By 1915, Americans began debating the need for military and economic preparations for war. Strong opposition to "preparedness" came from isolationists, socialists, pacifists, many Protestant ministers, German Americans, and Irish Americans (who were hostile to Britain). One of the hit songs of 1915, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier," by lyricist Alfred Bryan and composer Al Piantadosi,... Read More »
In the spring of 1792, the Legislative Assembly—particularly its Executive Committee, dominated by Girondins—took a more aggressive attitude toward Austria, repeatedly arguing that France needed to act first to ward off invasion and thereby not only preserve but advance the Revolution by spreading it across Europe. In June 1792, Jean–Marie Roland de la Platière, a Girondin minister in the King... Read More »
This account, probably by Thomas Howell, a soldier of the Highland Light Infantry regiment, offers a firsthand account of the skirmishes between British/Portuguese forces and the French armies. Little is known about Howell except that he was born in 1790 of Methodist parents. His memoir was published shortly after the events described (a second edition dates from 1819).
The “French” armies included units from many allied states. Excerpted below is the memoir of an ordinary foot soldier in Napoleon’s army. Jakob Walter came from Württemburg, one of the medium-size German states allied with Napoleon. He fought against other German states, in this instance Prussia.
This account by British Private William Wheeler of the 51st Regiment gives a vivid account of the hand–to–hand fighting in Portugal. Wheeler’s letters home were saved by the family and form the basis of their publication in 1949.
The general peace agreement lasted a scant two years after the treaty of 1801. Although unable to seriously threaten an occupation of the British Isles, Napoleon was very successful on the continent, launching major wars into Austria, Prussia, Spain, and Italy until overreaching into Russia in 1812. The attack on Ratisbon was a key part of a struggle against Austria. Although defeated before,... Read More »