From Valmy To Waterloo: France At War, 1792-1815 (war, Culture And Society, 1750-1850)
The French declaration of war on Austria on 20 April 1792 committed the nation to more than twenty years of war. Faced with a coalition of European powers, the revolutionaries called upon the citizenry to form a truly national army. The result was an unprecedented tightening of the bond between war and nation. That the conflict would have consequences for the very foundations of French society was inevitable given its sheer scale, duration, and geographical extent (the whole of continental Europe and beyond in the campaigns in Saint-Domingue and Egypt) its far-reaching impact on civilian society and commerce and its forcible involvement of hundreds of thousands of young Frenchmen. The theme of this book is the first-hand experience of French military and civilians during these conflicts, seen through their eyes and using their testimony, as well as an assessment of the place of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic conflicts in the evolution of the art of warfare, and the elements of modernity which made them the first example of total war .