Chapter 6: Abstract

Society, Mass Warfare, and Gender in Europe during and after the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

(Alan Forrest, Universty of York, Department of History)

In Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600, ed. by Karen Hagemann et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 158-75.


The period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars between 1792 and 1815 was characterized by mass warfare on an unprecedented scale. All the belligerent states used large armies that were principally composed of volunteers, militias and conscripts and were increasingly mobilized by patriotic and nationalist rhetoric. But warfare on this scale did not depend only on the military; it also required the mobilization of civil society to provide material war support, medical care and war charity. Civilians played a significant role in these wars. They were the victims of war violence and were also a target for economic warfare. This chapter explores the implications of this new form of mass warfare for women and for the gender order. After discussing the major changes in the political and military order and their consequences for the waging of war during this period, it examines the costs of the new forms of mass warfare for society and explores the different forms of encounter between soldiers and civilians. A final section looks at the variety of ways in which women
contributed to the war effort.


French Revolutionary Wars; Napoleonic Wars; Europe; Russia; Caribbean; patriotism; costs of war;  warfare and civilians; gender.

In Part I “From the Thirty Years War and Colonial Conquest to the Wars of Revolution and Independence” of the Oxford Handbook of Gender, War and the Western World since 1600.

To buy an electronic version of this Oxford Handbook chapter click here.

Bibliographic lists: Select Bibliography | Full List

Abstracts: Previous Abstract | Table of Contents | Next Abstract