Decline and Fall of Napoleon’s Empire, How The Emperor Self-destructed

The author traces the period from 1804 to 1815, and Napoleon's final 
exile, in a ground breaking study of Napoleon's errors. 
Strongly Recommended.


NAME: Decline and Fall of Napoleon's Empire, How The Emperor 
FILE: R2389
AUTHOR:  Digby Smith
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, frontline
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  239
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Napoleon, French Empire, Napoleonic Wars, reverses, decline, 
destruction, surrender, mistakes, errors, poor intelligence
ISBN: 1-84832-818-1
IMAGE: B2389.jpg
LINKS: Current Discount Offers 
DESCRIPTION: The author traces the period from 1804 to 1815, and 
Napoleon's final exile, in a ground breaking study of Napoleon's 
errors. Strongly Recommended.

The frontline imprint has built an unparalleled collection of classic 
works on the Napoleonic wars. This addition to the collection is the 
first book to provide a detailed study of Napoleon's many errors. 
Authors thus far have tended to concentrate on Napoleon's good 
decisions, achievements and victories. By 1804, Napoleon was beginning 
to make more bad judgements than good. Inevitably the bad judgements 
would mount up, end the flow of victories and see an increasing number 
of defeats.

The French had been consistently and decisively defeated by the Royal 
Navy at sea, from the start of the Revolutionary War. These defeats 
really reinforced the dominance of the Royal Navy that had been 
achieved almost half a Century before during the Seven Years War. 
When Napoleon took over the stewardship of France, he simply continued 
the naval failures and that was the start of his critical mistakes. 
As long as Britain ruled at sea, the French were limited in what they 
could achieve outside the European mainland. They would also be 
increasingly hampered by the British naval blockade which denied them 
trade outside the Napoleonic dominance on land. As long as he continued 
to confront Britain, Napoleon was only going to perpetuate this area of 
French weakness. Eventually, the British blockade could have weakened 
the French ability to resist, but Napoleon began to make a series of 
critical mistakes on land.

The first error was to select members of his family to rule conquered 
European States. These new kings may have owed allegiance to Napoleon 
but they were ineffective and unloved by their new subjects. The 
Spanish were unenthusiastic about the prospects of having a new royal 
family imposed on them and the French armies in Spain operated 
independently of each other. This began the series of reverses in the 
one area that Napoleon had clearly triumphed, namely the land battles. 
Wellington was sent to Portugal and played a brilliant hand in keeping 
the French armies divided. He prevented their expansion into Portugal 
and then fought a series of battles into Spain. Had Napoleon appointed 
a single overall French commander, he might have been able to defeat 
Wellington, who was always short of men and equipment. As long as he 
could keep the French divided, he avoided facing an enemy that was 
significantly superior in numbers and equipment.

As the Peninsular War continued, Wellington was able to advance on 
France. This not only imposed a cost to Napoleon, but it exposed the 
myth of his invincibility and encouraged subjugated countries to 
consider rebellion.

The author has made a comprehensive study of all of Napoleon's many 
errors, but his critical mistake was to advance on Russia with 
inadequate intelligence. This led the French armies into the Russian 
Winter and inevitable defeat. As the Russians harried the French 
advance and then began to beat them back, the Prussians and the 
other defeated countries began to prepare to join Britain against 
France. As this process unfolded, Napoleon's Marshalls began to 
question their loyalty to him.

Having made the errors that led to his defeat and first exile, 
Napoleon made his final mistake of thinking he could escape exile, 
return to France, raise new armies and once more become Emperor of 
Europe. Waterloo ended those dreams and resulted in his exile far 
from any prospect of escape.

A fascinating study with fresh insight.