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The Mistakes Of The Brilliant General, Napoleon Bonaparte

988 words - 4 pages

The assumption held by many that Napoleon Bonaparte was a brilliant general and an exceptional leader is debatable when the Frenchman’s many mistakes are revealed. Bonaparte was born to a wealthy family with previous political connections (Wilde 1). He entered a military academy at only nine years old and entered the French Army Artillery Regiment seven years later (Wilde 1). As Bonaparte moved up in the military ranks, he made himself known with his political opinions and his successful leadership of the revolutionaries’ armed forces (Wilde 1). As he became more famous, Bonaparte threw open the gates to his path to power. Thus began the era of Napoleon, a time of absolute power, vast reform, and relentless military invasions led by a man loved by the extensive majority of French citizens. However, Bonaparte’s likeable wit and seemingly military genius masked his faults. Although the French Revolution was a coup d’état to remember, it was tainted by Napoleon Bonaparte’s hasty rise to power, by his numerous military misjudgments, and by the liberty-diminishing actions and changes that he forcibly brought to Europe.
The haste in which Napoleon was put into power after the French Revolution ended caused numerous negative consequences that sullied the efforts of the governmental overthrow. In reaction to Napoleon’s brilliant leading of his armies to victory against royalist forces, the Directory, the acting government, promoted him to general of the French forces that were about to begin a campaign against Austrian forces in Italy (McDougal, 584). Napoleon’s operation began phenomenally, with his armies crushing Austrian forces, causing their retreat and the end of their threat to France (McDougal, 584). However, Napoleon’s pride took the best of him, and he unnecessarily led his troops into Egypt to hamper the British’s trade routes (McDougal, 584). His plan backfired, and the French were pinned down in Egypt by the powerful British admiral Horiato Nelson, which led to Napoleon crawling back to France licking his wounds (McDougal, 584). Due to the public’s ignorance towards this defeat, Napoleon’s public image vastly improved, and his gain in power started to lead to totalitarianism. When the Directory began to lose political popularity with the common folk, Napoleon led an overthrow of the government (McDougal, 584). The aftermath of the coup seemed to be flawless; peace had come to Europe for the first time in ten years, and Napoleon, the most powerful public figure in France, could now focus on re-strengthening France (McDougal, 585). However, the countries of Britain, Austria, and Russia were forming the Second Coalition, an alliance with the intent to stop Napoleon, behind the scenes of France’s post-victory glory (McDougal, 585). Napoleon soon held a plebiscite, or a vote by the people, which made himself emperor and bestowed total power upon him (McDougal, 585).
As the years passed, Napoleon made many fatal military mistakes...

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