Until now, there has been no study of the significant errors that Napoleon made himself which, though apparently trivial at the time, proved to be major factors in his downfall. Digby Smith tracks his rise to power, his stewardship of France from 180415, and his exile. He highlights his military mistakes, such as his unwillingness to appoint an effective overall supremo in the Iberian Peninsula, and the decision to invade Russia while the Spanish situation was spiralling out of control.
The Napoleonic Wars left their mark on European and world societies in a variety of ways, not least from the radical social and political change they evoked in many countries. Examining the social, political, and institutional aspects of warfare in the Napoleonic era, Mike Rapport considers their significance and the legacy they leave today.
An accomplished Oxford scholar delivers a dynamic new history covering the last chapter of the emperor's life—from his defeat in Russia and the drama of Waterloo to his final exile—as the world Napoleon has created begins to crumble around him. In 1811, Napoleon stood at his zenith. He had defeated all his continental rivals, come to an entente with Russia, and his blockade of Britain seemed, at long last, to be a success. The emperor had an heir on the way with his new wife, Marie-Louise, the young daughter of the Emperor of Austria. His personal life, too, was calm and secure for the first time in many years. It was a moment of unprecedented peace and hope, built on the foundations of emphatic military victories. But in less than two years, all of this was in peril. In four years, it was gone, swept away by the tides of war against the most powerful alliance in European history. The rest of his life was passed on a barren island. This is not a story any novelist could create; it is reality as epic. Napoleon: The Decline and Fall of an Empire traces this story through the dramatic narrative of the years 1811-1821 and explores the ever-bloodier conflicts, the disintegration and reforging of the bonds among the Bonaparte family, and the serpentine diplomacy that shaped the fate of Europe. At the heart of the story is Napoleon’s own sense of history, the tensions in his own character, and the shared vision of a family dynasty to rule Europe. Drawing on the remarkable resource of the new edition of Napoleon’s personal correspondence produced by the Fondation Napoleon in Paris, Michael Broers dynamic new history follows Napoleon’s thoughts and feelings, his hopes and ambitions, as he fought to preserve the world he had created. Much of this turns on his relationship with Tsar Alexander of Russia, in so many respects his alter ego, and eventual nemesis. His inability to understand this complex man, the only person with the power to destroy him, is key to tracing the roots of his disastrous decision to invade Russia—and his inability to face diplomatic and military reality thereafter. Even his defeat in Russia was not the end. The last years of the Napoleonic Empire reveal its innate strength, but it now faced hopeless odds. The last phase of the Napoleonic Wars saw the convergence of the most powerful of forces in European history to date: Russian manpower and British money. The sheer determination of Tsar Alexander and the British to bring Napoleon down is a story of compromise and sacrifice. The horrors and heroism of war are omnipresent in these years, from Lisbon to Moscow, in the life of the common solider. The core of this new book reveals how these men pushed Napoleon back from Moscow to St Helena. Among this generation, there was no more remarkable persona than Napoleon. His defeat forged his myth—as well as his living tomb on St Helena. The audacious enterprise of the 100 Days, reaching its crescendo at the Battle of Waterloo, marked the spectacular end of an unprecedented public life. From the ruins of a life—and an empire—came a new continent and a legend that haunts Europe still.
Volume I of The Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars covers the international foreign political dimensions of the wars and the social, legal, political and economic structures of the Empire. Leading historians from around the world come together to discuss the different aspects of the origins of the Napoleonic Wars, their international political implications and the concrete ways the Empire was governed. This volume begins by looking at the political context that produced the Napoleonic Wars and setting it within the broader context of eighteenth century great power politics in the Age of Revolution. It considers the administration and governance of the Empire, including with France's client states and the role of the Bonaparte family in the Empire. Further chapters in the volume examine the war aims of the various protagonists and offer an overall assessment of the nature of war in this period.
Austerlitz, Wagram, Borodino, Trafalgar, Leipzig, Waterloo: these are the places most closely associated with the era of the Napoleonic Wars. But how did this period of nearly continuous conflict affect the world beyond Europe? The immensity of the fighting waged by France against England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia, and the immediate consequences of the tremors that spread throughout the world. In this ambitious and far-ranging work, Alexander Mikaberidze argues that the Napoleonic Wars can only be fully understood in an international perspective. France struggled for dominance not only on the plains of Europe but also in the Americas, West and South Africa, Ottoman Empire, Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Taking specific regions in turn, Mikaberidze discusses major political-military events around the world and situates geopolitical decision-making within its long- and short-term contexts. From the British expeditions to Argentina and South Africa to the Franco-Russian maneuvering in the Ottoman Empire, the effects of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars would shape international affairs well into the next century. In Egypt, the wars led to the rise of Mehmed Ali and the emergence of a powerful state; in North America, the period transformed and enlarged the newly established United States; and in South America, the Spanish colonial empire witnessed the start of national-liberation movements that ultimately ended imperial control. Skillfully narrated and deeply researched, here at last is the global history of the period, one that expands our view of the Napoleonic Wars and their role in laying the foundations of the modern world.
The Napoleonic Wars saw fighting on an unprecedented scale in Europe and the Americas. It took the wealth of the British Empire, combined with the might of the continental armies, almost two decades to bring down one of the world's greatest military leaders and the empire that he had created. Napoleon's ultimate defeat was to determine the history of Europe for almost 100 years. From the frozen wastelands of Russia, through the brutal fighting in the Peninsula to the blood-soaked battlefield of Waterloo, this book tells the story of the dramatic rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire. This book contains material previously published as Essential Histories volumes 3, 9, 17 and 39.
“Van der Burg presents an innovative transregional study of Napoleonic governance in the often-overlooked northern periphery of the Empire. This book carefully examines the Empire’s administrative structure in the north, focusing on the heterogeneous community of prefects and subprefects as ‘tools of incorporation’, binding the regions to the central state. His rich comparative analysis highlights the incomplete integration of the north and makes important contributions to our understanding of the Empire and its legacy of state building.”—Katherine Aaslestad, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA “Martijn van der Burg makes a vital contribution to the burgeoning scholarly literature on Napoleonic Europe in this well researched, carefully constructed volume. His analysis of this somewhat neglected, but important, part of Napoleon’s hegemony will become essential reading for all students and specialists of Napoleonic Europe. Van der Burg brings the riches of recent Dutch and German scholarship on the Napoleonic period, hitherto denied to an Anglophone readership, to say nothing of his own insight into Napoleonic rule in these complex regions. He delineates the course of Napoleonic rule here with clarity and acute attention to detail. This is a worthy addition to the Napoleonic renaissance in historiography.”—Michael Broers, University of Oxford, UK “A thorough, transparent and important comparative study into the content, dynamics, limits and results of Napoleonic governance, and the role of the (sub)prefects here within, in the Netherlands and Northwest Germany. Original, well-written and a very welcome contribution to the historiography of these still understudied areas in the Napoleonic years, as well as to Napoleonic historiography in general.”—Johan Joor, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, the Netherlands This open access Palgrave Pivot explores the ways in which French Emperor Napoleon tried to integrate the present-day Netherlands and Northwest Germany into his Empire, by replacing traditional institutions and governing practices with French ones ('Napoleonic governance'). The northern periphery of the Napoleonic Empire continues to be overlooked by the bulk of historians; this study shows that a transregional approach can yield important findings. In a broader sense, the study does not deal with these regions alone, but also with the difficulties that are inherent to European integration.
Two hundred years ago, Napoleon was at the apogee of his power in Europe. This broad ranging reassessment explores the key themes presented by his extraordinary career: from his rise to power and the foundation of the imperial state, to the final defeat of his grand vision following the doomed invasion of Russia. It was a period of almost uninterrupted war in Europe, the consquences of victory or failure repeatedly transforming the political map. But Napoleon’s impact reached much deeper than this, achieving the ultimate destruction of the ancien regime and feudalism in Europe, and leaving a political and juridical legacy that persists today.
Beyond its modernizing impact in Central and Western Europe, the Napoleonic Empire played a crucial role in realigning international power structures on a worldwide scale. By reshaping global landscapes and refining state sovereignty, French imperialism contested, or even shattered, early modern empires in the Atlantic world, around the Mediterranean and across the Baltic Sea. Whereas much of Napoleon's expansionism can be understood as aiming at re-installing France's colonial supremacy lost to Great Britain in the Seven Year's War, it ultimately did not only strip France of many imperial possessions and catalyzed Prussia's and Russia's ascendency, but also induced the final downfall of many traditional European sea powers. Thus, Napoleon's anti-British expansionism was crucial for Great Britain's rise to world power in the nineteenth century. In Napoleon's Empire, leading experts in their field investigate the impact of the Napoleonic era on more than twenty countries across the globe, from Western Europe and the Mediterranean, across the Baltic Sea to the Ibero-Atlantic area, and the Ottoman Empire.
Geoffrey Ellis offers an up-to-date synthesis of recent research into the aims and effects of Napoleonic rule in France and in conquered Europe. Thoroughly revised, this second edition provides much more extensive coverage of Napoleon's treatment of the annexed lands and subject states of the "Grand Empire", as well as of military conscription and desertion, and the role of the Gendarmerie in the war against brigands and military defaulters. The legacy of Napoleonic rule is discussed in greater depth, and the book also features a more comprehensive bibliography.