Napoleon Bonaparte Failed Leadership in the Campaign of Russia in 1812
Cadet Nguyen, Hieu
Thesis: Napoleon Bonaparte ineffective leadership during the invasion of Russia of 1812 resulted in campaign failure.
The invasion of Russia in 1812 was a turning point for Napoleon military conquest. The aftermath of his failed invasion had shaken his reputation as a tactical genius and severely questioned his ability to lead to win battles. Napoleon’s two main fault that led to the fail campaign was his inability to discipline his men, and relying on methods from prior campaign to make logistical preparation. The campaign would eventually cost him his army and alliances from other countries. The invasion of Russia was due to Russia’s unwillingness to remain in the continental system. The Continental System was a foreign policy that embargo trades with Britain. The embargo was economically damaging for both sides.It caused great hardship in England, followed with waves of business failure and employee strikes throughout the country. Russian economy was hurt under the embargo. Lost of lucrative trades putted Czar under pressure and eventually Russia withdrew from the Continental System.
With the invasion in Napoleon’s mind, he set out his massive army over 400,000 to Moscow comprising armies from nations all over Europe. The army contains elements of Frenchmen, but it also encompassed Poles, Belgian, Dutchmen, Italian and Swiss. The total number of Napoleon’s Army (Grande Armee) outnumbered the Russian 2 to 1. However, with large number of men Napoleon failed to effectively discipline his men. One chief example, during his retreated from Moscow, his supplies dwindled because the Russian utilized scorch earth tactics to destroy any supplies they had so it prevent Napoleon’s army from using it. The Grande Armee could not live off the land as they did prior campaigns because of weather and the harsh terrain of Russia. Hence the troops had to...
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