Essay Example on France succeeded in obtaining military Advantages








France succeeded in obtaining military advantages provided by the French Revolution however Prussia was more successful militarily than France by the 1870s How was Prussia able to defeat France even as a late adopter of the advantages wrought by the French and Industrial Revolutions Both states derived success from military revolutions and France handily defeated Prussian forces and nearly destroyed the entire Prussian army at Jena Auerstadt with these advantages in 1806 With this stinging loss Prussia was forced to make changes in their military and ultimately was more successful at exploiting the advantages offered by the French Revolution and Industrialization than France When a changed Prussian army geared to win at Napoleonic warfare again faced France in 1870 Prussia defeated France From where did these advantages come In answering this question the student of military history must first determine what constitutes a military revolution Major changes in society or culture affect the location where they occur and often surrounding states or nations

These major shifts sometimes also spark military revolutions True military revolutions are something more than mere advances in weapons technology or changes in defense spending Military revolutions fundamentally change the military or warfare forever Do these advantages directly flow from military revolutions In short no military revolutions alone do not provide advantages Just as a flowing stream offers waterpower it is only through the harnessing of this waterpower via a waterwheel or turbine that the power becomes usable Revolutions in military affairs harness military revolutions and derive usable advantages The French gained an advantage from the French Revolution namely the ability to gather larger land forces than their competitors through Nationalism Nationalism changed the composition of armies from being composed of troops loyal to a king to armies composed of troops of and for the people This shift engaged the population which became more supportive of the military and more willing to support that force through increased taxation This public support of the military and state showed the strength of Nationalism Nationalism gave France incredible advantages in mobilizing and training motivated responsive soldiers from their population Manning of the original peoples army was through volunteerism then the levee en masse and ultimately conscription Conscription increased the numbers of soldiers and the size of France's army

With a larger army France militarily outnumbered their opponents Napoleon utilized this increased troop power to create battalion attack columns which were compact and maneuverable while employing skirmishers to disrupt enemy formations resulting in powerful flexible combinations to defeat and pursue his foes forces Napoleon also sought to make the army of the people into a lasting institution and to keep France energized with militaristic Nationalism Prussia exploited both Nationalism and the Industrial 

Revolution earlier and more completely than competitors did The Industrial Revolution advantages that Prussia realized resulted in improvements in weapons transportation and communications The Prussian revolutions in military affairs created an effective staff organization to manage the military bureaucracy reformed their military structure and schooling and employed improved weapons transportation and communications technologies to beat competitors Prussia chose effective staff over relying on one genius such as a Napoleon or a Frederick Prussia also did not have to suffer from a French Revolution to still harness the multiplying effects through their government structure The key with technological innovations was the Prussian ability to recognize and organize these advances militarily and effect these advances into material advantages for their forces The advantages of technologies such as rail systems breech loading weapons and wire communications were recognized and employed effectively through staff planning troop training and military reform to allow Prussia to gain advantages over competitor militaries

This success however created a model for realizing the advantage of military revolutions that competitors could utilize Major continental armies copied the Prussian example and soon leveled the military field with Prussia taking away the Prussian advantage The French Revolution enabled France to create larger armies than their competitors which provided a military advantage Not until Prussia took the changes wrought by the French and Industrial Revolution and harnessed that power through an effective military staff was Prussia able to use these advantages to defeat France A key to making a concrete military change that results in military advantages is to harness the advantages provided by various revolutions via revolutions in military affairs fundamentally changing how the military operates and fights wars Improvements in technology alone do not win the day Just as failing to recognize or effectively utilize potential improvements will not result in military advantages either It is imperative to understand how military revolutions are translated into concrete advantages if the past is to offer solutions to present issues Today s military professional must understand this to avert believing the tempting notion that technology alone will solve military issues facing our nation Bibliography Parker Geoffrey ed The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare Cambridge UK Cambridge University Press 1995 Knox MacGregor and Williamson Murray eds The Dynamics of Military Revolution 1300 2050 New York Cambridge University Press 2001 Paret Peter ed Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age Princeton NJ Princeton University Press 1986

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