The Coalition Crumbles, Napoleon Returns
The 1799 Campaign in Italy and Switzerland, Volume 2
Sales Date: March 12, 2021
344 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: March 2021
- Published: March 2021
- Published: March 2021
Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831) is best known for his masterpiece of military theory On War, yet that work formed only the first three of his ten-volume published writings. The others, historical analyses of the wars that roiled Europe from 1789 through 1815, informed and shaped Clausewitz’s military thought, so they offer invaluable insight into his dialectical, often difficult theoretical masterwork.
Among these historical works, one of the most important is Der Feldzug von 1799 in Italien und der Schweiz, which covers an important phase of the French Revolutionary Wars. The Coalition Crumbles, Napoleon Returns focuses mainly on the campaigns in Switzerland, where the cracks that finally fractured the alliance between Russia and Austria and led to the defeat of the Second Coalition first opened.
Moving from strategy to battle scene to analysis, this first English translation of volume 6 of Clausewitz’s collected works nimbly conveys the character of Clausewitz’s writing in all its registers: the brisk, often powerful description of events as they unfolded and the critical reflections on strategic theory and its implications.
The Coalition Crumbles, Napoleon Returns features Suvorov’s astonishing march through the St. Gotthard Pass and major actions such as the Second Battle of Zurich and the Battle of Mannheim. The nature of the campaign highlighted the contrast between the opposing armies’ different strengths and weaknesses and the problems of fighting as part of a coalition. This book will expand readers’ experience and understanding of not only this critical moment in European history but also the thought and writings of the modern master of military philosophy.
"The 1799 Campaign in Italy and Switzerland becomes a kind of concordance to On War, marking it as an invaluable addition to Anglophone studies of Clausewitz and his work. . . . an invaluable addition to the field of Clausewitz studies."—H-Net Reviews
"Ultimately, Murray and Pringle have produced finely translated, edited, and annotated volumes of the campaigns in Italy and Switzerland in 1799."—Journal of Military History
“Carl von Clausewitz’s The 1799 Campaign in Italy and Switzerland deserves attention not only because it is one of the last texts he wrote. Careful readers would not fail to recognize why this largely overlooked campaign preoccupied Clausewitz’s mind in the late 1820s. None of the adversaries could claim a commander of Napoleon’s caliber, thus providing a more balanced view about the changes the French Revolution had ushered in in the military realm. The campaign revealed the difficulties of coalition warfare, a subject Clausewitz mulled over in the late 1820s. Fought within a fraught domestic and international context, the campaign’s leadership and direction frequently changed. For many of the participants, this remained mainly a war with limited objectives. In other words, throughout The 1799 Campaign, Clausewitz explored issues he had encountered while writing On War but was yet to capture on its pages comprehensively. Murray and Pringle’s translation is exceptional; it remains faithful to the original while offering its readers elegant and accessible prose.”—Vanya Eftimova Bellinger, author of Marie von Clausewitz: The Woman behind the Making of On War
“Carl von Clausewitz—the name evokes the masterpiece of military theory, but much of the great Prussian theorist’s voluminous legacy remains unknown to the wider public. This includes Clausewitz’s insightful analysis of crucial campaigns of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Nicholas Murray and Christopher Pringle have done a masterful job in rectifying this problem. They have already translated Clausewitz’s book on Napoleon’s 1796 Italian Campaign, and now regale us with a new and exciting edition of the eminent military thinker’s analysis of the 1799 campaigns in Italy and Switzerland. This is a highly welcome and thought-provoking addition to Clausewitzian studies. The translation is brilliantly executed, with copious footnotes and annotations by the erudite editors. This book should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the French Revolutionary Wars or who wants to understand how history, strategy, and politics interact under wartime conditions. Highly recommended!”—Alexander Mikaberidze, author of The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History
A Note on Wargaming
Original Editor’s Note
6. The Main Armies in Switzerland under the Archduke and Masséna Face Each Other Inactive for Three Months. Lecourbe Defeats the Austrian Left Wing in the Mountains
7. Suvorov Moves to Switzerland. Korsakov Is Beaten by Messéna at Zurich. The Allies Retreat behind the Rhine
8. Archuke Charles Relieves Philippsburg, Takes Mannheim, and Returns to Lake Constance. Suvorov Marches away to Swabia; End of the Campaign in Switzerland. Starray Relieves Philippsburg Twice. End of the Campaign on the Rhine
9. Melas Beats Championnet at Genola and Takes Cuneo. Fr&oauml;hlich Besieges and Takes Ancona
Editors’ Overview and Afterword
A gallery of maps appears after page 182