How Did The French Revolution Influence The Nature Of Warfare

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Lasting from 1789 to 1799, the French Revolution had a momentous impact beyond its immediate short-term goals. For the French revolutionaries, the war was an effort against the aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny that prevailed in the 18th century, but in the years to come, others engaged in warfare would acknowledge that the Revolution’s implications extended these aims. While historians disagree on how to interpret the long-term success of the French Revolution, it is indisputable that this war greatly influenced the nature of warfare by initiating the movement towards the totality of war.
The French Revolution transformed the way in which modern and late-modern war would be, and is, fought. Before 1794, army formations lacked flexibility, but the Revolution gave rise to the widespread use of the column formation that allowed for greater maneuverability in the battlefield. Additionally, warfare became a national effort
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In other words, one of the most long-lasting implications of the French Revolution was that it opened the path to total warfare because it became normal for wars to bring destruction and misery to citizens not normally involved in war. While it is true that this amount of violence was not entirely novel, it had never been as widespread or normalized as it was during the modern and late-modern periods. During the French Revolution, citizens became legitimate targets since war became “total in scope and aims.” During the early 1790s, the French so-called Reign of Terror took several actions against its domestic enemies in order to silence any opposition. French revolutionaries’ actions primarily included governmental repression, most directly in the form of about 17,000 legal executions and 23,000 illegal ones. These actions instigated the characteristics that would develop into the total warfare of the Second World War and certain totality aspects of

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