In the Napoleonic period warfare ceased to be a matter for armies alone, but also became an affair of the people. So, at least, runs the usual claim. In Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Russia outraged peasants and townsfolk rose against the French armies and fell upon them without mercy. From these insurrections we get the modern word 'guerrilla', but did armed civilians really play an important a role in the struggle? In this collection of essays a group of specialists on the Napoleonic epoch tease out the question, and arrive at some startling conclusions.
Charles Esdaile lectures on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, modern Europe and the Spanish Civil War at the University of Liverpool, UK. His recent publications include The Spanish Army in the Peninsular Wars (Manchester, 1988) The Duke of Wellington and the Command of the Spanish Army (Basingstoke, 1990) The Wars of Napoleon (London, 1995).