The Reason Napoleon was Beaten at Waterloo Essay

The Reason Napoleon was Beaten at Waterloo Essay

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The Reason Napoleon was Beaten at Waterloo

"Recouler pour mieux sauter." (French idiom. A rough translation would
be. "Recoil, the better to strike.")

The campaign of Austerlitz, leading up to the battle of the same name,
can be viewed as Napoleon's greatest victory. However a glaring
blunder is that the Austrian staff failed completely to calculate the
difference between the calendar systems of the two countries. The
Russians used the ancient, Gregorian system, putting their dates ten
days behind those of the Austrians. And this miscalculation was to
ruin the entire campaign. It was, in the proper sense of the word, a
decisive victory. By the end of the day on December 2nd, 1805, the
Austro-Russian army had ceased to be effective as a military unit,
being as it was, reduced to a handful of fleeing fugitives, groups of
mauled units in full retreat.

Napoleon had carefully weighed the options and decided what threats
there were to France. Chandler describes how he went about this:

"The French armies could expect attack from four possible directions.
Two could be discounted as insignificant; an Anglo-Swedish onslaught
against Hanover from Pomerania, or an allied descent on Naples, would
have little effect on the major issues of war, and in the former case
such an attack might even persuade Prussia to throw her lot in with
the French." (Chandler, 1993, p384).

The Grande Armeé, unlike other armies, did not move in column
formation. Instead, the army was divided into corps, each under a
marshal or general, with his own orders and his own methods of
executing them. Thus the manoeuvre at Austerlitz is one of the
greatest piec...


... middle of paper ...


... "Stand fast…we must not be beat - what would they say in England?"

Bibliography:

Best, G (1988) The Permanent Revolution. (Glasgow:Fontana)

Furet, F (1997) The French Revolution revisited in Recent Debates and
New Controversies Ed by G Kates (London:Routledge)

Lefebvre, G (1976) The Coming of the French Revolution. (New
Jersey:Princeton University Press)

Lucas, C (1997) Nobles, Bourgeois, and the origins of the French
Revolution in Recent Debates and New Controversies Ed by G Kates
(London:Routledge)

Mc Garr, P (1989) The Great French Revolution. (Socialist Worker)

Mc Garr, P (1998) The French Revolution: Marxism versus revisionism.
(International Socialism)

Soboul, A (1988) Understanding the French Revolution (London:
Routledge)

Tosh, J (1991) The Pursuit of History (London: Longman)

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