Presentation on theme: "The Napoleonic Wars FRANCE GOES ON A WINNING STREAK."— Presentation transcript:
The Napoleonic Wars FRANCE GOES ON A WINNING STREAK
The Dream Just as Robespierre had dreamed, under Napoleon the French became masters of Europe through military conquest or the threat thereof. The idea was to put all of Europe under French control, thus making France the master of Europe’s economy and getting rid of Absolutist kings. They were to be replaced by French-chosen leaders or by people willing to rule like France. Amazingly, Napoleon accomplished this between 1805 and 1807.
How did he do it? Napoleon’s Art of War (military) Napoleon used new tactics of fighting that overwhelmed less- prepared countries: His troops traveled light and could cover greater distances. They took food from the areas they conquered and quickly moved on, thus eliminating the need for an elaborate supply system AND easing the burden of the French peasants. He let false plans fall into the hands of enemy spies and completely surprised the confused opponent’ He attacked opponents’ supply systems rather than focusing on their main forces, and would not permit opponents to retreat.
How did he do it? Napoleon’s Art of War (morale) Napoleon’s forces were more willing to fight than their opponents because: Unlike opponent’s peasants drafted into service, Napoleon’s troops they were fighting for a just cause—ending the tyranny of kings. Soldiers were treated well, giving Napoleon their loyalty in return, The French accepted volunteers in conquered areas to join them as equals. This also eliminated the need to rely too heavily on reluctant French peasants to fight.
The Grand Empire: Greater France Under Napoleon, modern Belgium, the Netherlands, Northwest Italy, Rome (including the Vatican), and the Dalmatian Coast (modern Slovenia and Croatia) all became part of France and were ruled directly by Napoleon. Parts of modern Poland were taken from Prussia and Austria and became the “Grand Duchy of Warsaw” and were considered part of France. People living in these regions were considered equal French citizens with all of the rights and privileges of the French. All of their wealth, however, seemed to make its way to Paris with little in return except for new rights and freedoms.
The Grand Empire: French Dependents Neighboring states such as Spain, the Northeast Italian States, Southern Italy and most of the German-speaking Holy Roman Empire technically remained independent, but were ruled by relatives of Napoleon who did whatever France wanted them to do. This created tremendous ill-will among the royal families and Nobles who had their centuries-old power stripped from them, and new ideas were forced on them. However, they were powerless to stop it considering the strength of Napoleon’s Grand Army. This arrangement finally ended the ineffective, weak Holy Roman Empire and started the German states down the road to unification although it would take more than sixty years to complete. A similar process started for Italy.
The Grand Empire: French “Allies” Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and Denmark remained independent and free of French rule. However, upon losing a few quick battles to the French, these countries reached an unspoken agreement with Napoleon that they would not harm Napoleon’s Empire in any way, and that the Grand Army’s troops could cross their territory when necessary. This gave Napoleon no reason to invade. The Absolutist rulers of these countries got to stay in power, and their more Enlightened subjects grew resentful that few of the modern French freedoms, laws, and ways of equality were reaching their lands.
The Grand Empire: Avoiding Napoleonic Rule The Battle of Trafalgar (Slide 12) ruled out any invasion of France’s chief economic rival Great Britain. Russia and the Ottoman Empire were situated too far away for Napoleon to invade, although he would (tragically) be ready and willing to do so if either stood in the way of the functioning of the Empire. Still, from 1805 to 1813 France was the undisputed ruler of Europe with an Empire rivaling that of the Romans. Yet it would be faraway Russia that would doom the Empire.
Life in the Conquered Lands: The Good Is it possible to be happy to be invaded? Many conquered peoples welcomed the French as liberators from the backwardness of the Feudal system. Napoleon spread the Revolution to conquered lands, ending absolutism and the local dictatorships of Nobles, ending serfdom and torture, and introducing the rule of law in the Code Napoleon, bringing basic education to the masses, creating a fairer system of taxes, promoting freedom of religion, and built roads, bridges and canals to help with trade. Basically, he destroyed whatever remained of Feudalism wherever the Grand Army reached. These ideas never went away, and those who gained from them did not want to go back to their old ways—even if they resented being conquered and ruled by a foreign power.
Life in the Conquered Lands: The Bad But for all of the benefits Napoleon gave the conquered peoples of Europe, they were still conquered peoples who Napoleon viewed as servants of France. They were required to provide taxes and soldiers for the Grand Army. The wealth of these countries found its way to France with little compensation, and the terms of trade greatly favored France. While it can be argued that the conquered peoples received more benefits than they lost, they viewed the French as occupiers and wished to keep the benefits and modern innovations, but generally wanted the French to go home so they could rule themselves.
The Empire Crumbles: The Battle of Trafalgar Napoleon’s plans to eventually invade the British Islands were dashed in 1805 when the British lured the French into a massive battle in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Spain. The French fleet was utterly destroyed, meaning that: A French naval invasion of England was out of the question, The French would have to find other ways to weaken their British rivals, Great Britain would control the Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, and overseas trade, France would have to conquer Europe by land.
Dealing With England: The “Continental System” UNFORTUNATE RESULTS: Lack of trade with Britain hurt the French economy more than that of Britain. It could not be enforced, and German and Russian port cities defied the law and continued to trade with Great Britain, It created a ton of resentment of the French among the “liberated” peoples of the Empire. Unable to reach Great Britain by sea, Napoleon vowed to bring the “nation of shopkeepers to its knees” by crippling its trade-based t economy. He instituted the Continental System which banned anyone in Europe from trading with Great Britain or receiving goods from British colonies. All trade had to be with France or its Colonies.
The Empire Crumbles: Troubles in Spain Spain was a fiercely traditional Absolutist Catholic country mostly untouched by the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Angered by Spain’s unwillingness to stop trading with Great Britain through Portugal, in 1808 Napoleon took out the Spanish king and put his own brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. Napoleon could not comprehend why the Spanish were so unwilling to accept his modernizing ways, but its peasants remained loyal to their Nobles and clergy, and there was virtually no middle class to gain from Napoleon’s system. The Spanish rejected everything Napoleon had to offer.
The Empire Crumbles: The “Spanish Ulcer” In defiance of the French, the Spanish took up arms (smuggled from England through Portugal) against them. Refusing to fight the French on the battlefield, their hit-and-run (guerilla) tactics confounded the French, who kept pouring more troops into Spain to try to eliminate the rebels. This annoying “Spanish Ulcer” was never close to defeating the Grand Army, but it: Took French troops out of the East where they were needed, Gave Great Britain a foothold in Southern Europe from which it would eventually attack France,
The Empire Crumbles: The German War(s) of Liberation Generally thankful for greater unification, decreased power of individual princes, and Napoleon’s reforms, the bourgeoisie and lower nobility of the German-speaking states conquered by or submitting to Napoleon grew bitter at the high taxes, military conscription, and disadvantageous trade. Basically, the Germans wanted to keep the new ways of ruling, but wanted to do it themselves and not be at the mercy of a foreign power. When the Grand Army was forced to retreat from Russia in 1812-1823 (Slide 19), the Germans fought back against the greatly-weakened French. This made it impossible for the French to merely retreat.
The Empire Crumbles: Why Invade Russia? When Russia protested against the creation of the French-controlled Grand Duchy of Warsaw (Poland) and continued to trade with Great Britain in defiance of the Continental System and sell these banned goods to the German states, Napoleon ordered the invasion of Russia in June, 1812. Napoleon figured he could repeat that which had worked so well for him throughout the rest of Europe: an invasion with massive numbers of soldiers, a quick and decisive victory or two, taking the local peasants’ crops to feed the Grand Army’s soldiers, and then accepting the surrender of the Russian monarch Tsar Alexander I. What could possibly go wrong? With 614,000 soldiers (less than half of them French), 200,000 animals and 20,000 vehicles, the French crossed into Russia. Six months later, fewer than five percent of those soldiers would re-cross the border on their way home.
The Empire Crumbles: The Russian Surprise Napoleon quickly faced two huge, new problems in Russia: The “cowardly” Russian Army could not be found for battle, as they constantly retreated into the Russian interior rather than face the Grand Army in battle. This tactic drew Napoleon deeper and deeper into Russia throughout the Summer of 1812. Whenever the Grand Army neared a village to find food, they found only burnt remains as the villagers had set all of their own crops on fire. This meant the Russian peasants would have nothing to eat during the coming winter—as would Napoleon’s soldiers and horses.
The Empire Crumbles: Napoleon’s Gamble The Problem With the Russian winter approaching, rather than turn back Napoleon decided to push on and capture the capital Moscow. Surely, once the capital city was taken, the war would be over and Russia would be under French domination. In September, the Russians finally made a military stand against the Grand Army at the Battle of Borodino. The French won, but this delayed their entry into Moscow until mid- September…just as an unusually cold autumn was settling in over Russia. WhenThe Bad Solution When the Grand Army reached the capital, they found to their horror that it, too, had been burnt down and most of its people evacuated. Napoleon had them wait in the empty, supply-free city for nearly a month waiting for a Russian surrender that never came. Finally on October 19 (two weeks before the first snow), Napoleon gave the far-too-late order to abandon the city and retreat from Russia with as much of its treasures as his soldiers could carry.
The Empire Crumbles: Retreat from Russia On their way out, the starving, freezing troops were chased by the Russian army which chose this time to finally start fighting. The army had no food, and no winter clothes. Weakened by starvation and frostbite, the elements killed far more soldiers than the Russian army ever could. Napoleon rushed back to France, leaving his troops. With his Grand Army lying frozen in Russian fields, he would soon lose his Empire.
Finishing France Off the First Time It took a year for the slow-moving Austrian, Prussian, Swedish, and Russian troops to reach France as English and Spanish armies attacked it from the South, but Napoleon surrendered and was send into exile on the island of Elba just off the Italian coast. The younger brother of Louis XVI and former leader of the Emigres was named ruler of France by the invading armies. (The son of the former King who would have been Louis XVII had died during the 21 years France was a republic.)
Louis XVIII’s France To calm the population of France which still regarded Napoleon as its true leader, Louis XVIII promised not to return France back to Absolutism and vowed to preserve many of the freedoms and advantages gained by commoners during the Revolution.
Meanwhile on Elba… But Napoleon was not done. Less than a rear after being exiled to Elba, he somehow escaped and landed in Marseilles on France’s Mediterranean Coast. He walked up to the soldiers sent to stop him and reportedly exclaimed: “If there is one soldier among you who wishes to kill his Emperor, here I am!” (Perry) The French Army immediately welcomed him back, and he immediately began a march towards Paris, picking up more and more supporters along the way. As he neared Paris, a terrified Louis XVIII fled the country. Emperor Napoleon was back!
The Hundred Days Immediately upon his return, Napoleon raised another army and set out to reclaim lost lands and reestablish his Grand Empire. For some reason, the deluded French seemed to think this would be easy. This farfetched plan sent an unmistakable message to the rest of Europe that would haunt its decision-making for generations. it seemed clear that the French would try to take over Europe again if they were ever allowed the opportunity.
Battle of Waterloo: Couldn’t Escape If I Wanted To Napoleon’s “new” army barely made it out of France when it was soundly defeated by the British and the Prussians in June 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo in what is now Belgium. Austria and Russia’s only regrets were that it could get its armies there in time to finish off the French. The dream of recreating the Empire was over for good.
Finishing France Off the Second Time This time, Napoleon was sent as far away from civilization as possible. He was exiled to the tiny island of St. Helena where 1,000 men to guarded him e was given a house and a few servants. He was also given the title “Emperor of St. Helena”. Louis XVIII was returned to power in France. Napoleon died of stomach cancer a few years later.
Napoleon’s Legacy Napoleon spread the French Revolution’s ideas of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” across Europe, giving people a taste of life without Feudalism and Absolutism. The desire for these “modern” reforms would not disappear with napoleon’s exile from Europe. The days of the masses silently accepting the “Divine Right” of Kings, the monopoly on thinking by religious leaders, the “specialness” of Nobles, and a general lack of progress were over. Napoleon taught the countries of Europe that the ones with the largest and most efficient armies could dominate other countries. He brought Russia into European affairs, set the divided lands of Germany and Italy on the course to eventual unification into a single, large country, accidentally made Great Britain the undisputed champion of overseas colonization, and made the rest of Europe deeply suspicious of France. He gave France a legacy of greatness for which to strive, making it unlikely for the French to ever again trust and fully support the monarchy imposed on it by the rest of Europe.