Battle of Austerlitz (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Austerlitz allows Napoleon to triumph over the Third Coalition, shattering the Austrian army and humiliating the Russians.
Summary of Event
The Third Coalition, formed against France in 1805, continued the wars of the French Revolution and empire. Great Britain had broken the unfavorable Peace of Amiens in May, 1803, and while Napoleon was seriously contemplating an invasion of the British Isles, Austria and Russia declared war on the newly created empire. Alexander I joined the coalition mainly for philosophical reasons; he pictured himself in the role of the savior of Europe. His fear of French influence in the eastern Mediterranean was a secondary reason. Austria, on the other hand, had more forceful reasons for going to war. The treaties of Campo Formio (1797) and Lunéville (1801) had been humiliating for Austria by reducing the size of its empire and by eliminating its influence in Germany and Italy.
Throughout the summer of 1805, the French army had been poised along the English Channel waiting for the French navy to gain at least temporary control of the water between Dover and Calais. Late in August, Napoleon turned his back on the English Channel in order to meet the new and more dangerous threat developing on the upper Danube. The Austrians, without waiting for their Russian allies to arrive, decided to open the campaign without delay and catch the French off guard....
(The entire section is 1211 words.)
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Battle of Austerlitz (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground battle in the Napoleonic Wars. Result: The allied army was beaten, driven from the field, and dispersed.
The Treaty of Amiens (1802) between Britain and France brought peace to Europe for the first time in a decade, but no one expected the truce to last, and few were surprised when Britain and France returned to war in 1803. Amiens provided England with a breather and permitted Napoleon Bonaparte, France’s first consul, to develop a new army and to consolidate his political position.
This new French army, composed of more than 200,000 men, was of Bonaparte’s own design. It used traditional battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions but, for the first time, combined divisions into uniform, miniature armies called corps. The corps possessed both heavy and light infantry as well as artillery and cavalry. One of these corps, the Guard, was made up of hand-picked veterans and was the army’s elite strike force. Additional staff on the corps and army level and improved discipline and training bound the various units together. This force, under the direction of skilled subordinates, as well as the consul’s superior abilities, gave Napoleon a decided advantage over his less prepared and less able opponents.
During 1804 and 1805, Bonaparte, militarily secure, expanded his political base by declaring himself emperor of the French. He further consolidated his position by...
(The entire section is 606 words.)