just like with their cars, the French don’t copy anyone, and nobody copies the French

Right. Rise of Modern War questions have come through, and I’m going to do my level best to get this essay done before the Christmas hols start, to avoid having it hanging over my head by a procrastination horsehair like a 20 credit Sword of Damocles.

Unfortunately, they are bastard questions. WTGAW = Way Too Generalised And Wanky, my catchall “don’t like this one”: it’s not a question which (I think) has enough decent historiography arguing over it, or it’s too vague to be well and easily answered without neglecting a good part of the question, or it’s just a crap question.

1. How did the recruitment of Thirty Years War armies impact on the societies that they drew upon?
WTGAW. The Thirty Years War lasted THIRTY YEARS (it’s in the name) and involved a huge number of different European societies which it affected differently; plus, this is social history, and I’m crap at it. It would probably end up as a comparative case study of Sweden, Scotland, Swabia and Switzerland, and I’m uncomfortable with that much alliteration.

2. In what way did military theoreticians of the Eighteenth century attempt to resolve ‘the recalcitrant indecisiveness of warfare’? Refer to at least two writers in your answer?
I’m probably going to do this one, because it follows on nicely from the Military Revolution stuff and lets me use the excellent Roger of Orrery quote for a third flipping time; but while there are plenty of books on the changing face of war at the time, it’s going to be annoying nailing down with good references references exactly what those Theoreticians actually said. I’ll go for Maurice de Saxe and Frederick the Great, I think, two of the period’s great characters.

3. Account for the fact that the war for the Spanish throne from 1701 to 1713 was primarily fought in the Low Countries.

4. What impact did technology have on war at sea in the Eighteenth century?
I have no idea, but this is my backup plan; should be an open-and-shut one if the reading is good.

5. ‘Napoleon was no great innovator; he merely adapted what he found to his purpose.’ Discuss.
WTGAW, a question which first requires me to define “innovator” and will result in endless semantic bollocks. Denied.

6. What determined the strategy of Louis XIV’s wars? How successful was this policy?
Interesting, but verging on WTGAW. Biggest issue is that I don’t know if there’s a simple answer; was it an early balance of power thing?

7. Was colonial expansion between 1713 and 1815 driven my military opportunism, or vice versa?
WTGAW; a hundred years on a topic covering the entire planet in 4k words?

8. Many writers have focussed on the failure of British strategy in the American War of Independence. Have these been fair or accurate judgements?
WTGAW, holy shit. Do not make me define “fair” and “accurate” in an essay, that’s philosophy, not history. The question boils down to “Are you a revisionist? Justify your revisionism in 4k words with references. Also, lol the wretched colonials won.”

9.‘Prussia’s rise to Great Power status was entirely the product of its military machine.’ Does this strike you as a valid proposition?
WTGAW, too many factors flying around.

10. How far was nationalism a driving force in the outbreak of wars before 1815?


3 thoughts on “just like with their cars, the French don’t copy anyone, and nobody copies the French

  1. thkya says:

    Haha, every time you talk about your studies I’m torn between ‘Thank God I don’t have to do this!’ and ‘THIS SOUNDS REALLY INTERESTING!’

    This post is heavy on the first option :D

  2. hugh_mannity says:

    There’s an awful lot of room for wank, angst and emo in those questions and few opportunities for a nice clean piece of analysis. Too much room for opinion and either to few hard facts or too broad a swath of history to glean the facts from.

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