How the Napoleonic Wars Defined Modern Warfare
How the Napoleonic Wars Defined Modern Warfare
Background of the WarS
One of the first instances of genocide and scorched Earth Tactics
Evidence of this was demonstrated in Philip Dwyer's work that recalls many instances of inhumane brutality.
Violent warfare during the years were responsible for the deaths of over 2 million people and civilians.
Russia pioneered scorched Earth and massive infantry tactics which ultimately lead to the defeat of Napoleon after a failed invasion. This is unsurprising as Russia seems to be the graveyard of Empires.
Started in the wake of the French revolution when Napoleon took over in a military coup.
In 1793, Austria, Prussia, UK and Spain began to form the first coalition that would resist Napoleonic invasions for the next 23 years. In spite of their humongous size, they couldn't shake the French threat.
In response to the founding of the coalition, Napoleon used massive infantry tactics by assigning every able-bodied man to a position in the army.
In spite of Conscription, Napoleon raised the general status of the people in the military from lowly peasants and serfs to honorable veterans. Annotated from Aufmil source.
Napoleon benefited from being a military genius, and won the favor of his troops and the citizens when he overthrew King Louis XVI to assume control of the French Crown.
Total war lasting from 1792 to about 1815 at the hands of many contributors, causes, and participants.
Ultimately ended in Napoleon's defeat
For a brief time, the French Empire enjoyed total command over Europe under Napoleon's guidance and successful invasions.
Participants included Russia, Spain, France, England, Italy, Austrian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Prussia, Dutch Empire, among others.
Napoleon's campaigns took him all over Europe, and the bloodshed seeped into Africa, and parts of the Mediterranean such as Haiti.
His most significant failures took place in Russia and North Africa due to lack of resources and extremely adverse weather conditions. (cold winters of Russia, hot summers of Egypt)
One of the first wars involving popularized Islamic terrorism, hence how Napoleon was forced back from taking control of Northern Africa.
How the Wars echoed through history
The source on Guerrilla warfare against major powers is remarkably prevalent in the 20th century.
Vietnam, the Middle East, and Africa are the most popular examples of massive guerrilla warfare.
Popular, militant terrorism by Muslims became apparent when the caliphate ordered the destruction of the French army.
Thus, modern Jihadism was born. The greatest example was the murder of the French General in charge of Egypt at the hands of a fanatical Jihadist.
This seems to reverberate the Crusades as France is Catholic versus the Muslims.
On a more positive note, the idea of "Winning the Hearts and Minds" such as in WW2 and the Middle Eastern invasions became more and more popular after France founded a University in Egypt to educate the populace.
Unsurprisingly, colonialism was far from fleeting. Although France lost the majority of its international interest -- such as Haiti, whom the natives adopted guerrilla warfare.
England and the majority of Europe's interest in Africa quickly expanded after the war.. which became bloody on all fronts. The scars of European Imperialism remain prevalent in Africa today (Dwyer).
Napoleon shares many parallels to Hitler. Blitzkrieg tactics, genocidal pursuits, a desire for total domination, and total defeat at the Russian theater.
Similarly, the middle East is a great deal of importance from then-on in history.
Just like Hitler, Napoleon sought to assimilate the entirety of Europe out of his sense of nationalism and patriotism.
The Napoleonic Wars have a similar comparison to WW1 in the way that WW1 was directly influenced by Napoleonic war (Karen Hagemann).
Political Nationalism and Liberalism were birthed from the cause of the Napoleonic wars, with remarkable parallels to the reasons why WW1 started -- a total war in Europe birthed from nationalism. (Hagemann)
WW1 seemed to be correlated
Usage of Modernized Tactics
Napoleonic Wars boasted a great deal of revolutionary tactics.
This tactical advancements came from across all armies. Guerrilla tactics were actually named from the Spanish word "Little War" from Spanish resistance fighters called "Cazadores" or "Hunters"
Guerrilla tactics were an aspect of many armies. The Russians and Spanish were experts, as civilians often joined the effort in repelling invaders. The city of Smolensk militia was responsible for killing over 3000 French while only losing 300.
One such famous Guerrila was a Spanish pastor named Bernardo Calvados who was responsible for murdering, torturing, pillaging and raping thousands of French soldiers, men, women, and children.
Guerrila warfare was also popularized further by the Islamic defenders in Egypt. The tradition of guerilla warfare is still very alive and well, with its roots traced to Napoleon. annotated from Napoleon in Egypt.
Napoleon was the pioneer of Conscription, assigning every able bodied man to the military. This also promoted nationalism.
Modern adaptions of conscription can be found especially in Israel, and similar to the draft in the United States.
Speaking of Israel, Jews began to find themselves engaged as an ethnic group. Usually, they would spy or provide arms for the Russians or French. They were not safe from genocide.
Tsar Alexander hated and mistrusted the Jews, he wanted them to be assimilated or murdered for acting in conjunction with the French
With massive infantry came different tactics. Napoleon was also a pioneer of a sort of "Blitzkrieg" style war. He relied on speedy and vicious attacks. He was also a major proponent of artillery. (napoleon in russia)
With speedy and destructive tactics came indiscriminate violence at the hands of all participants in the war. Napoleon's artillery tactics often were responsible for massive collateral damage. This exemplified it as the First, modern, total war. (Dwyer)
With total war and brutal tactics came the occasional insurrection. Revolutions within the wars themselves were often met with the same, swift, and devastating brutality.
We see modern evidence of insurrection being brutally quashed in the popular example of Syria.
The Wars also reaped some of the first recorded instances of PTSD, or Shell-shock as of then. It was not taken seriously, but became increasingly evident as the killings continued.
Although France did not boast a powerful navy, naval tactics became increasingly more relevant throughout the war. Innovations in this warfare lead to several technological advancements in naval equipment. (how napoleon modern warfare)
The relevance of the Navy was apparent when British legend Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile, ruining Napoleon's chance at ruling North Africa