The Revolution raged for six years which made things look shabby in the country. France stood in need of a bold leadership for making the tottering country stand on its feet. But it was something unfortunate that the members of the Directory were men of mediocre talent who had earned a bad name for indulging in corruption and bribery. They were not wedded to the cause of the country. They were selfish and believed in self-aggrandizement. The result was that the Directory was dissolved after 4 years of its reign. The history of four years of the Directory was troubled, uncertain and ended in its violent overthrow.
3.5a Issues before the Directory
It was necessary for the Directory to keep the army personnel engaged incessantly in wars because by it they would be enhancing the material wealth and prestige of the country in the eyes of the people abroad. Moreover, this move, to be sure, would stabilize the foundations of the Directory. It was with this view that they continued waging war. As far as the internal conditions were concerned they had to make economic reforms for removing the social misery. They were also required to introduce religious reforms to save the country from ruin.
When the Directors were sworn in and took charge of their offices,
they realized that they would have to solve the big problems confronting
the country both in internal and foreign affairs. There was no ray
of hope for peace and order till these problems had been tackled
ably and urgently. France had to continue war against England, Austria
and Sardinia, for smashing their joint power. But there was shortage
of war material in France even before the advent of the Revolution.
They were also less efficient in war strategy as compared to their
enemies. But now due to the military genius of Carnet, and long
experience of waging war they could boast of high efficiency.
3.5b Directory and its Work
The Directory immediately on assumption commanded Carnet to attack Austria and Italy. Jordan and Morecan were sent to invade South Germany with the aid of a huge army. Napoleon Bonaparte was dispatched with another army to invade Italy. Napoleon was a born soldier. He gave so much importance to war that after the Italian invasion and on account of his victories Austria had to accept defeat at the hands of France. Napoleon exhorted his soldiers after winning Sardinia in the Italian war in the following enlivening manner:
"Soldiers in fifteen days you have won six victories, taken twenty-one stands of colors, fifty-five pieces of cannon…
You have taken fifteen hundred prisoners and killed or wounded 1000 men…But, soldiers…you have still battles to fight, towns to take, rivers to cross."