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The Peninsular War and Napoleons Downfall. Something to Ponder… Why is it so hard to hold an Empire together? Why do all Empires end? Are there any Empires.

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Presentation on theme: "The Peninsular War and Napoleons Downfall. Something to Ponder… Why is it so hard to hold an Empire together? Why do all Empires end? Are there any Empires."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Peninsular War and Napoleons Downfall

2 Something to Ponder… Why is it so hard to hold an Empire together? Why do all Empires end? Are there any Empires today?

3 The Peninsular War (1808-1813) The Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) was becoming trouble for Napoleon

4 Gov’t of Spain led by King Charles IV Napoleon and the incompetent Charles reached an agreement that permitted French troops to pass through his kingdom to conquer Portugal, Britain’s ally. A French army marched on Lisbon, and the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil Napoleon kept sending more and more troops into Spain A popular insurrection against Charles IV led to him abdicating his throne, and his son Ferdinand VII inherited the throne Napoleon then forced Ferdinand to also abdicate and he made his older brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain

5 Guerrilla Warfare Napoleon did not count on the resistance of the Spanish and Portuguese people Ecclesiastical reforms imposed by Joseph and Napoleon were not well received, for the church was still a powerful force in Spanish life ◦ Reduction of monastic convents ◦ Abolition of the Inquisition

6 Napoleon found some allies among the urban middle class, but the Spanish nobility joined their old allies, the clergy, in opposition to the invaders Local councils organized quick attacks on the French forces, which were easy targets for the small mobile groups of Spanish guerrillas, who attacked then quickly disappeared in the Spanish landscape, made it unsafe for French troops to move around

7 Napoleon is not invincible “Spanish Ulcer” Napoleon was forced to send fresh troops from Central Europe, victory for Napoleon in Spain seemed ever more distant British troops arrived to help the Spanish and Portuguese fight the French By 1810, about 350,000 French troops were tied up in the Iberian Peninsula Fighting for “Church and King” Spaniards sustained what arguably was the first successful guerrilla war in Modern Europe. Napoleon’s “Spanish Ulcer” bled France

8 The Russian Invasion and the Empire’s Decline Austria was preparing for war by the end of 1808 Also Russia (now an ally of France) and Germany were becoming unhappy with Napoleon War with Austria resembled earlier wars ◦ Napoleon was quick and precise, gained territory and money ◦ The Austrians were slow, fumbling and begging for peace ◦ April 2, 1810, Napoleon married Marie Louise, daughter of Austrian Emperor

9 Napoleon worked to preserve the continental system and plug and loopholes, but the system was making French rule unbearable over much of Europe Napoleon misunderstood British wealth ◦ Britain needed food, because industrial cities covered much land ◦ Napoleon allowed food to be shipped to Britain ◦ If he had not allowed this, surrender would have been almost certain

10 Russia The Czar, Nicholas I refused to close his ports to British and neutral ships carrying English goods Napoleon believed he could enforce the continental blockade by defeating Russia June 28, 1812, Napoleons “Grand Army” over 600,000 strong, crossed into Russia Napoleon hoped to lure the Russian armies into battle. The Russians, however, simply retreated, drawing Napoleon ever farther into Western Russia

11 Not so “Grand” While 600,000 troops was a lot, they weren’t all the highest quality Some of Napoleons finest troops were dodging guerrilla attacks in Spain Half of the Grand Army consisted of Russian, Italia, Austrian, Swiss, or Dutch conscripts (who did not know how to handle a horse, or a weapon) Napoleon was almost constantly at war, there was never a chance to rebuild it to Napoleon’s satisfaction

12 Russia is a pretty big place In Russia, disease, heat, and hunger took a far greater toll on Napoleon’s army during those first few months then the Russian army did The Grand army reached the city of Smolensk, 200 miles west of Moscow, in the middle of August, where the Emperor planned on forcing the Czar to sign a humiliating treaty

13 Just keep backing up The Russians retreated again, and Napoleons marshals begged him to wait in Smolensk, but he was too tempted by the possibility of capturing Moscow The French advanced to reach Borodino, sixty miles from Moscow where the Russians were waiting and the two sides fought in the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic era, 68,000 were killed or wounded, before the Russian continued to retreat

14 Moscow: Capturing the Capital means winning right? September 14, 1812, Napoleon enters Moscow and he found it virtually deserted and burning to the ground There was no enemy left to fight there, now anywhere else in the region. The Czar and his armies had fled to the east Over 1500 miles from Paris, without sufficient provisions, and with the early signs of the approaching Russian winter already apparent, Napoleon decided to march his once Grand Army back to France

15 The retreat, which began October 19, was a disaster Russian troops picked off hundreds of the retreating forces, forcing them to take a longer route home The freezing winter finished off most of what was left of Napoleon’s Grand Army Of the more than 600,000 men who had set out in June, only about 40,000 returned Undaunted Napoleon demanded a new levy of 350,000 troops, which was greeted with massive resentment and resistance. Napoleon planned new campaigns and further expansion


17 Napoleon reached Moscow

18 The Defeat of Napoleon Napoleon throughout 1813, had to deal with a crumbling empire Most new conscripts were under 20 and ill prepared for battle Had very little money Napoleon’s enemies found new strength October 1813, Napoleon suffers defeat at Leipzig Bavaria, Holland and Naples reverse their allegiances

19 After encountering tough resistance (Napoleon wins 10 battles in 20 days) the Allied forces (Russia, Prussia, Britain, Germany) march into Paris triumphantly April 1, 1814, After a failed suicide attempt, Napoleon abdicated his seat as Emperor April 11, 1814, a treaty is signed with the Allies April 28, 1814, Napoleon is exiled to the island of Elba



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