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The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-1660$
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Henry Reece

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198200635

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198200635.001.0001

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The Demise of the Army

The Demise of the Army

(p.189) 10 The Demise of the Army
The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-1660

Henry Reece

Oxford University Press

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

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