Headline June 06, 2016/ ''' JUST : *BLOOD -SWEAT AND TEARS* '''

''' JUST : 


PROFESSOR ROGER KNIGHT  -of the University of Greenwich, in an outstanding effort of research and deductive reasoning faces up to history.

THE ROLE OF BRITAIN  in the world was transformed by the Napoleonic conflict. By the time France declared war in 1793, British empire was way in decline; it had lost its North American colonies, a decade earlier.

But after Napoleon's defeat at the  Battle of Waterloo  in 1815 Britain emerged as the world's pre-eminent super power.

How did it overcome its previous setbacks to inflict a crushing defeat on Napoleon's  France? Historians have tended to explain this in terms of military, and naval strategy.

''But Britain against Napoleon'', a new book by Roger Knight,  argues that Britain was just far better at organising its war effort with Blood, Sweat and Tears.   

Its triumph could be ascribed to the fact that it was able to mobilise its political and economic resources more effectively than France did. 

Reforms improved political decision-making and Britain's civil-servants became  ''men of business''. State controlled defence industries were run more efficiently and production costs were cut,  thanks to innovation in manufacturing.

Factories that were opened in  1807   to make sailing blocks for the Royal Navy  are often cited as the world's first standardised mass mass-production line. 

*The British economy made a vital contribution. If British industry and shipping had been unable to supply the nation's and the allies' armed forces, the war could not have been won*.

The unprecedented scale of British smuggling overwhelmed Napoleon's attempt to stop Britain trading with continental Europe. The city of London also played a significant role.

Financiers such as Nathan Rothschild helped fund the national debt, which swelled by pound  578 million  [ about pound 36 billion in today's money ] to over 200% of GDP by the end of the war.

Britain paid its allies Pound 66 million, chiefly  Austria and Russia, without which they would have been unable to stay in the war. 

But the path to victory was not smooth. Britain was nearly invaded several times and the strains of financing the war nearly brought down the economy of two critical periods, in  1796-98  and  1807-12.

Riots, the result of high prices during the war, put pressure on political classes. Even the outcome of Waterloo hung in the balance..

The Duke of Wellington later commented that it was  ''the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.'' 

Mr Knight concludes that the conflict between Britain and France was a ''total'' war. 

The scale of the mobilisation of resources on the home front, the use of blockades as a economic warfare and the threat of invasion all share similarities with Britain's experience of the two world wars.

The conflict was between two contrasting industrial economies and political systems, a contest Britain won through better organisation of its resources.

The book's narrow focus on British elites is both a strength and a weakness. Mr Knight has made good use of political and government sources,  but there is scant coverage of the wider society, which weakens his broader case.

Unlike later ''total'' conflicts,  contemporary literature depicts Regency society as curiously unchanged by war.

In 1940  Virginia Woolf noted  that writers such as  Jane Austen depicted a world that was unaffected by the Napoleonic wars in a way inconceivable to Britons during the second world war.

''Wars then were remote,'' she mused nostalgically. Mr Knight should have looked at how ordinary people organised themselves to defeat Napoleon, rather than the  ''politicians, public servants, naval and army officers'' he focuses on.

*Total wars are fought by the masses -not just the political classes*.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and  !E-WOW!- the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Keeping Watch '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!