'Desperation to the Utmost': The Defeat of 1806 and the French Occupation in Prussian Experience and Perception

Title'Desperation to the Utmost': The Defeat of 1806 and the French Occupation in Prussian Experience and Perception
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHagemann, Karen
EditorForrest, Alan, and Peter H. Wilson
Book TitleThe Bee and the Eagle: Napoleonic France and the End of the Holy Roman Empire, 1806
Pagination191-213
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
City, CountryBasingstoke, UK ; New York, NY
Abstract

The chapter 'Desperation to the Utmost' is included in the volume Bee and the Eagle: Napoleonic France and the End of the Holy Roman Empire 1806.

This volume's juxtaposition of the empires of Germany and France in 1806, at the dissolution of The Holy Roman Empire, allows a comparison of their transition towards modernity, explored through the themes of Empire, monarchy, political cultures, feudalism, war and military institutions, nationalism and identity, and everyday experience.

The events of 1806 and their aftermath were one of the most important subjects in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German historiography. They stood at the centre of the national myth of Germany’s ‘renewal’ after the crushing Prussian defeat, which was interpreted as ‘national debacle.’ Yet, after 1945 western historians lost interest in the era, rejecting its earlier eminence and pro-Prussian interpretation, and set out to interpret the role of Prussia in German history more critically. As scholarship on Napoleonic Germany revived from the late 1960s, it moved in three directions, focusing on military campaigns and alliances, emerging sovereign states and reform movements, and early articulations of modern nationalism. These three thematic areas, however, were often treated in isolation from one another. Studies either featured specific campaigns, military organisations and diplomatic relations, or focused on the political and social consequences of Napoleonic conquest by highlighting structural transformations and state-building, or explored the emergence of nationalism. These themes, although very important and significant in their own right, were rarely related to each other. Moreover, this scholarship ignored the economic, social and cultural dimension of the Napoleonic Wars and the plurality of local war experiences in the German-speaking regions.

URLhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/304606964_%27Desperation_to_the_Utmost%27_The_Defeat_of_1806_and_the_French_Occupation_in_Prussian_Experience_and_Perception
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951509185

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