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Princes' Wars, Wars of the People or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792-1815

Hewitson, M; (2013) Princes' Wars, Wars of the People or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792-1815. War in History , 20 (4) 452 - 490. 10.1177/0968344513483071. Green open access

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Abstract

This article investigates whether a military revolution took place in the German lands during the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, with the potential to transform institutions and to alter contemporaries’ attitudes not merely to war, but to politics and diplomacy. The scholarly debate about a metamorphosis of warfare during the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods involves three connected controversies: the meaning and timing of any ‘revolution’ in the conduct of war, the existence of a ‘total war’ in or after 1792, and the continuation of ‘cabinet warfare’ by the majority of the German states. Recently, historians have argued that the geographical and political diversity of the German states, in conjunction with popular criticism of the burdens and sacrifices of conflict in southern and western Germany, militated against a broad military revolution. This study contends that such reactions were themselves indicative of the transformation wrought by the conscription of more mobile and destructive mass armies in a seemingly unending series of wars, which ensured that military conflicts impinged more fully on civilian life.

Type: Article
Title: Princes' Wars, Wars of the People or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792-1815
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0968344513483071
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0968344513483071
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2013. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords: Revolutionary Wars; Napoleonic Wars; conscription; cabinet war; military reform; German states;
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1415769
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