Objectives for Section 4 Explain Napoleon’s tactical and political mistakes. Summarize Napoleon’s defeat, comeback, and final downfall.
Discussion How emotionally attached to you feel towards your city, state, or nation or to various groups. Note: The concept of nationalism is relatively new.
Napoleon’s Costly Mistakes Napoleon’s personality proved to be the greatest problem for the future of the French Empire. Again that desire for power would be the end of his leadership. Napoleon made three mistakes: –1. The Continental System: November, 1806-Blockade-force closing of ports –prevents all trade and communication between Great Britain and European nations. Continental System: Napoleon policy which was to make Europe more self-sufficient. Napoleon intended to destroy Great Britain’s commercial and industrial economy. The blockade was an inconvenience to Britain, but did not destroy
–Britain started it’s own blockade. Britain stopped neutral ships and forced them to British ports to search and tax. American ships were stopped by British navy, this angered the U.S. Congress and declared war on Britain in 1812. The War of 1812 lasted two years and was only a minor inconvenience to Britain as it struggled with Napoleon. The Peninsular War: called this because Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula. In 1808 Napoleon made the mistake of invading Portugal and Spain to implement the Continental System. He removed the king of Spain and put his brother Joseph on the throne. This angered the Spanish who did not want the same outcome as the French and not have the Catholic Church. –Guerillas: peasant fighters who ambushed French troops and not an organized army. Other countries such as Italy and Germany also turned on the French.
Invasion of Russia June 1812: This event was another downfall for Napoleon. Alexander I the czar of Russia refused to stop selling grain to Britain. Also both leaders thought each were eyeing the take over of Poland. This is when Napoleon decided to invade Russia and Alexander retreated using Scorched-earth policy: Many countries practiced this policy when leaving they would burn grain fields and slaughter livestock so nothing would be left to eat. September 7, 1812: Battle of Borodino-indecisive fighting, Russian fell back as Napoleon advanced
Into Moscow the Russians set the “holy city” (Moscow) on fire. Napoleon sat in the ruined city until October and decided to return to France. The temperature started to drop and the snows began, the Russian military attacked Napoleon many in the Grand Army died from the attacks, hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Finally by December Napoleon struggled out of Russia. Napoleon was only left with 10,000 soldiers..
Napoleon’s Downfall With Napoleon being down the enemies took advantage. Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden declared war against him, along with Austria even though he was married to Marie Louise. Napoleon Suffers Defeat: Napoleon worked to raise an army, even though his troops were untrained and lacked preparedness for battle. October, 1813: Leipzig the German city where Napoleon was up against allied forces. France was defeated and by January, 1814 the enemy forces marched towards Paris.
April, 1814: Napoleon wanted to fight but his generals refused. Napoleon accepted the terms of surrender and gave up the throne. The victors: gave Napoleon a small pension and exiled him to the island of Elba off the coast of Italy. The victors thought that was the end of Napoleon, they were wrong. His second wife and son went to Austria, he would not see them again. The Hundred Days: Louis XVIII assumed the throne ( his nephew Louis XVII died in prison in 1795). He was unpopular among the people, especially the peasants. They suspected that he would undo the land reforms from the Revolution.
March 1, 1815: Napoleon heard that the people hated Louis XVIII, this was his chance to regain power. He escaped from Elba and landed in France to supportive crowds and was able to regain power. Waterloo: in Belgium. Britain military was led by Duke of Wellington. June 18, 1815: Napoleon attacked the British and later the Prussian military showed up to support the British. Two days later the French gave in and were chased from the field. This was Napoleon last bid for power.
Hundred Days: The British shipped Napoleon to a island in the South Atlantic called St. Helena. He lived a lonely life in exile and wrote his memoirs. He died in 1821 of a possible stomach ailment, some think cancer. Outcomes: Napoleon was a brilliant military genius and administrator. Millions of lives were lost in the wars that he fought. “He was as great as a man can be without virtue.” French writer Alexis de Tocqueville