. Conscription raised vast armies and between January 1791 and July 1799 the French Republic called up 1,570,000 men - an amazing achievement which other nations could not match: they simply did not dare to press into service such a huge proportion of their subjects for fear of political instability. Since the start of the revolution the army had undergone considerable changes. For example, old regimental titles were abolished and replaced by numbered units, units were increased in size, and large numbers of new battalions were raised. Some of these battalions were of reasonable quality, such as the Garde Nationale, while others were poorly trained, often ill-disciplined conscripts and volunteer hordes such as those created by the levee en masse in 1793. If they were not quite as drilled and precise as their adversaries, they more than made up for it in elan and devotion to their cause. As one Prussian, Laukhard, noted at the time: The volunteers were not as straight as a die, as were the Prussians, and were not as polished, well-trained or skilled in handling a gun or marching in step; nor did they know how to tighten their belts around their tunics as the Prussians did, yet they were devoted to the cause they served in body and soul. Nearly all those I encountered at that time knew for whom and for what they were fighting and declared that they were ready to die for the good of their patrie. The only alternatives they knew were liberty or death.
The navy consisted of 81 ships-of-the-line, 69 frigates, and 141 sloops, crewed by 78,000 sailors. Numbers can prove deceptive, however: the general state of the ships was poor, dockyards suffered from a shortage of supplies, and the service was generally dogged by an inefficient administration, poor seamanship, defective gunnery, and low morale and discipline. It might seem logical to presume that the European monarchs, witnessing the fall of the Bastille, the deposing of the French king, and the establishment of constitutional government should immediately have gone to war against the revolutionaries, if only to prevent similar uprisings in their own countries. But it was not to be, largely because of events elsewhere in Europe, particularly in the East.
Frederick William, supremely smug from his conquest of Holland in 1787 and already a beneficiary of the first partition of Poland, had his eye on further gains, particularly Danzig and Thorn, while the Austrians and Russians were engaged in conflicts of their own against Sweden and Turkey.
The fact that all the continental Great Powers were engaged for two years in intrigues and conflicts in eastern Europe meant that France and its nascent revolution remained undisturbed - indeed almost entirely ignored - by its powerful and otherwise suspicious neighbors. It is also important to remember that, far from being disturbed by the implications of the French Revolution, many of Britain's leaders and politicians actually welcomed the upheavals in France. When Pitt first heard news of the Revolution while dining with a friend, he 'spoke of it as an event highly favorable to us & indicates a long peace with France.' As the Revolution developed, many British observers suggested that France appeared to be embracing the principles of Britain's own 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688.
What better way to maintain good relations than to deal with another constitutional democracy, particularly one distracted from colonial gain and commercial competition by internal political upheaval? In short, a self-obsessed France could hardly threaten British trade or interests abroad. In fact, none of the continental powers was prepared to lead a counter-revolution. Indeed, the Emperor Joseph was determined to remain neutral, whatever the fate of the French king and the queen, his sister.
The Prussians were equally blase. Catherine of Russia, despite her hostility to the ideas of the Revolution, effectively did nothing, while Charles IV of Spain, cousin of Louis XVI, made vague threats which in reality amounted to nothing more than mere bluster. In any event, he was soon caught up in a nasty disagreement with Britain over far-off Vancouver Island - the Nootka Sound incident - which brought the two countries to the brink of war in 1790. Thus the French Revolutionaries had absolutely no reason to fear intervention by the absolute monarchs. Put in simple terms, in the first two years of the Revolution every potential enemy of significant power had other matters to contend with: in 1787, Turkey was at war with Russia and Austria, and Prussia invaded Holland; in 1788, Sweden and Russia were at war; in 1790, Prussia and Poland came close to war with Austria, and Britain and Spain narrowly escaped conflict; in 1791, Britain and Prussia nearly fought Russia. How, then, did this atmosphere of complacency and even satisfaction change to one of open hostility? The simple answer is that, by the middle of 1791, all of these conflicts or disputes had been settled, or were on the point of being settled. The most serious of these, in which Russia and Austria were allied against Turkey, ended in August. Now all these countries could consider the problem of France. But the origins of the French Revolutionary Wars also owed much to the vociferous and consistent pleas of royalist emigres, who tirelessly agitated for armed foreign intervention against the forces of radicalism. The hawkish policies of radical politicians in Paris and the gradually mounting antagonisms of the German monarchies also played a significant role in bringing about war. Up until the spring of 1792 few obstacles existed to prevent the flight from France of the aristocracy, nobles, clergy, and army officers.
Large numbers left, swelling the population of disaffected expatriates longing for a return to the old order. They were right to leave, for their lives and livelihoods were under grave threat and the political changes forced upon them were naturally quite intolerable to them when compared to the life of unchecked privilege that they had previously enjoyed for so long.
The leading emigre was the king's younger brother, the Comte d'Artois, who left France soon after the fall of the Bastille and became the focal point for dispossessed aristocrats. From their base at Turin, Artois and his adherents established a committee which throughout 1789-90 produced plans to extricate the King from Paris, establish counter-revolutionary insurrections inside France, and secure foreign aid in a royalist crusade to crush the Revolution and re-establish legitimate Bourbon rule. Yet all such plans failed completely, for they were unable to attain the aid necessary from powerful foreign governments without which any hopes of a return to absolute rule were illusory. Although Austria seemed the natural ally of the emigres - after all, Marie Antoinette was sister to Joseph II - the fact remained that from the outbreak of the Revolution until 1792 the Habsburg monarchy never showed much enthusiasm for the emigre cause. Indeed, Joseph had demanded their departure from his domains in the Netherlands, and when his brother Leopold succeeded to the imperial throne at the beginning of 1790 he showed little interest in the cause of restoring Bourbon rule on its previous footing. In any event, the pressing internal problems that Leopold confronted necessarily took precedence over foreign affairs: rebellion in the Austrian Netherlands and near-revolt in Hungary, together with more moderate, but nevertheless widespread, dissent across Habsburg domains. These domestic problems were compounded by failures in the war against the Ottoman Empire. Thus, in the course of his two years in power (1790-92), Leopold chose to placate internal opposition and implement reforms rather than confront revolutionary France. Yet if Leopold's conduct exasperated emigres for a time, French domestic events gradually altered his views and, with them, his policies. Louis's flight from Paris to Varennes in June 1791 was important in prompting Austrian intervention.
Louis had consistently rejected proposals to leave France and return at the front of an army determined on re-establishing Bourbon rule. Duty to the nation and to himself as sovereign - however restricted his political role had become - encouraged him to remain in Paris. But by the spring of 1791 the King had come round to the idea, for by then it had become all too clear that the Revolution was no mere passing phase and that the concessions now forced on him were only going to increase in the future. Now persuaded that the only sensible measure was to flee the country to secure foreign aid, Louis made his historic escape from the capital, only to be arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris a prisoner. The suspension of his royal powers soon followed and all government matters were now the responsibility of the Constituent Assembly.
The King's attempt to leave France had far-reaching consequences, triggering fears inside the country that foreign armies would soon be on the march to save the captive sovereign. Vigorous military measures were undertaken and the widespread belief that foreign intervention was only a matter of time began to affect the political scene throughout the country. The King's arrest had still more significance abroad, for throughout Europe both at court and among the populace there emerged a groundswell of sympathetic support for the French royal family and a sense of apprehension for their safety. Such sentiment was encouraged by the constant calls for aid from Marie Antoinette.
Action soon resulted: in July 1791, Leopold approached the other crowned heads with a proposal for a joint declaration demanding the release of the French royal family, the 'Padua Circular'. This did not amount to a threat of war - which Leopold did not seek - but rather a demonstration of royalist unity meant to overawe the Republican government. In fact, there was no unified opposition to the French revolutionary movement at the courts of Europe, though each of them provided substantial financial assistance to the emigre cause.
Tsarina Catherine adamantly opposed the Revolution, but her foreign policy remained focused on acquiring territory at the expense of Poland and Turkey, both weak and easy prey. Sweden, under Gustavus III, wholeheartedly embraced military action against the revolutionaries, but his country's geographical isolation and meager resources precluded any unilateral intervention on his part. In any event, Gustavus was assassinated in March 1792. The Prussian king repeatedly declared his desire for a military solution to French internal upheaval and the threats which revolutionary ideas posed abroad. Nonetheless, like Catherine, Frederick William had an eye on Polish land and was not prepared to fight unaided. Thus, in the summer of 1791, in spite of growing antagonism within the courts of several capitals, the likelihood of joint military intervention in France remained slight.
That situation soon took a decisive turn, however, for since Leopold had assumed the Imperial throne, Austro-Prussian relations - traditionally tense and occasionally outwardly hostile - had improved considerably. This made possible a joint declaration by the respective sovereigns, issued at Pillnitz on 27 August 1791, which expressed their anxieties over Louis's predicament and their hope that the leading royal houses of Europe would make a joint effort to assist him. Though outwardly threatening, it was not a general call to arms and in any event did not commit Austria and Prussia to anything without the cooperation of other powers. It aimed to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to stop the attacks carried on against the throne and the altar, to re-establish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and liberty of which he is deprived, and to put him in a position to exercise the legitimate authority which is his due.
No such support was forthcoming, and Pillnitz remained for a time nothing more than bluster and intimidation. However ineffective the declaration appeared for the moment, it nevertheless added to the general sense of impending danger within France. As the year progressed, moreover, the prospect of war became an ever more attractive option for those politicians in Paris who viewed it as an opportunity to attain their own specific aims. This was particularly the case among the war part}' under the leadership of Jacques-Pierre Brissot, whose popularity continued to rise as the new year began. His followers, the 'Brissotins' or 'Girondins', held an aggressive stance in the Legislative Assembly. The 37-year-old Brissot, an unsuccessful writer with a grudge against the ruling establishment, had been one of the first to call for the abolition of the monarchy. Brissot was not alone. By the winter of 1791-92 the Jacobins could more than match the Girondins for radicalism.
Yet as a speech delivered on 26 December by Gensonné, one of Brissot's colleagues, shows, the Girondins were exceptionally provocative as they stood: 'The common enemy is at the gates of the city; a general assault threatens us; so now there can be no more beating about the bush; let us rush to the breach; we must defend our ramparts or bury ourselves beneath their ruins.' A fortnight later Guadet stood before the Assembly and raised the members to fever pitch in a dramatic foretaste of the hysteria which was to engulf France during the Reign of Terror two years later. 'Gentlemen,' he declared earnestly, 'let us make known to all these German princes that the French nation has decided to maintain its constitution in its entirety; we shall die here.' His words were met with wild applause as the members rose in acclamation with cries of 'Yes, we swear it!' Waving their hats in the air and with arms outstretched, the deputies, government ministers, ushers, and those thronging the public galleries shouted a common oath: 'We shall live in freedom or we shall die, the constitution or death!' Amidst the tumult Guadet concluded his speech in words calculated to bring the house down: 'In a word, let us mark out in advance a place for traitors, and that place will be on the scaffold!' The message was clear: the Republic must have war; a war with total victory or total defeat. The nation was to live free or die in its defense, while those at home who threatened France from within would be crushed. At the same time, those at the opposite end of the political spectrum - the monarchy and its traditional ally, the aristocracy - increasingly viewed war as an answer to their rapidly declining political fortunes. Into this cauldron of hostility was thrown the still active efforts of the emigres to restore the status quo, and however little their efforts may have as yet achieved, their very existence assumed an importance out of all proportion to the actual danger to the Revolution that they presented.
The recent growth of an emigre presence in the Rhineland, an area used as the springboard for the emigres' subversive schemes, naturally raised concerns for the Republican government, ever vigilant for evidence of counter-revolutionary enemies within and without France. Artois and his adherents amounted to a sort of royalist government in exile, based at Koblenz; although their influence in foreign courts was minimal, seen together with the Declaration of Pillnitz, the emigres were erroneously assumed to be a real and powerful threat to the Revolution. In addition to receiving large amounts of financial aid, Artois could boast of a respectably sized emigre army in the Rhineland. The threat posed by such forces was negligible in military terms, but the very presence of this emigre army caused widespread alarm in France, where war fever was spreading. Austria was not only pressured by the emigres but also miscalculated the situation: by adopting an increasingly threatening attitude designed to intimidate but not provoke the republican government in Paris, Leopold paradoxically achieved the reverse of his intentions.
Hoping to lend weight to the power of the moderates in Paris, he in fact increased the power of the radicals. Thus was created a vicious circle: increasing French fears of emigre activity on their borders and the apparently menacing posture of Austria and Prussia gave impetus to the general atmosphere of fear and the prospect of not only counter-revolution, but also armed foreign intervention. Events took on a new momentum with 1 March 1792, and the succession of Francis. Consistently unwilling to embrace the more bellicose views of the Prussian king, the princes of the Empire, and the emigres, Leopold had preferred merely to pressure France rather than openly threaten her with force. True, he had shown greater support for the restoration to power of Louis XVI - briefly suspended by the National Assembly after Varennes before moderates reinstated him in September 1791 - than most other crowned heads, yet Leopold's death ushered in an entirely new Habsburg attitude toward foreign affairs. Leopold had acted with caution and restraint; Francis tended more toward belligerence. The hawkish elements of the court grew in influence while the new cabinet, particularly with the replacement of the more pacific chancellor, Kaunitz, opened the way for an altogether more hostile policy toward revolutionary France. The road to war was now free of its former obstacles. As politicians in Paris were rightly perceiving the changing mood in Vienna, they were growing more vocal and bellicose themselves. The new foreign minister, Charles Francois Dumouriez, came to office from relative obscurity amidst the growing war fever. Long hostile to Austria, Dumouriez demanded immediate military action. War now seemed inevitable. Indeed, it was not long in coming: on 20 April, France formally declared war on Austria.
Little did anyone know that this war - which all sides believed would be short - would eventually engulf all of Europe in more than two decades of conflict. Neither side bore sole responsibility for the war. The conflict cannot be said to have originated either exclusively in Paris or in Vienna. It was not only kings and politicians who shaped foreign policy; prevailing views among the general populace in both capitals played their role. In the end both sides sought war, but their objectives proved very different. Austria, joined shortly by Prussia on 21 May, wished to restore the old order in France, whereas for the revolutionaries this was to be an ideological struggle between a free people and the tyranny of monarchical rule. This had been the philosophy so stridently advocated by Brissot since the autumn of 1791. Toward this end the revolutionaries were confident in their hopes of seeing a general rising of the minority nationalities of the Habsburg Empire: they were to be sorely disappointed. Those powers ranged against France clung steadfastly to a policy more than merely ideological: there were distinct territorial gains to be made, a wholly realistic aim when one considers the Allies' complete confidence in the superiority of their professional, highly trained, highly disciplined armies over the rabble that appeared to them to constitute the forces of the Republic.
It was therefore not surprising that the Allies did not yet appreciate the immense threat to the political stability of Europe's monarchies posed by the armies marching in the name of 'the People', for those armies were as yet untested. They could hardly then know - and indeed it would be to the astonishment of all - that the revolutionary armies would, despite some serious setbacks, achieve remarkable triumphs in the field between 1793 and 1795, rapidly annexing neighboring territories in great swathes never even imagined - much less achieved - by Louis XIV or Louis XV. Nor could the Allies have dared to imagine the full horror that lay ahead for them: seemingly unstoppable revolutionary forces carrying with them the banner of liberté, egalité et fraternité across western and central Europe, challenging the very legitimacy of monarchical rule. Only then was the war perceived as the truly grave threat to European political and social stability that it actually was.