The Defeat Of Napoleon Essay

1141 words - 5 pages

There are few individuals in history who have captured the imagination of both their generation and of historians; the most compelling is Napoleon Bonaparte. His life is the story of the rise from the bottom of a strong-willed and brilliant man whose flaws eventually cause him to fall from power. His fall from power resulted from the fact that where he power lay, his weaknesses quickly followed suit. History remembers this man as one who made an impact, but not before leaving a scar on humanity.Napoleon decided to conquer Spain around 1808. He wanted both Spain and Portugal to become part of the Continental System. After he had forced the Spanish king to step down from the throne, Napoleon the made his brother Joseph the king of Spain. The Spanish people did not take a liking to Joseph as king, so they revolted in 1808. They resented his presence in Spain, his abolition of the Inquisition, and his control of the church and began to fight back. The Spanish War went very badly for the French; the Spanish, hopelessly outgunned, fought using guerilla tactics to which the French were unaccustomed. The war dragged on until 1813 when the Spanish, with significant help from the British under the command of Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, drove the French over the Spanish border and back into France.Then the British got involved and sent an army under Arthur Wellesley to help the Spanish and the Portuguese drive out the French. Even though all of Napoleon's attempts he failed to suppress the Spanish uprising and defeat the British. The was a war called the Peninsular War and Napoleon was still controlling Spain's government, even though the campaign was draining French resources. Napoleon was still trying to defeat the British. The blockade continued as Napoleon's only way to get to the British. Napoleon noticed that it was intolerable for Russia, a French ally, to openly ignore it. Even though Russia was a French ally they decided to invade Russia and Napoleon put forth pressure on all parts of the empire to supply soldiers. Napoleon's Grand Army totaled to six hundred thousand men when it was completed. Even though there were so many people, less than half of them were actually French. The majority of the soldiers had come from the countries that Napoleon had conquered. The soldiers had no heart for this war.In the spring of 1812, Napoleon's army began to march eastward towards Russia. The Russians did not want to battle on the vast plains of Russia so they drew the French army deeper and deeper into the countryside. As the Russians were retreating, they were using the scorch-earth policy where they burned anything that might be of value to the invaders. In the fall, they captured Moscow, but everything that they wanted in the country was reduced to ashes. French troops were losing supplies and there were no housing available for the soldiers in the cold winter to come.Napoleon had lost many soldiers and had retreated to France on...

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