The French Revolution: Mass Armies In The 19th Century

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Introduction Societies have for thousands of year’s waged wars to protect and defend the society they belong too. A society is a large group of people living together for religious, cultural, scientific, political, and patriotic purposes. Together they organize how to do things, share work and make decisions. The Western nations way of waging war is different today compared to only ten years ago. The terrorist attack on the United States, September 2001, resulted in a war against the axis of evil. At that time, the U.S and its allies faced economic, political, and social will and a capability to wage war with an extensive use of recourses and mass of military power. Today the social and political climate has changed. Western nations…show more content…
The ability to launch large armies changed the way of waging war in the late 18th and early 19th century and it was one of the reasons for French military success in the Napoleon era around 1800. Jomini described one of the reasons for the French success as “action to mass forces against a weaker enemy”. Mass can in that era be understood as a mass of people, in other words, a large size of force. The ability to “mass” people came as a result of the French Revolution. People became free citizens under the law, not just objects. The former wars between rulers evolved to the wars between citizens of a nation. The population in France became nationalistic, and the national ideology led to the people fighting not just for the nation, but also for the revolutionary ideology. The nationalistic support to the nation made it possible to convert to a system of conscription, which still is a cost-effective way to recruit large…show more content…
The way of waging war changed to nations capable and willing to conduct a total war over time. The Industrial Revolution made it possible to support large military forces over time. The last 50 years of industrial development moved people to the cities to work in the factories. Together with the European expansion to the rest of the world the economies rose to historical levels. Mass production and distribution of weapons, ammunition and goods made it possible to sustain large armies on the battlefield over time. Historically, armies got a lot of their resources from the surrounding areas, or from pre-stored and secured fortresses close to the battlefields where they were fighting. Now, supplies came from the factories and made it possible to sustain active battles for
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