Bankruptcy, famine in the countryside, and a starving army were just some of the crises facing Louis XIV in 1709. Eight years into the War of the Spanish Succession, the allied armies led by the Duke of Marlborough, had also managed to breach the French defences on the Flanders frontier. Threatened with the prospect of invasion, Marshal Villars and his French forces met Marlborough in the field resulting in the climactic Battle of Malplaquet, halting the allied advance and changing the course of the war. Or so this is how the battle if often remembered. Darryl Dee is not so sure. His research questions the idea that the Battle of Malplaquet, and battles in general, can ever be so decisive. In this episode of On War & Society, Darryl Dee and Kyle Falcon discuss researching and teaching the great battles in history.
Darryl Dee is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. He is interested in 17th- and 18th-century French history, particularly the reign of Louis XIV, the famous Sun King. He is currently working on two research projects. The first examines the uses and abuses of money during the period 1680 to 1726. The second project is a multifaceted analysis of 1709, a year of military, political, economic and ecological crises in France.