The Demise of the Army

Henry Reece

in The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-1660

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780198200635
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746284 | DOI:
The Demise of the Army

Show Summary Details


The downfall of the army in England in 1659–60 has never been satisfactorily explained. Traditional interpretations focus on a ‘divided interest’ between officers and soldiers, the ambition of the army grandees, and a decline in political commitment among the soldiers who were now allegedly more concerned with pay. This chapter provides an alternative narrative for the period September 1658 to May 1660, which attributes the army's demise primarily to the Rump's repeated purges of its officer corps, which undermined army unity and the relationship between officers and soldiers, and also to the dismal lack of leadership displayed by the army's senior officers in late 1659. The chapter emphasizes that there was nothing pre-ordained about Monck's triumph, and that he could easily have been neutralized by more effective leadership from Fleetwood and Lambert.

Keywords: officers; soldiers; pay; army purges; Rump; Monck; Fleetwood; Lambert

Chapter.  21002 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.