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The Battle of Blenheim   By: (1870-1953)

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First Page:

THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM

[Illustration: Plate I. The Battle of Blenheim.

Frontispiece. ]

THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM

BY HILAIRE BELLOC

LONDON STEPHEN SWIFT & CO., LTD. 10 JOHN STREET, ADELPHI 1911

CONTENTS

PAGE

PART I. THE POLITICAL OBJECTIVE 9

" II. THE EARLY WAR 16

" III. THE MARCH TO THE DANUBE 28

" IV. THE SEVEN WEEKS THE THREE PHASES 68

" V. THE ACTION 109

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

The General Situation in 1703 27

Map showing the peril of Marlborough's March to the Danube beyond the Hills which separate the Rhine from the Danube 45

Map illustrating Marlborough's March to the Danube 59

Map illustrating the March of Marlborough and Baden across Marcin's front, from the neighbourhood of Ulm to Donauwörth 71

Map showing how Donauwörth is the key of Bavaria from the North West 76

Map showing Eugene's March on the Danube from the Black Forest 92

Map showing the Situation when Eugene suddenly appeared at Hochstadt, August 5 7, 1704 95

The Elements of the Action of Blenheim 118

THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM

PART I

THE POLITICAL OBJECTIVE

The proper understanding of a battle and of its historical significance is only possible in connection with the campaign of which it forms a part; and the campaign can only be understood when we know the political object which it was designed to serve.

A battle is no more than an incident in a campaign. However decisive in its immediate result upon the field, its value to the general conducting it depends on its effect upon the whole of his operations, that is, upon the campaign in which he is engaged.

A campaign, again, is but the armed effort of one society to impose its will in some particular upon another society. Every such effort must have a definite political object. If this object is served the campaign is successful. If it is not served the campaign is a failure. Many a campaign which began or even concluded with a decisive action in favour of one of the two belligerents has failed because, in the result, the political object which the victory was attempting was not reached. Conversely, many a campaign, the individual actions of which were tactical defeats, terminated in favour of the defeated party, upon whom the armed effort was not sufficient to impose the will of his adversary, or to compel him to that political object which the adversary was seeking. In other words, military success can be measured only in terms of civil policy.

It is therefore essential, before approaching the study of any action, even of one so decisive and momentous as the Battle of Blenheim, to start with a general view of the political situation which brought about hostilities, and of the political object of those hostilities; only then, after grasping the measure in which the decisive action in question affected the whole campaign, can we judge how the campaign, in its turn, compassed the political end for which it was designed.

The war whose general name is that of the Spanish Succession was undertaken by certain combined powers against Louis XIV. of France (and such allies as that monarch could secure upon his side) in order to prevent the succession of his grandson to the crown of Spain.

With the various national objects which Holland, England, the Empire and certain of the German princes, as also Savoy and Portugal, may have had in view when they joined issue with the French monarch, military history is not concerned. It is enough to know that their objects, though combining them against a common foe, were not identical, and the degrees of interest with which they regarded the compulsion of Louis XIV... Continue reading book >>




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