How far can Napoléon’s military successes in Europe from 1796 to 1809 be explained by the weakness of his opponents.

An essay assessing why Napoleon was so victorious at war,

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  • Created on: 29-05-14 11:09
Preview of How far can Napoléon’s military successes in Europe from 1796 to 1809 be explained by the weakness of his opponents.

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How far could Napoléon's military successes in Europe from 1796 to 1809 be explained by the
weakness of his opponents?
Napoléon Bonaparte was the Commander of the Grand Armee in which he had many military
successes, creating himself a vast Empire. Throughout 1796 to 1809 Napoléon fought a variety of
battles and the Napoléonic wars across Europe in which he brought France supreme triumphs
particularly portrayed in the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoléon's main opponents included Britain, Austria,
Prussia, Russia and many of his vassal states did not support him. It is arguably the result of the
weakness of his opponents which allowed him to have success, as they were incompetent and
divided. However many of Napoléon's successes portrayed that rather than his opponents being
weak Napoléon had strengh, as a result of Napoléon's own military ability many revolutionized
strategies, diplomatic policies and patriotism were at the forefront of Napoléon's military successes.
Although itcould be argued that the strategies and patriotism were a quality of the Grande Armee
and they were the ones in reality who won the battles and who brought Napoléon's military
successes. Napoléon's own ability to command an army and the army itself are all closely linked to his
opponents lack of military ability, weak armies and poor diplomacy and their general weaknesses in
battle.
His victories began with the Italian campaign in which he defeated Austrian armies attempting to
restore the Bourbon monarchy. Following this campaign, he is sent to Egypt because of fears of his
political ambitions. He defeats the Mamluks in the Battle of the Pyramids and invades the Levant, and
is successful there against the Ottoman Turks. However, disease and the Royal Navy force him to
abandon his men, and he returns to France.
After returning to France, Napoléon wins his single greatest victory against Austrian and Russian
forces outside of Vienna at a village known as Austerlitz. Austria surrenders and Napoléon then turns
to Prussia, defeating them at Jena before marching triumphantly through Berlin. His empire reaches
its high point with a victory over the Russians at Borodino, allowing him to take Moscow... but from
there, his opponents have since learned his tactics and his battlefield victories do little more then
delay his eventual defeat at Waterloo.
Napoléon won many major victories buy revolutionizing the tactics employed by armies of the day,
largely speeding up warfare and then outsmarting the forces he encountered.

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