How Napoleons Invasion of Russia Led To His Downfall Essay
How Napoleon's Invasion of Russia Led To His Downfall
European History Term Paper
Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Russia was a major factor in his downfall. In 1812, Napoleon, whose alliance with Alexander I had disintegrated, launched an invasion into Russia that ended in a disastrous retreat from Moscow. Thereafter, all of Europe, including his own allies, Austria and Prussia, united against him. Although he continued to fight, the odds he faced were impossible. In April 1814, Napoleon's own marshals refused to continue the struggle and stepped down from their positions. During the actual Russian campaign, there were many key factors that greatly impacted his downfall. The largest army ever assembled for one single invasion was reduced to a mere fraction of its original size. Because of the rebellions from his allies, Austria and Prussia, Napoleon had to fight a war on both the western and the eastern front. The losses he suffered in Russia greatly affected his future campaigns.
Throughout his reign, Napoleon was able to overcome many obstacles that others before him could have only dreamed. One was the idea of having a United Europe under France. With his Grand Armée, Napoleon had already conquered, and was controlling an enormous amount of Europe, such as Switzerland, the Confederation of the Rhine, Austria, and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw (Broers, 47). These countries, or provinces, made up the bulk of central Europe. Napoleon had recently ended a war with Spain, and now had signed a peace treaty with them. In 1805, France, under Napoleon, and Russia, under Alexander I, signed the Treaty of Tilsit. The treaty was one of peace under certain conditions. Russia was prohibited to trade with England, and they were also obligated to turn over some of their land to France (Elting, 63). The territory that France gained control over was the Grand Duchy of Wars…