Saturday, August 05, 2006


War against the French is a major three part series, that examines how the seeds of the modern world were sown amid the turmoil of revolution and war. Using dramatic recreations, expert testimonies and the diaries and letters of key players, ranging from Robespierre to Wellington and Burke to Napoleon, the series brings vividly to life the crucial 26-year period, stretching from the outbreak of the French revolution in 1789 to the decisive Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when Europe was turned on its head.

Great Empires were created and destroyed and the unprecedented scale and ferocity of the conflict brought new ideas and forces into play; liberty, equality, nationalism, industrialisation and the birth of the working classes. In the period that is the focus of this series, France’s pretensions to global dominance were crushed, Britain became a world superpower, and the ideas that were to dominate the modern world, emerged.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, France was the most powerful and populous country in Europe. The French Revolution of 1789 created the first citizens' army and introduced total war. Under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, the greatest General of his age, France established a mighty empire.

How did a ramshackle British army triumph over the greatest fighting force since Roman times? The British were launched on a painful learning curve. Eventually, by 1815, they had defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

With testimonies, using the words of the ordinary soldiers of the day, this film explores how Britain won and how the modern world was hammered out on the anvil of war.


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