That Affected The Conduct Of War. Essays Examples
The concept of war arose simultaneously with the beginning of life on Earth. Traces of war are presented in all historical periods. Political and economic conflicts or ideological clashes are the main factors of armed conflicts. Besides external causes, there are also internal, due to the fact that any human action is caused by both internal and external reasons. The essay is going to identify the key social, organizational, and technological changes that occurred between 1789 and 1918 and affected the conduct of war. It is going to answer the question how did these changes affect states in Europe?
According to British historian Eric Hobsbawm, 19th century begins in 1789 with the events of the French Revolution and ends in 1913. Thus, the First World War is a sort of prologue for a short 20th century (Hobsbawm, 1997, p. 45). There were identified key themes of the period of constant changes occurred during 1789 and 1918. They represent social differences, geopolitical tensions, ideological struggle and economic confrontation. Nevertheless, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, many thought that the war in Europe was a myth. If there were clashes, they happened far away in the colonial territories. The development of science and technology, the refined culture of the Fin de siècle in the view of many contemporaries, did not anticipate ‘a bloodbath’, which took away millions of lives and destructed four great European empires. It was the first war in the world to cover all social levels and sides of life (Ross, 1997, p. 48). Social, organizational and technical changes at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries caused the First World War and determined a political order for further years.
The Key Societal Changes between 1789 and 1918.
The most notable contribution to the process of war makes a psychological mechanism. Man, as a creature able to value the information, cannot exist outside of society, which created conditions for the generation and accumulation of information. In 1871, in Versailles, a triumphant unification of Germany took place. The Second Empire was formed. The proclamation took place against the background of the Franco-Prussian War, when France suffered a catastrophic defeat. It became a national disgrace: not only was Napoleon III, Emperor of the French Republic, captured, there were ruins remained of the second empire in France. It caused another Revolution and the Paris Commune. The war ended with the acceptance of France of its defeat and signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt in1871 that Alsace and Lorraine were disposed in favor of Germany and became the Imperial territories. In addition, France undertook to pay the indemnity in the amount of 5 billion francs. Much of that money went into the development of the German economy, which already in1890 led to its unprecedented rise. It was not the question of finance. The most important was the national humiliation felt by people in France that remembered to all generations from 1871 until 1914 about the defeat.
The wars of the French revolution started as national conflicts. They had a revolutionary character, protecting the great revolution against the coalition of anti-revolutionary monarchies. And when Napoleon created the French Empire, then they gained a national liberating character. After the defeat of Napoleon, the feudal reaction was established in many European countries. However, the main result of the fierce wars was not a temporary victory, but the liberation of Europe from the domination of Napoleonic France (Leighton, 2013, p. 64). It eventually contributed to the independent development of capitalism in some European states.
It was a period of a significant growth in population and, correspondingly, production. Europe faced the necessity to develop production to meet the needs of citizens. First country, where social changes took place, was France, while in England, the aristocracy managed to keep its positions. Adoption of a new economic system led to the increase of European importance in the world. In 1789-1848, there was common political instability in all European countries. The idea of revolution was in the air. Thus, all major political changes began with the French Revolution. At the same time new centrifugal forces (democratic, socialist, nationalist), which threatened the unity of the continent, began to act. In 1848, the whole Europe had a revolutionary crisis.
The revolution of 1848 was caused by economic depression happened in 1845-1846, the social clashes, and the ideological struggle. It was the beginning of a new political order based on universal suffrage. In most European countries, there was established a regime based on the recognition of the political freedoms that once again provided an opportunity to talk about European unity. European expansion in the world was carried out in four main areas: immigration, colonial engagements (through peaceful and military means), religious and cultural expansion. In the 19th century, Europe became the most populated continent. It represented one-quarter of the world's population. The immigration of the European population occurred due to economic, political and psychological causes. The largest number of emigrants had England, while the smallest amount immigrated from France. The immigrants contributed to the development of new states that soon became competitors of the European powers. So emigration not only served to the imperialist goals of European countries, but also benefited to the recovery of other parts of the world.
The main conflict in political and social life of Europe continued to be a conflict between the forces of order and the forces of progress. Among the first there were the aristocracy, the army, the Church and the peasantry. At the same time, the decline of the aristocracy was pervasive. Army in many states, for example, in Russia, Germany or Austria, was one of the most solid pillars of the regime. The Church in some countries was in tension with the state. It was spread in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. There the clergy could not stay away from the social issues of the day. However, in all countries, there was a decline of clergy. A free spirit of the peasants was spread. The industrial production caused deterioration in the living conditions of the working masses. At the same time, to receive education became popular among the masses of Western Europe, where the decline of religiosity took place. The first revolutionary decade gave rise to the concept of European education, in which all citizens could have equal rights. However, the French revolution launched challenge into the old European civilizations, and in response, it inevitably caused a response. Europe was divided between diametrically opposed modes.
The Key Organizational Changes between 1789 and 1918.
Napoleonic war conducted by France during the Consulate and the Empire of Napoleon I against coalitions of European States contributed significantly to the organizational order in Europe. They chronologically continued the French Revolution, the Convent and the Directory. At first, it had some progressive value and contributed to the destruction of the foundations of a feudal system, the development of capitalist relations in a number of countries in Europe. But the Napoleonic wars lost these advanced features and become aggressive. Undoubtedly, Napoleon caused all changes that occurred in 17th and early 19th centuries.
In 1800, under the pressure of internal contradictions a second coalition of European States against bourgeois France, in fact, broke up. French revolution replaced the religious intolerance of the reformation of political intolerance, which led to the tendency to prolong the hopelessly lost war. Political experience of Europe was extremely diverse. In France, parliamentary absolutism dominated. There were constitutional monarchies, some of what were evolved in the direction of democratization of the parliamentary regime, others toward increasing autocracy. But everywhere the socialism won strong positions, while traditional party can already cope with political and social issues of the moment.
England first demonstrated a new economic model. After 1815, the whole Europe was impressed by the technical superiority of England. France and Belgium followed its path. Countries in Central, Southern, Eastern and Northern Europe, in varying degrees, stick to the old economic regime for the entire first half of the 19th century. In 1815, two European ideologies emerged: liberal and conservative. Liberal Europe formed the countries in which the political system was based on the cooperation of representatives of the nation. Such system had England. Conservative Europe was formed by the countries with traditional political systems. In these countries (South, Central Europe, Balkan and Slavic countries) is the constant search for equilibrium between the public authorities, which must express the interests of all society and aristocracy, which requires states to protect its interests in the first place. In these countries, the Church remained one of the key pillars.
Constant wars caused instability and forced European countries to restore the old order. In 1914, in the economy there could be noticed transformation of economic structures. Although in different countries, this process took place at different rates. Europe's economy has been developed in a cyclical way. European countries were not able to use all the effects of the economic recovery. There was introduced also a new system in the army organization. Content of the World War 1890-1914 became the transition from the industrial to the information strategy of the development of European civilization. The monopolization of the industry became a serious test of the principles of the market economy and free competition. It led to serious changes. The monopolist economy began to limit free competition, and sometimes inhibited by the development of technologies. However, monopolization did not destroy the competition, it only postponed it.
The Key Technological Changes between 1789 and 1918.
In contrast to the industrial revolution of the 18th century that marked the transition from a manufacturing to a large machine production, modern scientific and technological revolution was a transition to a new quality of higher level machine production. Since the late 19 century, there were established large cartels, syndicates, trusts and corporations, which accelerated the processes of the war. States introduced restrictions on goods’ production, centralized system of distribution of raw materials, mat-fishing equipment.
The technological revolution that marked the period was characterized by technical and industrial adjustment of the structure of the national economy. This adjustment process created the material conditions for the subsequent stages of the automated machine production. Restructuring occurred in all elements of the production of machines, in production of technologies and the structure of the entire national economy. Immeasurably was increased the role of science in the development of production. Science became an immediate productive force, a specific part of the productive forces of society.
The foundation of modern scientific and technological revolution became electrification of all parts of the production process. Consequently, major changes in the development of production were directly related to the development of power engineering, electrical engineering and electronics. Creation of an automated machine production, complex automated control systems, the introduction of computers in the workplace transport, construction, research and development, design, planning organizations could not be done without the huge cost of electricity, without creating new electrical and electronic devices. The most common quality indicator of the level of technology has always been productivity. This rate became directly related to the performance of the machines, expressed in a number of products produced per unit of time. The performance of machines and techniques in general was in constant growing. Increasingly penetrating into the secrets of nature, people, as already noted, has learned to create powerful technical facilities that created strong capacities. One of the major tragedies of the war was the use of poisonous gasses in 1915. In a result, it took away 5000 people. The First World War was a conflict of technological engineering systems and high-tech inventions. German submarines were devastating attacks on the British fleet. Aircraft were used as means to determine enemy positions (reconnaissance function), and against the bombing.
In 1791, the European political figures had the illusion of a United Europe. It happened at a time when Europe was retreating from harmony, unity and embarked on the differences. But, till 1789 the personification of European civilization found a strong reflection in the French and English political development. First, it was established on the common roots, as Greek-Roman heritage, Christianity, the philosophical ideas of the founding fathers of which lies humanism. Secondly, it had everywhere the same social strata of the population. There also was a huge influence of technical changes of the period into the further wars and conflicts. With the end of the 18th century, the era of changes began. The First World War was a consequence of all social, economic, political, organizational and technical changes that took place during the indicated period. It created a new political order in Europe with new structures and borders, established a new basis for the international relations. All these factors had the impact on the further European development and changed the approach of people to war. People saw the possibility in it of sharing influences and get new positions in the world. It was thought that all the issues could be resolved in the armed manner with usage of force. The First World War was only a passage from one phase of the conflict to another. It had any moral lessons. There were only economic damages and political losses.
Hobsbawm, E. J. On History. New York: New, 1997. Print.
James, Leighton S. Witnessing the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in German Central Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.
Ross, Stewart. Causes and Consequences of the First World War. London: Evans, 1997. Print.