Ch 05 The End of the Middle Ages

Ch.05-The End of the Middle Ages

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CHAPTER V: THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES


SECTION 3: THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR II

 

 

THERE ARE NO CLEAR REASONS FOR THE RENEWAL OF THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR OTHER THAN HENRY V’S DESIRE TO CONQUER FRANCE BY A DYING CLASS. AN INTERESTING PARALLEL WAS THE BLIND, SUICIDAL AND IMPULSIVE DRIVE BY THE BOURGEOSIE TOWARDS WAR AND FASCISM IN THE 1930S.IN 1415, HENRY’S POSITION AT HOME WAS INSECURE AND INVADING FRANCE GAVE AN EXCUSE TO GIVE EMPLOYMENT TO HIS RESTLESS NOBLES.

FOR THEM, UNLIMITED PLUNDER, AND FOR HENRY, THE FRENCH THRONE. HOWEVER BASELESS THE WAR, IT WOULD RESULT IN AN IMMEDIATE STRENGTHENING OF HIS POSITION.

 

THE LOLLARD RISING IN 1418 BY SIR JOHN OLDCASTLE DEMONSTRATED THE SOCIAL UNREST AT HOME.

 

IN FRANCE, THERE WAS CIVIL WAR BETWEEN THE DUKES OF BURGUNDY AND ORLEANS, AND HENRY SIDED WITH BURGUNDY SINCE THE ORLEANIST FACTIONS HAD CONTROL OF THE IMBECILE KING CHARLES VI. HE LANDED AN ARMY AT NORMANDY.

 

THE SAME TATICS FOLLOWED ON FROM THE PREVIOUS GRECY CAMPAIGN SET BY EDWARD III, AND, AFTER A SIEGE, DISEASE CARRIED OFF HALF THE INVADERS.

HARFLEUR ON THE SEINE WAS CAPTURED, AND HENRY PLUNGED RECKLESSLY INTO THE INTERIOR ONLY TO BE CORNERED AT AGINCOURT BY AN ARMY SIX TIMES THE SIZE OF HIS OWN.

 

HERE, THE FRENCH REPEATED ALL THEIR OLD ERRORS AND SUFFERED A TERRIBLE DEFEAT, BUT HENRY RETURNED TO ENGLAND TOO WEAK TO CONTINUE.

 

TWO YEARS LATER, HE RENEWED THE ATTACK ON FRANCE, BUT THIS TIME BY METHODICAL SIEZURE OF ONE DISTRICT AFTER ANOTHER, CONSOLIDATING HIS POSITION BEFORE CONTINUING.

THIS REALISTIC STRATEGY GAINED HIM HALF OF FRANCE AND A CLAIM TO THE FRENCH THRONE ON THE DEATH OF CHARLES VI.


AFTER HENRY’S DEATH IN 1422, HIS BROTHER, DUKE OF BEDFORD, CONTINUED THE WAR ON THE SAME LINES, AND, BY 1428, THE FRENCH WERE DESPERATELY DEFENDING THEIR LAST IMPORTANT STRONGHOLD AT ORLEANS.

 

IT IS AT THIS MOMENT JOAN OF ARC APPEARS, A PEASANT GIRL FROM LORRAINE. WITH THE MOST OBSCURE REASONING, THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES WERE PERSUADED TO ALLOW HER TO RELIEVE ORLEANS.

THIS DISHEARTENED THE ENGLISH AND ENCOURAGED THE FRENCH. IT LED TO THE SEIGE BEING RAISED.

FURTHER FRENCH SUCCESSES FOLLOWED, WHICH RESULTED IN THE CROWNING OF THE DAUPHIN, SON OF CHARLES VI, AS KING OF FRANCE.

SOME FUTILE CAMPAIGNS FOLLOWED THAT WERE DELIBERATELY SABATAGED BY THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES, WHICH LED TO JOAN’S CAPTURE AND BURNING AT THE STAKE AS A WITCH BY THE ENGLISH IN ROUEN MARKETPLACE.

 

THE EXTRAORDINARY EFFECT JOAN HAD ON COMMON SOLDIERS OF BOTH THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH ARMIES CHANGED HISTORY AND ALSO CHANGED THE BELIEF THAT WAR WAS ONLY AN AFFAIR OF THE NOBILITY.


AGAINST COLLECTIVE NATIONAL INTERESTS, THE ENGLISH WERE POWERLESS.

 

JOAN CERTAINLY EXPLOITED THE SECRET RELIGIONS OF WITCH CULT, WHICH IN TURN EXPLOITED THE MASSES BECAUSE IT WAS A RELIGION OF THE ILLITERATE AND WAS FORCED TO EXIST UNDERGROUND.

IN PART, IT WAS A SURVIVAL BASED ON PRE-CHRISTIAN MYTHOLOGY AND THE DEVIL.

THE CULT WAS STRONGEST AMONG THE PEASANTS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY AND WAS STRONGER IN SCOTLAND THAN ENGLAND.

FRAGMENTARY EVIDENCE SUGGESTS IT WAS OFTEN CONNECTED WITH POLITICAL UNREST AND CONSPIRACY, WHICH WAS THE REASON FOR THE FRENCH AUTHORITIES’ DESIRE TO BE RID OF JOAN ONCE SHE HAD SERVED HER PURPOSE.

THE CONTINUED SUCCESS OF THE FRENCH AFTER JOAN WAS DUE TO THE ENTHUSIASM SHE RELEASED.

QUARRELS BROKE OUT BETWEEN ALLIANCES, AND, IN 1453, AT THE BATTLE OF CHATILLION, THE ENGLISH, ALREADY WEAKENED BY THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF BEDFORD, ABANDONED THE CAMPAIGN FOR LACK OF SUPPLIES AND LEFT FRANCE HOLDING ONLY CALAIS.

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