Napoleonic Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Struggle for the Napoleonic empire. Result: Though Napoleon’s European empire was dismantled after his defeat, the military struggle between France and the European countries resulted in the spread of nationalism.
Revolutionary France had been embroiled since April, 1792, in a struggle for survival against foreign threats. The French defense was strengthened by Lazare Carnot, who as the head of the military section of the Committee of Public Safety introduced mass conscription (levée en masse). Consequently France was able not only to repulse continental threats but also from the late 1790’s to begin to expand its “natural frontiers” (the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Rhine) by annexing Belgium and Luxemburg (September, 1795), the left bank of the Rhine (January, 1798), and Geneva (April, 1798). In the wake of military expansion, several satellite republics had been formed in the lands around France.
However, France’s reverses in foreign wars following the formation of the Second Coalition in Europe (Britain, Austria, Russia, Naples, and Turkey) in 1798 and the subsequent fall of the Directory in 1799 brought about a decisive change in France’s military objectives and goals. After the Treaties of Lunéville (with Austria in 1801) and Amiens (with Britain in 1802), Napoleon Bonaparte began imperialistic wars culminating in...
(The entire section is 2206 words.)
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