It is more easy to see now, a century and more later, where certain historical cycles can be labeled "one hundred years wars' or "European Civil Wars for expresssion of a cyclical theory of history in Europe appear. It takes a special pair of Glasses.
It is my feeling that Napoleon Himself (and it has been so credited to him) from the time of the battle of Jena/Auerstadt unleashed a great force in a nation that did not exist, but felt the surges of the "Emerging of the Nation State" phase of Eurohistory 'most strongly, perhaps,of any.
Italy was 'reuniting" under Garibaldi and the house of Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia, at the same time as it was clearly perceived that, both in Italy and Germany, that a United nation state such as France had morphed into subsequent to the One Hundred years War centuries earlier, was the road to survival in Europe.
Believe it or not "the Maid of Orleans" was a powerful if slow acting catalyst to the creation of a nation state where Louis XIV could confidently state "L'Etat; C'est Moi".
A maraudinng France under a succession of French Kings kept, for example, Britain busy (cf: Lord Marlborough and the Battle of Ramillies and Blenheim, maintaining what it perceived as a proper balance of power in Europe.
During the plethora of Wars revolving/evolving around "France's Pre Republican Wars" (in our books referred to-not a complete list-as the Religious Wars ,the 30 years war-, Queen Anne's War, the War of Spanish Succession, The Dutch War and others--the details of which remain to be reconstructed in my mind on this forum and just contemplating such an adventure has kept me a bit silent for many weeks hereon.
But between keeping the Turks at Bay (Battle of Vienna 1683 (cf: Prinz Eugen) and dealing with France's expansionist wars subsequent thereto, Eurpope was convulsed in wars with internation effects, from 1660 to 1763.
Taking the Grand View, this was, if one sees European History from an overhead view, a series of not so minor convulsions running through the above 1660-1763 period.
Taking the facts and moulding them to the theory, this could be viewed as Europe's Second One Hundred years' War.
I tragically oversimplify.
The next Cycle appears, of course, starting at the time of the Creation of the French Republic(s)--we are on our Fifth or Sixth French Republic of whichhe Third Republic proved the most durable and, perhaps, the most Imperial of the Republics. I understand that this is an oxymoronic comment. Throw in the existence for considerable periods of time of two "Empire", the second of Napoleon III who "annexed" a turbulent Mexico whilst the U.S. was engaged in its Civil War, and the powerful effect of the French State on and in Europe cannot be understated.
The creation of a strong French Republic in 1789 along with the "terror", the Republican wars, the Napoleonic Wars perhaps began the germination of the perception of the need for establshing powerful centrally governed Nation States for and by each, European "people". this force has not completely spent itself in the Balkans to this day, to be sure.
The unifications ,most notably that of Germany, most clealry shown by ) the Franco Prussian War of 1871 and two subsequent World Wars similarly but more devastatingly evidenced the drive to establsih such nation states.
German reunification conceptually but not technically at base a reassmbly of German ethnics extant in of the Holy Roman Empire of many Century's past, an attempt to grab a permanent place "in the Sun" and/or a Western Europe United unded a Third Reich (breaking down and detailed each of the Reich's will take some doing although we are all familiar with the madness of the third Reich (or-loosely-the third rule)
I gloss over the historical paralell between the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro Hungarian Empire.
So from one series of wars running roughly from 1789 to in 1814- somewhat briefly reflective eo or recent period of European peace, and after which Europe was stable for a period extending until 1848 under the Treaty established by the Congress of Vienna, we launch into a period again lapsing into of constant European Civil War in 1871. This did not end until 1945 and established firmly Germay's eventual place as just another nation, albeit a Great one, but not one powerful, wise or benevolent enough to Unite Europe under any of its flags. It was a Nation saved by the perception of the oncoming Cold War. this may have been a most fortuitous perception.
Nonetheless, in the apparent darkness into which Europe had been plunged we note that from a small personal "Imperial Guard" so to speak, and i take liberties obviously) to a semi autonomous multinational force, albeit under the command of a madman, but a madman who was far from stupid, far from weak, far from lacking diplomatic skill but possessed by what one came only call a demon partially wrapped in a occult faith. This force was the Waffen SS, the toughest fighting force ever fielded (imho).
By the end of the War the SS had been expanded to a force of 46 Divisions, which was then destroyed or disbanded in its turn. Only 90 US Army Divisons were fielded, in total in WWII to my knowledge, and we have more or less hovered (riding the razors edge of Guns vs. Butter) at around 20-30 divsions throughout the Potwar period. The Fact that this not completely inconsiderable force has been maintain is totally contrary to what the forefathers (but perhaps not G. Washington and Dwight Eisenhower) would have wished, despite the fact that The First President warned th fledgling Democracy to steer clear of "that Blood Soaked Continent (of Europe).
It as was and -in the end-unrealstic of him to make such a recommendation, but who could have foreseen America taking part in two European bloodbaths and emerging as a dominat player on the World Stage.
"WE, Occupy Germany for 50 years!!!!!! is what I can almost hear G.W screaming to us from the hereafter.
The Second "Pan European" Armys
A rough Estimate puts the peak troop levels of the Waffen SS (far from being mere Camp Guards) at possibly 460,000 men-perhaps the same size as the US Marine Corps in 1945/
I will cite the names of Waffen SS Divisions which appear to Indicate the base recruting areas of recruitment (much as the names of many Augustan Roman legions did. I am sure this is not a coincidence:
VII-Prinz Eugen-Balkans/ Volksdeutsch
V- Wiking-Danish, norwegian, Flemish and Finnish)***
XI-Nordland-Norwegian and Danish***
XVIII-Horst Wessel-Hungarian Volksdeutsch
XX-Estnich 1-Estonian legion
XXII-Maria Theresa-Hungarian Volksdeutsch
XXIII (2) Niederland-Dutch***
XXVI-Ungarishe No 1-Hungarians
XXX-Italianesche No 2.**
XXX no2-(former Russian prisoners**
SS Charlemagne*** was present in Berlin At The Fall.
Please Ask Questions. the Various Wars were picked for continuity sake.
Much more information is available.
SS Units of Possible limited utilty are marked **
Those that I rember to have served with distinction are marked ***
those units of which I have made no notation indicates that I have not heard of them spefically heavily engaged and may have stayed, or have been intended to stay where raised.
Note that these are only the arguable non Prussian or German-proper units.
It calls to mind in part the components of Napoleons "Grand Armee"-but which, I think, proved to be much less effective.
Many 'Deutsche" German SS Units, were made up of substantial Numbers of non Germans by the End of the War.
"The Forgotten Soldier", the story of Guy Sajer, an Alsatian who may of may not have been conscripted into a Wermacht Transport unit tranferred voluntarily into the SS DAS REICH division and served with many non Germans in Both formations.
Of Course Europe was always constantly at war at a greater or lesser level until 1945. I have made made theories based on what I viewed as evidence of the most pwerful "Convulsions".
As noted, i wouold be happy to research any interim, overlooked, of period of war unintentionally or intentionallyomitted for clarity of theory.
A follow on post On "the Strange Cse of Henry Francisco" is planned./