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Tolstoy writes his novel on the French-Russian war half a century after its occurrence.He raises the question of’

Since the end of the year I 3 I I an intense arming and concentration of westernEuropean forces had begun, and in the year :81; those forcesmrniliions ofmen (including those who transported and fed the armyJxe2x80x94moved from westto east, to the borders of Russia, towards which, since the year I311, the forcesof Russia had been drawn in exactly the same way. On the twelfth of June, theforces of western’Europe crossed the borders of Russia, and war beganxe2x80x94{hatis, an event took place contrary to human reason and to the whole of humannature. Millions of people committed against each other such a countlessnumber of villainies, deoeptions, betrayals, thefts, forgeries and distributions offalse banknotes, robberies, arsons, and murders as the annals of all the lawcourts in the world could not assemble in whole centuries, and which, at thatperiod of time, the people who committed them did not look upon as crimes. _ What produced this extraordinary event? What were its causes? Historianssay with naive assurance that the causes of this event were the offense inflictedupon the duke of Oldenburg, the nonxe2x80x94observance of the Continental System,It Napoleonxe2x80x99s love of power, Alexanderxe2x80x99s xefxacx81rmness, diplomatic mistakes, andso on. Consequently, it needed only that Metternich, Rumyantsev, or Talleyrand,between levee and rout, make a little better effOrt and write a more skillful dis-I patch, or that Napoleon write to Alexander: Monsieur, 5mm xefxacx81xc3xa9re, je consens itrendre le ducbxc3xa9 an due dxe2x80x99Oldenbourg*xe2x80x94and there would have been no war. Understandably, that was how the matter presented itself to contemporaries.Understandably, it seemed to Napoleon that the war was caused by theintrigues of England (as he said, in fact, on the island of St. HelenaJ); under-standably, to the members of the English Parliament itseemed that the war wascaused by Napoleonxe2x80x99s love of power; to Prince Oldenburg it seemed thatthe war was caused by the violence done him; to the- merchants it seemed that the war was caused by the Continental System, which was mining Europe;to the old soldiers and generals it seemed that the chief cause was the need to make use of them; to the legitimists of that time} that it was necessary to “

 

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