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Tolstoy Writes His Novel On The Frenchrussian War Half A Century After Its Occurrence

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He raises the question ofSince the end of the year I 3 I I an intense arming and concentration of western
European forces had begun, and in the year :81; those forcesmrniliions of
men (including those who transported and fed the armyJ—moved from west
to east, to the borders of Russia, towards which, since the year I311, the forces
of Russia had been drawn in exactly the same way. On the twelfth of June, the
forces of western’Europe crossed the borders of Russia, and war began—{hat
is, an event took place contrary to human reason and to the whole of human
nature. Millions of people committed against each other such a countless
number of villainies, deoeptions, betrayals, thefts, forgeries and distributions of
false banknotes, robberies, arsons, and murders as the annals of all the law
courts in the world could not assemble in whole centuries, and which, at that
period of time, the people who committed them did not look upon as crimes. _ What produced this extraordinary event? What were its causes? Historians
say with naive assurance that the causes of this event were the offense inflicted
upon the duke of Oldenburg, the non—observance of the Continental System,It Napoleon’s love of power, Alexander’s firmness, diplomatic mistakes, and
so 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 fiére, je consens it
rendre le ducbé an due d’Oldenbourg*—and 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 the
intrigues 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 was
caused by Napoleon’s love of power; to Prince Oldenburg it seemed that
the 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 History