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The French Revolution releases a giant impact force against the structures of the Old Regime. After the fall of the monarchy revolution takes a tumultuous course in which economic hardship, wars and actions of the counterrevolutionary forces contribute to exacerbate the political struggle. For beyond the multiple and conflicting images that the revolution has left of itself, it is certain that the ideas, the passions, the collective hopes that it will inspire constituted an irrepressible movement in European history. The expansion of revolutionary France reaches a continental scale during the Napoleonic era, upsetting the old equilibrium of the absolute monarchies. When Napoleon came to power in 1799 with a coup d'état, two military expeditions - in Italy in 1796-97, in Egypt in 1798-99 - had previously highlighted the qualities of a military commander and strategist. There is no doubt that his autocratic rule as First Consul (1799-1804) and as emperor (1804-14), was based on the support of the army, that, under Napoleon, became a powerful war machine, supported by ideological mobilization and a solid state apparatus. The Napoleonic epic is linked not so much to the image of the brilliant leader, as the most concrete reality of the first national mass army and that has ever appeared in history, an army collected on the basis of conscription, led by an elected body of officers trained for the task, motivated by the idea of the civilizing mission to accomplish. He was the prototype of the national armies of the nineteenth century, a reflection of states in which even the military functions were no longer the preserve of the nobility as the careers offered a chance to prestige that did not exist before. The war changed peculiarities and sizes: it became a clash of great armies launched in battles that had to be resolved with the annihilation of the enemy. The same size as the continental movements of the Napoleonic army indicated that the eighteenth century had waned strategies aimed, substantially, in maintaining the balance of power on the continent. It was proposed on the contrary a boost to the military dominance of large-scale, prelude political hegemony.


Battaglie in Sintesi

Battle of Hohenlinden

December 3, 1800

At Hohenlinden, near Monaco of Bavaria, the Austro-Bavarian confronted the French army of the Rhine. The victory of French forces, forced Austria to ask the signature of an armistice.

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