Napoleonic Wars in Russia | Past to Future

Napoleonic Wars in Russia
This video presents the French Invasion of Russia in 1812, an offensive campaign led by French leader Napoleon Bonaparte against Russia.

00:00 Introduction
00:33 Path to War
02:01 The Invasion
07:17 Aftermath

After seizing political power in France via a coup d'état, General Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself emperor in 1804 and began his massive expansion of France in Europe via what became known as the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1806, Napoleon imposed an embargo on the British via what was known as the Continental System.

Formerly a natural ally of France, Russia was deleteriously impacted by the System’s rule. Thus, by the end of 1810, withdrew from the System and resumed illicit trade with Britain, aggravating the Franco-Russian alliance.

In retaliation, Napoleon launched a massive campaign against Russia in the summer of 1812.

In preparation for the campaign, 220.000 Russian soldiers were summoned and divided into three armies to guard the western frontier, with Emperor Alexander I stationed in Vilna as the general commander.
On the French side, Napoleon summoned the largest army Europe had ever seen for the invasion of Russia. On June 24, 1812, the Grande Armée of 690,000 men crossed the river Neman and headed towards Moscow.

While Napoleon’s goal was to win a quick victory that forced Alexander to negotiate, the Russians adopted a strategy of retreating whenever Napoleon’s forces attempted to attack.

After chasing the Russians from Vilna to Vitebsk, Napoleon resolved to go on to Smolensk, where the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia took place.

Thousands of men died in this bloody battle, and the city was burned to the ground by French artillery bombardment.

After the battle of Smolensk, Barclay de Tolly was replaced by General Mikhail Kutuzov to lead the Russian troops.

The Grande Armée won the battle against the Imperial Russian Army with casualties in a ratio of 2:3. At the same time, the Russians maintained their combat strength by withdrawing to the south of Moscow.

After five weeks, facing the onset of the cruel Russian winter, Napoleon led his army of only 100,000 survivors out of Moscow to the south but was attacked at the Battle of Maloyaroslavets by a replenished Russian army.

In early December 1812, Napoleon left the army under the command of Admiral Joachim Murat and sped toward Paris amid rumors of a coup attempt.
Subsequently, Murat left what was left of the Grande Armée to try to save his Kingdom of Naples. Nine days later, what little remained of the Grande Armée crossed the Niemen River and left Russian territory.

The Russian great victory paved the way for the War of the Sixth Coalition, ultimately resulting in Napoleon's defeat and exile on the island of Elba.

What do you think is the key factor leading to the defeat of Napoleon in the French invasion of Russia?

Tell us in the comment section below.
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