Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Napoleon’s invasion of Russia leads to the destruction of the Imperial French army and the beginning of the fall of the Napoleonic empire.
Summary of Event
On June 23, 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte crossed the Niemen River with 440,000 troops to open his campaign against Russia. France and Russia had been allied since 1807, but their relationship had never been cordial and had degenerated rapidly since 1809. The Russian court and commercial opinion opposed the alliance from the start, and Czar Alexander I had refused to give political, military, or economic cooperation to Napoleon. In 1809, the Russians gave no effective aid to the French in the war with Austria, even though the alliance committed Russia to support France. Also, the Russian czar was lax in enforcing Napoleon’s embargo against British goods and, in 1810, special customs duties were levied in Russia that affected French trade adversely. Furthermore, Alexander refused to negotiate a marriage between Napoleon and the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna. Serious political difficulties concerning Turkey, Prussia, and the remnants of Poland increased the tension between France and Russia; finally, when Napoleon seized the grand duchy of Oldenburg in 1811 (whose integrity Bonaparte had guaranteed at Tilsit), the diplomatic crisis broke and war began a year later.
Because Alexander knew that war was imminent, he made peace with Turkey and...
(The entire section is 1396 words.)
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