The question of how the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were remembered and understood remains an unexpectedly open one. Recent scholarship has shown that memories of conflicts varied from one region to another, given the different alliances and policies of individual states, and that there was often a disparity between official and popular commemorations and recollections. Historians still know comparatively little, however, about the degree of coalescence and conflict between differing conceptions of warfare; not merely between official and popular ones, but between varying images of war within states—on the part of ministers, diplomats, courtiers, and generals—and within different sections of society and emerging political milieux. Did contemporaries’ views of military conflict coincide in important respects and, if so, with what effects? How did contemporary Germans fit their experiences of and assumptions about the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars into a broader understanding of wars. The chapter investigates these questions.
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