First Italian Campaign |
The Egyptian Campaign |
Second Italian Campaign |
The Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign |
The Prussian Campaign |
The Peninsular War |
The Austrian War |
The Russian Campaign |
From Lützen to Elba |
The Waterloo Campaign
Prussian Campaign, 1806-1807
by Frances growing power, the Prussians now challenged
Napoleon, who made short work of them. "The idea that
Prussia could take the field against me by herself,"
he said, "seems so ridiculous that it does not merit
three weeks in October of 1806, he brought the Prussians
to their knees. Defeating the Prussian army at the battles
of Jéna and Auerstädt, Napoleon captured
140,000 prisoners and left 25,000 dead or wounded. The
might of the Prussian army had been entirely crushed.
October 27, Napoleon marched triumphantly through Berlin
to the strains of the Marseilles, invoking the Revolution,
equality, and the abolition of privilege. But as 1806 drew
to a close, Napoleon was still at war. Austria and Prussia
had both surrendered, but the Russians bloodied after
Austerlitz and Great Britain all powerful on the seas
remained dangerous enemies. To defeat Russia, Napoleon marched
his soldiers deep into Poland.
Napoleons justification is that you always
have to take the war to your adversaries and you
have to defeat them whatever it takes. So going
out to the far reaches of Poland if thats
what it takes to get the Russians to capitulate,
thats what hes going to do.
was in Warsaw when he was stunned by the news of a surprise
Russian attack. He struck back at once, first at Eylau,
just 130 miles from the Russian border, then, later
in nearby Friedland.
carnage in both battles was terrible: 70,000 French
and Russian soldiers killed or wounded. Napoleons
army was torn and bloody; the Tsars army was in
ruins. Alexander puzzled over what to do next.
When Alexander the First was thinking about what
to do after the battle of Friedland, his brother
Constantine said, "Sire, if you are considering
fighting the French, you might as well give each
soldier a gun and let him put a bullet in his head.
The result will be the same."
June 25, 1807, Alexander traveled to Tilsit on the western
border of the Russian empire to discuss peace with the
Emperor of France. To signify their equal status, they
met on a raft moored precisely in the center of the
Niemen River the boundary between Russia and
When the Tsar met
Napoleon he had one goal in mind: to find a peaceful
solution that would benefit him. And the first thing
he said to Napoleon in French was... "Sir, I hate
the English as much as you do." And Napoleon said,
"So we have made peace."
peace terms were generous. He demanded no Russian territory
at all. In return, the Tsar agreed to become Frances
ally to join the Continental Blockade and refuse
to trade with Britain.
Napoleon wanted to have this alliance very much
and he was prepared to sacrifice for it. The alliance
of Russia and France, two great empires, would force
the British to make peace. Finally there would be
peace and calm in Europe.
ten days before, they had been bleeding each other dry.
Now the two old enemies were acting like old friends.
The Tsar and Napoleon spent long hours together, inspecting
each other's armies, awarding medals to soldiers on
both sides. After two weeks, the two men seemed to have
grown genuinely fond of one another.
was charmed by Alexander, describing him as "especially
handsome, like a hero with all the graces of an amiable
Parisian." The Tsar, in turn, seemed in awe of Napoleon
and his sheer power. As they said goodbye, Napoleon
was convinced he had turned the Tsar into a friend and
He tries to seduce Alexander. He tries to please
him. He pays him a lot of compliments. Napoleon
is a great seducer.
Alexander were a woman," he wrote Josephine, "I would
make him my mistress."
This was Napoleon's biggest mistake. He thought
he actually did charm Alexander. What Napoleon didnt
understand was that Alexander would never stick
to their agreement. But for Napoleon, the Tilsit
peace seemed to be his finest moment - for him and
for his Empire. He came back to Paris in 1807 to
a huge celebration.
rejoiced at the signing of the treaty between the two
giant powers. Once again, peace in Europe seemed secure.