Essay on Napoleon's Russian Campaign: Burning of Soldiers and Historian's Investigation

Paper Type:  Course work
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1902 Words
Date:  2023-01-29

The Napoleon campaign has been one of the greatest Russian campaigns in world history. It has found many researchers on record as they are trying to investigate what led Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to invade Russian soldiers. Most of the historian's highlight that during the campaigns in 1812, Napoleon soldiers were burnt alive in building as they sought to seek shelter (Lambert, 2019). Since it is the soldiers who defend the democracy of a country at the same time protect the country they were forced to invade. Destruction and reduction of soldiers is a translation that the country is in danger and as an emperor, Napoleon will be considered less as a leader. Napoleon thought that the battle could Russia lose but their survival logistics did not work. The fear of total destruction of the Grande Armee led to their infamous retreat.

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During the nineteenth century, European continent witnessed a lot of events that affected the way in which different nations related to each other. Which was one of the key events that happened in Europe during this period? It can be defined as an ideology of spreading a nation's rule over other foreign countries via colonization or the use of military force (Lambert, 2019). For example, Britain and France were the strongest nations in Europe, and it enabled them to defeat small nations in order to achieve their political and financial needs." Imperialism was mainly elicited by industrialization and other partisan reasons (Lambert, 2019). The war events that occurred during the 19th century had an overwhelming effect on the people. It made most individuals become interested in evaluating keenly the nature of war and how it affected society.

Napoleon was an able leader who would not stand any blatant contempt that will cause a threat to the French nation. Since Russia had made a decision to take action that could demoralize the French soldiers, Napoleon was forced to plan for a campaign, which could help him battle the Russian soldiers. He sent 600, 000 soldiers since he knew that his operation could be successful (Lieven, 2009). In fact, he used foot soldiers other than wagons because he believed in speed. However, the soldiers while in Russia could first branch to search for resources as instructed by Napoleon before beginning their battle. This was among the missteps that resulted in their downfall for the fact that the Russian soldiers were the primary agents who well understood the Russian land. At the same time, Russian commanders knew that their land would not sustain even 200, 000 soldiers leave alone the half a million the Napoleon government is presenting for the war (Lieven, 2009). Russian commanders had already planned on how the plans of Napoleon could not succeed.

The people who tried to evaluate the extent of Napoleon's war included artists. For example, Adolf Northern, a renowned German artist during the 19th Century, did a lot of art portraits with focused on war scenes (Rose, 2018). Mainly the events that happened during the 'Napoleonic Wars." Some examples of his great masterpieces included "Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, and Prussian Attack," which shows the failure of the 1812 invasion of Russia by Napoleon. In the early 19th century, Napoleon had subjugated almost the whole European continent- starting from the southern parts of Italy to the "Baltic." Then proceeded from Portugal to Poland. The French attack on Russia in the 19th century is also commonly referred to as "1812 patriotic war."

This particular war has devastating effects on the Napoleonic wars- which means it adversely impacted European politics, and also debilitated the Control of France in Europe (Chandler, 2009). The war began in the early 19th century after Napoleon's war troops crossed the River Neman. His main intentions were to stop the imminent invasion of Poland by Russia. Napoleon termed the campaign, "a Second Polish War; while the Russians named it Patriotic War" (Chandler, 2009). Nearly five hundred thousand French war troops conquered Western Russia, and were able to win significant wars at "Smolensk." Nevertheless, their achievement was short-lived, as the Russian militaries were able to contain most of the French war troops. It prevented them from attacking the Russian Capital "St Petersburg." To stop the French war troops, the Russian militaries mainly used "scotch earth policy" as a primary method of attacking opponents. They also used "light Cossack Cavalry" to attack them. Above all the Napoleonic battles, this war was the most dangerous, and it was fought by nearly three hundred military troops.

The Russian peasants formed a resistance team against the Napoleon soldiers since they were considered thieves and men who vindicated the rights of the people. They responded by all manner of violent excuses and animosity, that is, the invasion spread from the Army to the civilian Russians. The unified and defended their country while on the other hand, the Napoleon Army was becoming weaker and weaker. In the Villages, the Russian peasants had formed volunteer militias who were dedicated to fighting the outsiders and enemies. The Russian commanders told the villagers to welcomes any invaders into their villages and then kill them secretly as they sleep. Among other tactics, the Napoleon soldiers were unaware of their demise since they kept going to the villages to seek suppliers and food, but it was not to their knowledge that their troops were reduced from time to time.

Nonetheless, in 1812, Napoleon had made a decision that could save its campaign and the State at large if they would have only kept to the terms they had set (Chandler, 2009). He had agreed with his generals to first defend their nation but he was later obsessed with taking over Moscow by believing that if he could capture Alexander, it will be easier to take over the capital. Napoleon lied to his generals something that delayed their plans setting a campaign that could help them attack the Russian soldiers. Napoleon sent soldiers to capture Moscow of which, 10, 000 soldiers were killed and others contained therein. Moreover, Napoleon did not lose faith since he kept pushing with the war despite the alarming toll of the soldiers. The need to capture Moscow and take over the wealth pressed Napoleon to continue fighting in order to protect his country against any invaders. However, the downfall of Napoleon is as a result lack of trust to the soldiers and at the same time the generals did not believe what the Emperor would plan.

War of the Third Coalition

The French were able to conquer Russia, however, failed to destroy the Russian military. On the other hand, Russians were able to regain what they had lost to the French but did not manage to restore their stability. There was a war of the third Coalition which was planned by Napoleon on Great Britain. However, his plans of trying to achieve naval dominance via destruction were not successful (Lieven, 2009). The plan was to lurk Britain's war troops in West Indies; however, they were interrupted when "Admiral Villeneuve's navy was overpowered by Admiral Nelson's Navy during the war of Trafalgar." The Intriguing part is that Britain did not lose even a single ship (Lambert, 2019). The battle was started by the association, as Austria started by attacking Bavaria with approximately seventy-thousand troops. However, the French side responded by sending out its martial from Italy (Chandler, 2009). As a consequence of the conquest of key Austrian military, in the northern parts of Alps by the French army. Napoleon was able to capture and control Vienna successfully. However, he was compelled to face a bigger Austro-Russian army far from his supply line, but managed to defeat the "Austro-Russian Military."

War of the Fourth Coalition

After defeating the third alliance, Great Britain combined another alliance along with Prussia, Saxony, and Sweden (Lambert, 2019). He designed the coalition of the Rhine outside the German states and elevated the rulers of Saxony and Bavaria to kingly status. Napoleon was able to conquer the impartiality of Prussian military at Jena. In the early 19th century he conquered Berlin after defeating the Prussian soldiers (Lambert, 2019). He pushed Russian soldiers out of Poland, drafting more soldiers. Napoleon was not satisfied and decided to seize the Prussian capital (Lieven, 2009). Finally, Napoleon arrived in Moscow after another battle with the Russian soldiers. The French army started to agonize after being barred by the Russian troops from arriving at "Kaluga." They were not to get sufficient food, water, and forage supplies (Lieven, 2009). Hence lack of enough food supply and progressive application of guerilla attacks by Russian soldiers led to the death of the French military (Lieven, 2009). The attack of Moscow by the French Soldiers adversely affected the development activities in Russia. The conflict made many people leave their homes, and business they had for years worked hard to establish. The war led to the interruption of economic activities that were done in Moscow.

The poor plans of Napoleon led his army into desperation. The Grande Army was chasing the Russian ghosts who welcomed them through guerrilla tactics. Since the French soldiers had little knowledge about the Russian land, they pursued the Russian soldiers restlessly without any success. This led them to consume the resources that could sustain them during the fight at the earlier stages something that led them to hardships. Food, water, and important suppliers were a problem to be obtained a behavior that opened a door for the opportunity to the Russian soldiers. Men suffered in the extremely hot environment of the Russian summer hence contributing to breaking of cohesion among the Napoleon soldiers. They even started organizing how to obtain food from the civilian Russians. Peasants witnessed this and turned against them something that made them weaker.

As a result of the war, the economy of Russia declined greatly (Esdaile, 2019). A lot of possessions were demolished during the war. It led to a lot of pain and anguish to those Russians whose possessions were destroyed. Key infrastructures such as roads, rails, and bridges were also damaged, which seriously hampered communication between soldiers (Esdaile, 2019). There was massive starvation that led to the death of horses which were used by the French armies, and others were killed during the war. It also had great effects on them since they were compelled to abandon their wagons in Russia, and it caused serious logistical difficulties since they could not access food, water, and arms suppliers.

The stability of their armies was also adversely affected. One major decline of Napoleon was the death of his troops after they contracted diseases during winter. The results of this war had adverse impacts on Napoleon's government which was dominant in Europe in the previous years (Esdaile, 2019). The defeat of his soldiers really lowered his esteem, and the French-Russian war marked the end of Napoleonic wars. Napoleon managed to regain his stability slowly until he was ultimately overpowered during the War of Nations. The Russian Campaign uncovered Napoleon's leadership weakness that led to his decline. For instance, he refused to pull out his army from France at the time he was attacking Russia.


In conclusion, the Napoleon invasion is considered a grand failure because of many factors, for instance, it could be as a result of the Russian winter or lack of measure to meet the basic tactics of survival. Despite the fact that Napoleon was dedicated to saving the emperor, the campaign descended into chaotic loss of humanity. Among other many factors, it is the logistics of the military that led to the defeat of Napoleon Army. The campaign helped sustain...

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