Little Corsican

Downfall, 1810-1814 (Station 5)

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Downfall, 1810-1814 (Station 5)

Despite his best efforts, the Continental System backfired on Napoleon. Great Britain was able to produce goods cheaper and better than any country. The ban on British goods only resulted in economic instability in Europe.

Napoleon blamed Russia and raised an army of 600,000 men to attack. Knowing they had no chance, the Russian army lured Napoleon thousands of miles into Russia, burning crops as they went to prevent Napoleon’s army from getting food (and themselves), and stretching his supply lines too far. Napoleon easily marched into the capital of Moscow, but could not supply his troops, so he was forced to retreat. As the French army retreated through the bitterly cold Russian winter, the Russian army reduced Napoleon's army of 600,000 men to only 30,000. Napoleon deserted his army to come back and raise another one.

Seeing their opportunity in Napoleon’s disaster, Austria, Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden formed an alliance against France. After the Allies took Paris, Napoleon stepped down on April 11, 1814. The allies restored the Bourbon dynasty to the French throne. They gave Napoleon the island of Elba to rule. He was even allowed to keep his imperial title and was given a yearly income of 2 million francs.

Napoleon never saw his son or wife again. However, once on Elba, Napoleon planned his return to France.

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