- Nov 20, 1994
- 6 x 9 in.
In August 1792, Goethe accompanied Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, during the Prusso-Austrian invasion of revolutionary France to restore Louis XVI as king. After the Cannonade of Valmy that September, the German armies were forced to retreat, never again to threaten the heart of France until the end of the Napoleonic era. The French subsequently invaded the Rhineland and captured the city of Mainz, claiming it for the French Republic. When German armies besieged Mainz, Goethe witnessed the capture of the city at the close of 1793.
Goethe’s narrative of these events has become a classic text for the history of Franco-German relations during the revolutionary period. A product of recollection, historical hindsight, and considerable study of other published sources, it is a fascinating document of the military catastrophe exposing the decline of Prussian power since the death of Frederick II, which eventually culminated in Napoleon’s devastating 1806 victory at Jena and Auerstedt.