The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were a struggle of catastrophic proportions. They erupted from a series of chronic cracks that had opened in the international order of 18th-century Europe. Britain, France, the German kingdom of Prussia, Austria, and Russia all had conflicting strategic aspirations. ‘Origins’ explains why such a conflict arose in the first place, examines the background to the conflict, and its causes. The three forces that drove Europe towards impending disaster were a surge of Russian power in the east, the French Revolution, and an alliance between Austria and Prussia.