By David Stevenson

In the summertime of 1914 Europe exploded right into a frenzy of mass violence. The conflict that had worldwide repercussions, destroying 4 empires and costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Even the positive nations have been scarred for a iteration, and we nonetheless at the present time stay in the conflict's shadow. during this significant new research, released a few 90 years after the 1st international battle all started, David Stevenson re-examines the factors, direction and influence of this 'war to finish war', putting it within the context of its period and exposing its underlying dynamics. His ebook presents a wide-ranging overseas historical past, drawing on insights from the most recent learn. It deals compelling solutions to the major questions on how this bad fight opened up: questions that stay disturbingly proper for our personal time.

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The council of state, whose members were chosen and appointed by the first consul, and who also enjoyed the same salary as senators, was at once an advisory and a supervisory body directly responsible to Napoleon. From its inception, it became another preserve of the brumairians, who came from diverse political backgrounds during the Revolution, and who brought to it a range of professional skills and experience. It was allowed some small margin to influence Napoleon’s will, for instance in drafting the legislation he wished to initiate, and a rather wider one to keep his ministries in check.

This, in the event, had provoked a profound schism among the clergy and given papal as well as royalist backing to the counter-revolution. Historians have tried for nearly 200 years to subsume all these reforms under a coherent label. The most familiar is surely still the Marxist idea of a ‘bourgeois revolution’, marking the Revolutionary decade off from the corrupt and atrophied ‘feudal’ 15 or ‘aristocratic’ privileges of the old regime. We know now that this is a simplistic model, that ‘feudalism’ had lost most of its original meaning in France by 1789, and that commoners had been able to buy their way into privileged status.

The principle of the separation of the powers, which had caused so many practical difficulties during most of the Revolutionary decade, especially in prosecuting war, was nevertheless retained as a constitutional fig-leaf. Ministers could not at the same time be legislators or tribunes, nor except on formal occasions even enter those assemblies, and they could not themselves initiate legislation. The new tribunate of 100 members, aged twenty-five or more and officially selected by the senate from the national lists, had the constitutional right to debate but not enact proposed laws.

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