The Battle of Waterloo

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French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is remembered as one of the greatest minds in military history. His revolutionary approach to warfare changed the course of history and the principles which governed his style of leadership are still valued today. Although he had an illustrious career of over 25 years and expanded the French Empire from Portugal to Russia, his reign came to end at the hands' of his enemies. The Battle of Waterloo was Napoleon's last stand as a military commander and will be examined for his use of the principles of the operations process. Napoleon failed to implement these activities effectively and is ultimately responsible for the loss of the battle. Napoleon was able to lead his men, but was unable to overcome his failures. He failed to understand the operational environment which affected his subordinates ability share an understanding of the environment. He failed to direct his forces and functions which lead to the loss of initiative and lacked in violence of action. Finally, Napoleon failed to assess the battle continuously and accurately which kept him from adapting when necessary. After a hard fought battle at Waterloo, Napoleon was defeated.

Napoleon established himself as the leader of France and ambitiously worked to make France the most powerful country in Europe. In 1799, Bonaparte carried out a coup on the First Republic of France government and installed himself as the ruler and first Consul.1 Eventually, he would go on to make this a lifetime position and even establish himself as the first Emperor of France. Britain and its Allied forces of Dutch, Belgian, German, and Prussian soldiers recognized Napoleon's growing strength and declared war on France, in 1803. The ensuing Napoleo...

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...embered as one of the greatest military leaders of all time, his defeat serves as a reminder, that all leaders must adhere to the principles of Mission Command.

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Germani, Ian. “Napoleon and Europe.” Canadian Journal of History. Spring/Summer (2008): 109 – 116. Staff. “The Battle of Waterloo.” (2009) (accessed 20 February, 2014).

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Sharpe, Col. (Ret.) James Jr. and LTC (Ret.) Thomas Creviston, “Understanding Mission Command.” (2013) (accessed 20 February, 2014).

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