The French Defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Lack of Judgment

The French Defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Lack of Judgment

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The French Defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and Napoleon's Lack of Judgment

After abdicating to the island of Elba Napoleon Bonaparte returned to
France to rule the country once again. However after just 100 days
ruling he had suffered the final defeat and was aboard a British ship
returning to exile once more. He gambled everything on a battle which
if he had won would've have left in an extremely strong position in
Europe and would've changed the face of Europe as we know it today. He
was arguably the greatest military commander in modern times; he
achieved things that seemed impossible on many occasions. However this
deity of modern warfare and Emperor of France was beaten during a
battle, which everything was in his favour. To what extent it was his
fault? Or was napoleon controlled by circumstances?

Many historians make a very good case for the battle being Napoleons
fault. There evidence can be divided into tactical errors, personal
errors and political lack of judgement. However, many people see that
the loss was no fault of his; this evidence will again be split into
what napoleon did right during the battle (therefore not making it his
fault), the fact that he could have been beaten by a better enemy, and
other reasons accounting for the loss.

Tactically, Napoleon had often proven himself to be brilliant. Looking
into his previous battles the battle of the pyramids is a good example
of this. Facing elite Mameluke cavalry of Murad Bey[1], and hardened
desert veterans napoleon brilliantly commanded his troops, which
resulted in an emphatic victory. The Murad Bey army lost thousands of
men and horses. The French lost 29 men....

... middle of paper ...

...s and
support this view

[8] War Walks by Richard Holmes

[9] Napoleon and Wellington by Andrew Roberts

[10] The Napoleonic Wars by Gunther Rosenberg

[11] Letter by Ney to Duke de Oranto

[12] 1815 The Road To Waterloo by Gregor Dallas

[13] Napoleon and Wellington by Andrew Roberts

[14] Quoted from Napoleon and Wellington by Andrew Roberts

[15] 1815 The Road To Waterloo by Gregor Dallas and Waterloo: the one
hundred days by David Chandler focus heavily on Napoleons illness.

[16] Waterloo: the one hundred days by David Chandler suggests cancer
as a possibility

[17] War Walks by Richard Holmes

[18] The Napoleonic Wars by Gunther Rosenberg

[19] Napoleon and Wellington by Andrew Roberts

[20] Napoleon in conversation with Count Emmanuel

[21] From Information pack

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