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  • Author: Matt Bucholtz
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Relying upon thousands of newly raised conscripts to augment the remaining professionals from the old monarchial army, Generals Kellermann and Dumouriez scored a decisive victory over the Duke of Brunswick and the forces of Prussia at the Battle of Valmy and thereby firmly established the foundation for the legacy of the volunteers of Year II and the military abilities of French citizen-soldiers. French victory at Valmy became the rationale for conscription laws across Europe in the following decades and served as the basis for a closer relationship between the military and society. Alan Forrest's book, The Legacy of the French Revolutionary Wars: The Nation-in-Arms in French Republican Memory, masterfully traces the evolution of the myths of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era through over 150 years of French and European military and political development. It stands as a concise single volume investigation of the nineteenth and twentieth century French political landscape and military affairs, as well as the ever-contested field of civil-military relations, expressed through a work centred on memory and myth.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Prussia
  • Author: Dr. Michael Epkenhans
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: At least twice in the history of Imperial Germany, December seems to have been a rather critical month: On 17 December 1887, the ageing German Emperor, Wilhelm I, convened his military entourage at his bed in the castle of Berlin to listen to the reports of his generals about the military situation of the Empire. Under normal circumstances, these reports by Germany's highest-ranking generals, the Chief of Staff and his Quarter Master General, the Prussian Minister of War, and the chief of the Military Cabinet were by no means unusual. Against the background of a political situation which seemed to be deteriorating for several years now, this meeting, however, turned out to be a war-council. For many months the Quarter Master General of the Prussian Army, General v. Waldersee had been pleading for a preventive war against Russia. Germany's eastern neighbour had been quarreling with the nation's most reliable ally, Austria-Hungary, over the Balkans for more than two years now, and according to secret reports about the redeployment of troops on its western border seemed to prepare for a war against the powers of the dual alliance. From a military point of view a solution to this problem seemed urgent, not the least because of the hostile attitude of Germany's western neighbour, France. Waldersee's plea for war was supported by the 87-year-old Chief of the General Staff, Moltke the Elder, and Prince William, whose influence had become ever more important due to his father's fatal illness.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Berlin, Prussia
  • Author: Holger H. Herwig
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: “Everything in war is very simple,” Prussia's premier military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz, famously stated, “but the simplest thing is difficult.” Strategy falls into that description. Almost no other term in military terminology has been so much and so often abused. Even the most fleeting scanning of major journals and newspapers, the briefest listening to national news casts, reveals a horrendous application of the term: the “strategy” of crossing a desert, the “strategy of storming a hill, the “strategy” of pacifying a village, the “strategy of securing a road, the “strategy” of winning the hearts and minds of indigenous populations—these are but a few of the misapplications of the term with which we are constantly bombarded by both reporters and so-called experts in the field. Not that the military has been much better in applying the term: two well-known modern commanders, Erich Ludendorff in World War I and Bernard Montgomery in World War II, never quite understood it either; the former thought of strategy as the act of merely punching a hole in the enemy's lines, while the latter cautioned his staff that strategy was strategy only if and when he, Montgomery, said it was.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Prussia