Chy4U1- the West and the World Napoleon the Military Man



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Continental System

  • Napoleon attempted to use economic warfare to defeat Britain. He shut out British exports in Europe. He wanted to cause a depression in Britain.

  • Portugal refused to comply and Napoleon invaded. He now became bogged down in a costly campaign in Spain (heavy guerilla fighting).

British Blockade and Counter- Blockade

  • Britain initiates a blockade to counter the CS. It will not starve the continent, but will damage their ability to trade and make a profit off tariffs. British goods were being smuggled onto the continent. Britain blocked out foreigner traders such as America from the continent.

  • CS was very unpopular in the Napoleonic Empire. Napoleon said “the destinies of Europe turned upon a barrel of sugar.” European industries did prosper, but could not replace the loss of British goods (especially hard hit in Eastern Europe).

  • Britain made up for loss of the continent market by trading worldwide – no competition (Canada, America, Latin America 300,000 pounds in 1805 to 6.3 million pounds in 1809). Future implications (the need for markets = carve up of Africa).

  • Dec 31st, 1810 Russia withdraws from the CS

Grand Empire at its Height – 1810



  • Issue with Russia. Napoleon wanted to marry Anna Pavlovna of Russia (chance at the title, he receives some clout in Russian politics). Alexander refuses. Napoleon marries Marie Louise. They married in 1809 and in 1810 she gave birth to a son.

Russia- June 1812



  • 1812 – CS system a disaster

  • Napoleon still controls Europe and his army is unbeatable. No chance of a popular uprising.

  • Napoleon does not want peace, cannot invade England. Invades Russia, why?

    • He has one target

    • Alex left the CS. He wants Ukraine for the wheat supply.

    • A defeat of Russia might convince Britain to sue for peace

  • La Grande Armée = 600, 000 strong

  • Napoleon is best in short wars…Russia is massive

  • Nap wanted to live off the land as he did in Europe…Russia destroyed land as they retreated. Refused to fight a pitched battle.

  • Finally fight at Borodino and Napoleon wins.

    • A few uncharacteristic blunders. Did not concentrate his artillery, did not outnumber the enemy in the decisive spot or commit his reserves when the Russian army had been crushed. Unlike Austerlitz, the Russian army retreated in good order and Napoleon did not pursue and crush his enemy.

  • Sept 14th, 1812 he enters Moscow. Alex refuses to negotiate. Napoleon retreats the winter was extremely brutal.

  • The Russian armies prevented him from using a southerly route and the combination of inadequate supplies and an unusually cold winter destroyed the Grand Army, fatally weakening Napoleon’s military power.

  • Napoleon returned to France with less than 100 000 men.

  • As Napoleon retreated and news of his defeat in Russia spread, his “allies” began to turn against him

  • Napoleon’s best soldiers are gone. Cannot replace veterans who were a key to his success. 1813 his new army is very inexperience and is crushed by a coalition at Leipzig by Prussia, Austria and Russia.

  • Quadruple alliance (Prussia, Austria, Russia and Britain) forms in 1814. Napoleon fought, but was defeat. The French are tired of war (how did he come to power? He brought peace). April 1814 the alliance enters Paris. Napoleon abdicated






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