Guibert: Prophet of Total War?

TitleGuibert: Prophet of Total War?
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHeuser, Beatrice
EditorChickering, Roger, and Stig Förster
Book TitleWar in an Age of Revolution, 1775-1815
Pagination49-67
PublisherGerman Historical Institute; Cambridge University Press
City, CountryWashington, DC
Abstract

"This volume [War in an Age of Revolution, 1775-1815] investigates a critical moment in the history of warfare. It assembles historians of the early modern and modern eras to speak to one another across the great historiographical divide that has traditionally separated them. The central questions in the volume have to do with the historical place of revolutionary warfare on both sides of the Atlantic--the degree to which they extended practices common in the eighteenth century or introduced fundamentally new forms of warfare. Among the topics covered in the volume are the global dimensions of warfare, logistics, universal military service and the mobilization of noncombatants, occupation, and the impact of war on civilian life in both Europe and North America." (Description provided by publisher.) Jacques-Antoine-Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert (12 November 1743 – 6 May 1790) was a French general and military writer. He published an essay on tactics which was very influential in his time. One quotation from Guibert's 1770 essay may be described as a prediction of the impending revolution in the art of war. "The standing armies, while a burden on the people, are inadequate for the achievement of great and decisive results in war, and meanwhile the mass of the people, untrained in arms, degenerates. ... The hegemony over Europe will fall to that nation which ... becomes possessed of manly virtues and creates a national army." Beatrice Heuser's chapter in War in an Age of Revolution, 1775-1815 concerns Guibert's prophecy.

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