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"Napoleon's ambitious imperial policy was the main reason fo

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Emma Diack

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of "Napoleon's ambitious imperial policy was the main reason fo

"Napoleon's ambitious imperial policy was the main reason for his ultimate failure." to what extent did you agree with this statement.

1st Piece of Evidence
Getting rid of old ruling dynasties and installing unwelcome government which instilled nationalism and contributed to countries resistance

○ Germany: modeled reforms along French lines which is what Napoleon wanted, this led to national army, a strong centralized government and a new education system which led to German nationalism and the battle of Leipzig 16-19 October 1813

2nd Piece of Evidence
- Continental blockade

Portugal failed to uphold the blockade which caused Napoleon to pressure and invade Spain which led to the Peninsular war.
Tsar withdrew from Blockade and introduced a new trade tariff that favored Britain over France which led to French Invasion

3rd Piece of Evidence + Counter Claim
- Mistakes and tactical errors

○ Napoleon didn’t take others into his confidence
○ Invaded Russia while still fighting a war in Spain
○ He underestimated the Russian climate, unprepared
○ Decided to take Moscow which led him moving further into their country
○ Huge ego - underestimated other countries (Charles Esdaile)

Historian's Views
Jacques Bainville: (tactical errors)
Writer of Napoleon (1931) and Dictators
Notes that France was smaller in area in 1815 than in 1799
thought it would have probably been better if Napoleon had never lived

Paul W. Schroeder: (tactical errors)
The Transformation of European Politics 1763-1848
Very critical, especially about Napoleon’s obsession with war
Napoleon never intended to create an integrated Europe
Napoleon conquered simply for the sake of conquering

Charles Esdaile: (tactical errors)
“France was confront with a new ‘nations-in-arms’ at a time when, thanks to Napoleon, she had ceased to be one herself.”
Napoleon could not counter all the other nations after putting himself into a very difficult position/backed himself into a corner

Thesis Statement
While Napoleon's decline can be attributed to his tactical errors, his ultimate failure was largely due to the instillation of nationalism in foreign countries which led to further resistance and his enforcement of the Continental Blockade which led to multiple conflicts.
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