Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tolstory: Do you agree with his interpretation of history?

written by Devin (Ace) Austin
Throughout the book Tolstoy presents this complex idea of history being defined by smaller events that add up to larger events. Tolstoy uses this to say that the major figures of war such as the Tsar Alexander and Napoleon have had little impact on the actual impact of war. Tolstoy argues it is each soldiers decisions that decide the war rather than the planning by aristocrats. Maybe Tolstoy does have some bias against aristocrats as Tolstoy enjoyed peasantry and loved the average 19th Century proletariat. Do I agree? No. While it is true that the actual soldiers control some parts of war, it is the planning and placement of war that leads to conclusions. The people who controlled the planning and placement were aristocrats like Tsar Alexander and Napoleon. So to say that these historical figures should be disregarded because of their lack of actual fighting is nonsense. If not for these characters, would there even have been a war or just a battle between soldiers? I'm interested in you all's thoughts on this topic. 


  1. You're outlook on Tolstoy's opinion is a practical approach to it as yes, in times of war one needs to be the commander and lead the troops but if you look at the situation abstractly you can understand were he was coming from. Tolstoy was not entirely focusing on battles, he was looking at entire movements of events. The French having to retreat from Russia was not just because Napoleon said so but because of multiple causes( weather, lack of basic needs and etc).

  2. Do you think that Tolstoy believes the actions of aristocrats specifically to be irrelevant, or the actions of individuals in general? It seems to me Tolstoy believes that regardless of status as an aristocrat or peasant, the actions of individuals are inconsequential in the face of the greater purpose of history.