To What Extent Was Napoleon the Decisive Influence on the Development of Warfare from 1792 to 1815? Essay

3779 WordsMar 30, 201516 Pages
To what extent was Napoleon the decisive influence on the development of warfare from 1792 to 1815? The end of the French Revolutionary Wars and the following Napoleonic Wars was a period of great development to the nature of warfare brought about by many years of almost constant fighting. In order to understand the influence of Napoleon on this development it is first necessary to identify which developments took place and then to assess to what extent these developments depended on the influence of Napoleon over other potential influences. Although this period saw significant developments in most aspects of warfare, it is important to note that weaponry remained largely unchanged throughout this period and since it is difficult to identify a change it is therefore necessary to largely exclude this aspect of warfare. One of the greatest inhibiting factors on the development of warfare in the eighteenth century was the limitations of purpose: mercantilism and a lack of ideological and religious purpose meant that dynastic rulers were typically limited in their ambitions, resulting in a reduced rate of development in other areas of warfare. Although the French Revolutionary Wars represented a dramatic change in the purpose of warfare, this area was revolutionised further during the Napoleonic Wars. Whilst the French Revolutionary leaders were primarily concerned with defending French borders and reinforcing the changes made by the revolution, Napoleon wanted to expand French influence and achieve total domination over Europe. The evidence of this can be clearly seen in his campaigns across Europe and into Egypt in 1798 and Russia in 1812, as well as in his Continental System, which was intended to cut off British trade links and ensure French superiority over European trade. The repercussions of this ambition were, of course, immense, both within France and on

More about To What Extent Was Napoleon the Decisive Influence on the Development of Warfare from 1792 to 1815? Essay

Open Document