Napoleon Series Archive 2005

Re: The Decline And Fall Of Napoleon's Empire

Kevin,

In 1813 he had to act in the intrest of France - I don't believe that it was in the intrest of France and surely not in the intrest of the Low Countries, but merely in his own intrests (or those of his brother in Westfalen) to go on campaigning again in Germany, in a gamble where his odd's were about 1 against 3. He still believed he could win but he didn't see or maybe he couldn't accept that, even by a victory in Germany, he had already lost Spain for ever. One may say that, after a victory in the 1813-campaign, he could have put his attention to Spain again, but I don't see that he could have left Germany without an occupation army for many years to come, leaving him practically not enough forces to engage in Spain. Russia would always have been a possible threat, and would have restarted the war in the first possibility, creating more coalitions than he could cope with.

In the end of that possible way I even think that France would have been divided again in the different regions of the Languedoc, the Nord, the Elzas so that even he would have lost not only his empire but even France that he inherited from the Revolution.

One of the biggest mistakes he made in Central Europe was the non-creation of a independent kingdom of Poland in 1812, (something all the Poles, even those living in Russia were hoping for, and something Marie Walewska asked him many times), still believeing that he could convince the tsar to a peace, that would be an impossibility with an independent Poland.
But did he ever understand the Polish and the Russian mentality ? - I doubt it.
With the Poles he would have had a buffer state against Russia, which would have given him the chance, even after a defeat in Russia to fall back to that Poland, and to reorganise his forces out from Warschau.
Poland would have been a valuable ally in his struggle for Central Europe, and would have controlled every action of Russia, Prussia and even Austria, giving him the time to intervene.

That he won some victories in the beginning of 1813 pushing the allies back was no garanty for further succes - I would even say that he fell into the trap a second time after the first trap he fell in in Russia

Kind regards

Marc

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