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War After Napoleon to World War II

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Essay title: War After Napoleon to World War II

8 Aug 2002

WAR AFTER NAPOLEON TO WORLD WAR II

After the defeat of Napoleon and the French Empire, the world looked favorably upon options for peace. The greatest sea power of the time was Britain, and with the goal of controlling the free trade, the island country looked to make the waters more advantageous. The British government realized that a countries wealth was not going to be possessed by an expanding empire, but by the profitable growth of commercial trade. The oceans were looked at as a boulevard to other markets for supplies and for sales.

The long period of peace was due to the British navy being out on the oceans and controlling waters for it's lines of communication. The industrial age brought about a need for different countries to work together in order to maintain each other's call for supplies. With the British having the greatest navy, they were able to control where and who was granted access to the waters.

During the American Civil War the North explored a tactic of economic warfare by a blockade of ships against the South in order to prevent the transportation of goods to the non-industrial geographical location. It was soon discovered that the stronger ironclad ships could withstand a tremendous amount of firepower from another vessel, and by the end of the nineteenth century the tactics of controlling the waters included submersible vessel that were used to either go around, or under, or to engage the hull of another vessel.

In the nineteenth century a military theorist named Carl von Clausewitz studied extensively every lesson that had been learned up to that point about war and produced a written thesis, On War. His writings pointed to the actual reasons behind war: The total submission of the opposition. Furthermore, Clausewitz defined the execution of war as an extension of political conference and the goal of this confrontation is the extinction of the opposition. Granted the total annihilation of another group is considered inhumane, but the theories of Clausewitz are true and apply to war then and now. The definition of total war would be pushed to the extreme and the industrial revolutions around the world gave ample opportunity for even subordinate countries to rise up and seek to gain "total control" of another country. Furthermore, Clausewitz's idea of war as a political tool also implies that negotiations do not cease during a war and are actually a continuous process.

During the industrial revolution many inventions made the effort to employ a large armed force a possibility. The cotton gin and sewing machine made uniforms for masses feasible and the iron industry's change to steel and new forms of production lines, spawned from the idea of interchangeable parts, produced large amounts of artillery. The greatest invention of the industrial age was the railway system, which enabled faster transportation of supplies and manpower, whose energy would not be depleted from forced march.

The testing grounds for the railway system was American soil during the Civil War. It was learned that units could be supported even if they were far from the supply base. General Grant's ability to maneuver the supply line and army through the rivers and railways was one of the factors in the North's overall victory. Grant was also able to effectively conduct war on battlefronts from three to twelve miles wide, and while this large area of operation would drive most commanders away from the front, Grant could be found along his line and even had his horse shot out from under him in one engagement.

The use of the railway was observed all over the world as an effective line of communication and was exploited by the Prussian army. During the 1860s, the wars with Denmark, Austria, and France brought about the unification of Germany in order to combine the efforts of industrialization and spring the nation into a major world power.

The rivals over the British control of the seas drew Germany into making the first move in the events that lead to World War I by taking over Belgium and threatening to overrun the French boarders. The main reason that the Germans were unsuccessful was that a change was made halfway through the German's tactic of offensive strategy and after the death of Schlieffen, the tactic was moved to a defensive position. The war brought new weapons from the industrial revolution: poisonous gas shells, the tank, and aircraft. The aircraft brought a new factor and was first recognized as a reconnaissance asset that blossomed into bombers and fighters.

The German blockade in the waters included an effort against all neutral countries as well. American policy of neutralism was temporarily put on hold by the Germans attack without warning on any vessel that tried

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