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Anti-Napoleonic Wars of Liberation (1813–1815)

Martina G. Lüke

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

Key-Topics alliances, French Revolution, nationalism, revolution, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00097.x


The Wars of Liberation ended the period of revolutionary and post-revolutionary wars in Europe since 1792 and the French occupation in Germany, Italy, and Spain. They are part of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of the Sixth Coalition. The end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and the political change of large territories and states initiated a series of reforms in Germany, particularly in Prussia. Political leaders such as Baron Karl vom und zum Stein and Count Karl August von Hardenberg and military reformers such as Carl von Clausewitz and Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst believed in the potential of insurrection rationalizing popular concepts of the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars of “nation in arms” through the enthusiasm of mass armies. At the same time, the oppression by France and the economic impact of the embargo in continental trade with England, as well as the impact of the cult of patriotism during the French Revolution , led to a new spirit of nationalism. This provided additional possibilities for irregular operations, as seen in the Spanish guerilla tactics in the Peninsular Campaigns (1808–9 and 1810–12). Similarly, Austria's attempt to challenge Napoleon I (1809) led to independent military actions such as those by Prussian Major Ferdinand von Schill , who without orders left Berlin to start an insurrection, or the Duke of Brunswick-Oels, who ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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