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Example research essay topic: One Hundred Thousand Back To France - 1,011 words

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... the time he had allotted. This unplanned delay forced Napoleons troops to march great distances under the extreme temperatures of the summer. All of Napoleons troops were issued wool uniforms.

As a result of the hot and humid weather conditions, soldiers striped from the wool jackets and pants to just there undergarments (Eating, 22). Although rewarding at the time, it would later prove to be a fatal mistake. Prior to reaching Moscow, there was another major battle. The battle of Borodino was the bloodiest battle that Napoleon and his troops had ever seen. Napoleon's army consisted of one hundred thousand infantry, twenty-eight thousand cavalry and five hundred and ninety cannons.

The Russian army under the command of General Kutuzov consisted of seventy-two thousand regular infantry, ten thousand semi-trained militia, seventeen thousand cavalry, seven thousand Cossacks and six hundred forty cannons (Austin, 58). The battle only lasted a few days, but within the few hours of intense fighting, some eighty thousand men were slain. Napoleon lost thirty-five thousand soldiers, and the Russians lost forty-five thousand soldiers. The war ended with Kutuzov's order to retreat on September 8.

On September 12, 1812, Napoleon reached Moscow. The remaining one hundred thousand French troops entered the mostly deserted town only to see close to seventy-five thousand Russian troops. The French soldiers were slaughtered. Russian soldiers had strategically placed themselves in sniper positions and they new the winding roads of Moscow. Napoleon was able to capture the prized city of Moscow, after losing close to twenty-five thousand men (Saglamer, Moscow).

The soldiers pillaged the stores and houses in order to obtain blankets and food for the cold winter months. Unfortunately, the fleeing Russians set fire to the city. Within three days, four-fifths of the city was burnt. Napoleon and his troops were in the middle of a burnt city. The goal of the invasion of Russia was to capture Moscow, the heart of Russia, and now the prized city was burnt down to the ground. The troops were not able to obtain enough food and supplies due to the fire.

Soldiers began to die by the hundreds because of the extreme cold and lack of supplies. Napoleon traveled thousands of miles to conquer Russia. He achieved his goal of taking Moscow, but in the end fires smashed his dream. Napoleon fell ill because of the horribly cold weather and fled back to France.

Abandoning his troops, Napoleon left control of the Grand Arme to his second in charge, General Murat. After waiting in vain for Alexander I to offer to negotiate, Napoleon ordered his troops to begin the march home. Kutuzov, the Russia generals, forces blocked the route south, and the French were in no shape for a battle. The retreat retraced the long, devastated route of the invasion. Having waited until mid-September to depart, the exhausted French army soon found itself in the midst of winter. In fact, this winter was unusually early and especially cold winter (Brokers, 235).

Temperatures soon dropped well below freezing. Cossacks attacked stragglers and isolated units, and Food was almost non-existent. When the not so Grand Arme arrived in France, it was reduced to ten thousand freezing, hungry soldiers (236). From 1799 to 1815, the greater part of continental Europe was dominated by Napoleon (11).

After the failure of the Treaty of Tilsit, relations between Russia and France began to deteriorate. The decision to invade Russia in 1812 was a horrible mistake on Napoleons part. Four hundred thousand troops of the original half million members of the Grand Arme lost their lives in a hopeless cause. One hundred-fifty thousand horses of the original quarter million died of colic, horrible winter weather and other various reasons (Eating, 244).

After achieving his goal of conquering Moscow, Napoleon fell terribly sick from the flu, almost losing his life. He abandoned his troops, and he fled back to France, arriving months ahead of them. When the word spread of Napoleons defeat, continental Europe began to lose faith in their once invincible Napoleon. By the end of 1813, Prussia had dropped all treaty agreements with France. Austria had formed a separate peace agreement with Russia.

The tides had turned on Napoleons once great Empire. In 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate his throne. He was exiled to a small island in the Mediterranean called Elba. After a year, Napoleon was able to make an escape from Elba and flee to France. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon was able to raise another Grand Arme, but not grand enough to defeat the English at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. After his defeat, Napoleon was exiled to St.

Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean. The remoteness of St. Helena made it close to impossible to escape. Napoleon remained at St.

Helena until his death from stomach cancer on May 5, 1821 (Connelly, Temple of Napoleon). 1. Austin, Paul. 1812: Napoleon in Moscow. Greenhill Books, London & Pennsylvania. 1995. 2. Brokers, Michael. Europe Under Napoleon 1799 - 1815. Arnold Headline Group, New York. 1996. 3.

Eating, John. Swords Around a Thrown: Napoleons Grande Arme. Da Capo Press, New York. 1997. 4. Palmer, R.

France Under Napoleon. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. 1990. 1. Connelly, Owen. Tempe of Napoleon. web 2.

Minard. Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, 1812. web 3. Russian Embassy. Napoleons Invasion of Russia. web 4.

Saglamer, Emin. 1812: Napoleon's March to Russia. web 5. Unknown. Napoleon is Russia: 1812. web The map, based on the 1869 chart by Minard, graphically illustrates (both literally and figuratively) how the size of the French army dwindled during the march into Russia and was reduced to almost nothing on the wretched rout back into Poland.

The map can be read in several ways. The size of the peach colored bar indicates the relative strength of the French army during the march on Moscow. The black bar shows the dwindling French army during the retreat. In the lower portion of the map, the temperature in degrees Celsius is shown, along with dates during the retreat. Bibliography:


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