The Halt in the Mud: French Strategic Planning from Waterloo to Sedan

Overview

Historians have traditionally seen Prussia as the creator of modern strategic planning. The members of the Great General Staff in their carmine-striped trousers have long received credit for perfecting "off the shelf" plans for any contingency. In contrast, the French have been depicted as effete martinets or feckless hussars, fearless in battle but utterly unconcerned with such arcane matters as national strategy. The French Army in the years following Waterloo has been depicted as an institution mired in ...
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1994 Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dust jacket 0813315360. Text clean and tight; History and Warfare; 0.9 x 8.8 x 6.1 Inches; 274 pages.

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Overview

Historians have traditionally seen Prussia as the creator of modern strategic planning. The members of the Great General Staff in their carmine-striped trousers have long received credit for perfecting "off the shelf" plans for any contingency. In contrast, the French have been depicted as effete martinets or feckless hussars, fearless in battle but utterly unconcerned with such arcane matters as national strategy. The French Army in the years following Waterloo has been depicted as an institution mired in reactionary politics, and the entire period of French military history from 1815 to 1870 has most often been seen as a "halt in the mud." But in this important new book, Gary Cox demonstrates that nineteenth-century French defense policy was much more dynamic and creative than has been previously supposed. In The Halt in the Mud, Cox illustrates that contrary to most generally held opinions, France began formulating long-range strategic plans in the years immediately following Waterloo. Carefully buttressing his thesis with evidence gleaned from the French Army's own archives, Cox argues that these plans were firmly rooted in the Napoleonic conception of strategy and staff work and strongly influenced French strategic planning all the way down to the outbreak of the Great War. The author also analyzes the development of the crucial rivalry between France and Germany in the years leading up to the Franco-Prussian War. He traces the roots of this conflict, shows the essential similarities in approach between early German and French strategic planning, and then discusses why French and German strategic planning methods diverged so fundamentally. The Halt in the Mud fills an important gap in our understanding of how France and her army prepared for war in the nineteenth century and sheds new light on France's preparations for the Franco-Prussian War and her reaction to the catastrophic defeat of 1870.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813315362
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Series: History and Warfare Series
  • Pages: 258
  • Lexile: 1530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Napoleonic Inheritance: Strategic Planning in the Wars of the Revolution and the Empire 1
French Strategic Planning in the Revolution 4
Napoleon and Napoleonic Strategy 9
2 The French Defense Problem in 1815 21
Rebuilding the French Army 23
The French Frontier in 1815 30
Forming the Allied Security Cordon 33
3 The "Great Ministry" of Marshal Gouvion Saint-Cyr 37
The Army of Gouvion Saint-Cyr 41
Saint-Cyr's General Staff 45
4 The Defense Commission of 1818 52
The Commission Meets 55
End and Assessment 67
5 The French Reaction to the Founding of the German Federal Army 72
Provisions for a Federal Army 75
The French Army and Defense Planning, 1824-1830 78
6 1830: Revolution, Belgium, and the Brink of War 94
French Rearmament 96
Allied Preparations 99
The Emergence of Soult and Pelet 103
7 The Price of Success 121
Attempts at Internal Arms Reform 124
A New Defense Commission 129
8 Collision Course: 1840-1848 139
The German Reaction 143
The French Response 150
The Army and the Revolution of 1848 154
9 Paved with Good Intentions 161
"An Urgent Need to Correct Defects" 162
"War [with France] Was Not to Be Avoided" 169
"The Consequences of Professional Decadence" 176
"He Saw Destroyed All His Illusions" 183
Afterword 187
Notes 193
Bibliography 229
About the Book and Author 249
Index 251
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