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Norman A. Letterman
Why did Napoleon Invade Russia? TL:DW, he thought he was going to win.
A Concise History of France by Roger Price.
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we all know that Napoleon's invasion of the Russian Empire ended how shall we say poorly but one of the big questions is what was he hoping to achieve and were these goals realistic so a bit of context when Napoleon had risen to power in the year eight or 1799 is it normally known Europe looked like this by 1812 on the eve of Napoleon's famed invasion of Russia it looked like this Napoleon had managed to defeat the Prussian Russians and Austrians before this and after rearranging their territories had demanded that they take part in what's called the Continental System the Continental System was basically the don't trade with Britain club and this lack of trade was quite damaging to Russia as such in 1810 the Russians simply opted to ignore Napoleon's demand and trade anyway which the French Emperor did not like one bit now this wasn't the only problem that plagued Franco Russian relations the first was ideological Russia represented everything that the French Emperor despised it wanted a meritocratic Europe in which certain rights were enshrined in certain values were seen as being simply universal and Russia did not embody these ideas the second issue was Poland in 1807 Napoleon had defeated the fourth coalition and as a result took this territory from Prussia and gave it to the brand-new Duchy of Warsaw in 1809 Austria tried to defeat Napoleon and just like everyone else they failed and so was punishment for even trying in the first place they lost this territory to the new polish state so how does this concern Russia well the last independent polish state was the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and that had been partitioned by Austria Prussia and Russia this meant that a large polish minority lived within Russia meaning that if there was a conflict between itself and Poland or its patron France they would likely be an uprising furthermore the close friendship between the Duchy of Warsaw in France meant the Poland could be used as a launching point for an invasion into Russia as such the Russians could not tolerate an independent Poland unless it accepted the Russian Emperor as its king the poles in Napoleon said no and so things got a little bit tense so by 1812 the French Empire was deeply bogged down by Spanish and Portuguese resistance in the Peninsular war this was becoming costly in terms of money and lives and so as a result Napoleon needed a win and what better way to do so than to have a quick and easy victory by invading Russia Napoleon knew that he couldn't continue to fight the costly Peninsular war and invade Russia without Prussia and Austria on side as such Napoleon pressured them to commit small forces to the invasion which they agreed to the idea being that they would make an enemy of Russia and so wouldn't be able to against Napoleon so as we all know Napoleon's invasion of Russia was a complete failure and so surely he must have been able to predict some of the issues he faced right well know Napoleon was convinced of his own genius and considered the Russians to be an inferior people who would be unable to withstand his armies for very long as we all know this invasion went terribly for France and Napoleon stays in power were soon numbered so in summary Napoleon invaded Russia for many reasons to enforce the Continental System which in theory would starve Britain of money and resources to destroy Russia is a potential future enemy so that France could focus entirely on the Spanish Portuguese in the British and to strengthen his grip over Eastern and Central Europe as well as the new polish state to enforce Napoleonic ideals there however the most obvious reason he invaded was simple he thought he was going to win I hope you enjoyed this episode and thank you for watching with extra thanks to my patrons that you see on screen now and a special thanks to James Bissonnette David archaeologist Zarqa flash Party Boyko Rob Waterhouse Yashar Enderman Chris wicker Myles Bailey Brent guard Michael Reynolds Gustav Swann tun Rick Onion duck Maggie pax Kowski Winston k-word phacelia Ravidas Anthony Beckett Adam Harvey Ike Skye Chappelle and the amusement park Ives