By Marie-Cecile Thoral
Drawing on quite a lot of basic resources, this e-book investigates the typical human adventure of the progressive and Napoleonic wars by means of French army and civilians, the influence of those wars at the French kingdom and society, and the increase of a brand new form of warfare within the West on the flip of the 19th century.
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Additional resources for From Valmy to Waterloo: France at War, 1792-1815 (War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850)
The anthropologist Evelyne Desbois has noted an identical phenomenon for the First World War and draws attention to the literary form taken by this repression or denial. 79 An idea of combatant experience and private perception of one-to-one fighting has to be gleaned from the isolated confidences and impressions, not always clearly or explicitly stated, that crop up in letters, diaries, and memoirs. Chevallier, a former member of the Imperial Guard and a volunteer soldier during the Revolution, touches on the subject in his memoirs.
Here is François Bravy Benard, a 24-year-old soldier in the 57th infantry regiment of the Armée de l’Ouest, writing to his brother, a master baker at Pionsat (in Auvergne). We are in the Vendée to exterminate this crowd of brigands who have gathered here. Many of them enrol the peasants by force, and tell them they will not die from a musket or cannon shot. ’93 This was entirely consistent with the instructions issued by the general leading the Armée de l’Ouest, Turreau. ’94 The excesses committed by soldiers and officers during the Vendean war took place in a framework of legality and in response to official orders, and it seems likely that demonization of the enemy, at times reflected in an overtly stated goal of extermination, was instrumentalized by the military and civilian authorities for political ends.
The same response is observed in many conflicts and is part of a common culture of war that accepts victimization while rejecting active responsibility. The anthropologist Evelyne Desbois has noted an identical phenomenon for the First World War and draws attention to the literary form taken by this repression or denial. 79 An idea of combatant experience and private perception of one-to-one fighting has to be gleaned from the isolated confidences and impressions, not always clearly or explicitly stated, that crop up in letters, diaries, and memoirs.
From Valmy to Waterloo: France at War, 1792-1815 (War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850) by Marie-Cecile Thoral