THE SUCCESS OF NAPOLEON’S STRATEGY THROUGHOUT HIS CONQUEST Name: Subject: Date Napoleon Bonaparte is to a large extent one of the most successful Generals and it is a consensus that perhaps no other General and his army achieved such success within a similar time frame and period…
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A study into Napoleon’s military influence on Europe should first describe a brief background on the his rise before focusing on the military strategy he deployed in battle, utilizing the various battles he won to demonstrate the success of the strategy. Napoleon grew up in pre-revolution France and attended a military academy before being selected to study the scientific and mathematical aspects of warfare.3 When the French revolution removed the autocratic leadership creating a room for other individuals to take up positions, a scenario a situation developed with Napoleon becoming the beneficiary. He rose up the ranks due to military adeptness in squashing the counter revolutions that characterized early post-revolution France, and was later appointed an operational planner for the army in Italy.4 His military brilliance in Italy saw him take senior leadership in the military and lead an army to Egypt before returning to his homeland and organizing a successful coup d`etat and transforming France into a form of a military dictatorship. He however made civil law standard through the Napoleon Code which ensured the revolution’s objectives were not lost especially in terms of freedom and religion. Napoleon’s Military Strategy Napoleon devised a highly effective approach to war that had no rival at that time hence leading to numerous victories against his enemies and driving his conquest. Of particular note is the fact that Napoleon was more of a practical General rather than an innovator, utilizing approaches by former Generals after adapting them to his cause. He adopted the aspects that worked and ignored the useless. His strategy was based on military agility, speed and surprise attacks hence he configured his army in a manner that could carry this out.5 The Napoleonic army was organized into basic units or corps;6 self-sustaining and semi-independent units that could be deployed effectively even against large armies and hold their ground until the other units reinforced them or attacked the enemy from a different side. Napoleon recognized the soldier as the most important function in the overall organization and hence undertook to boost morale across his forces.7 As a result, he had a close personal relationship with his subordinates and was a charismatic figure that created bravery and boosted fighting spirits amongst his men. This can be evidenced by the several proclamations he made to his army such as …“You have won battles without cannon, crossed rivers without bridges, made forced marches without shoes and camped without brandy and often without bread. Soldiers of liberty, only republican phalanxes could have endured what you have endured. Soldiers, you have our thanks! The grateful Patrie will owe its prosperity to you. The two armies which but recently attacked you with audacity are fleeing before you in terror; the wicked men who laughed at your misery and rejoiced at the thought of the triumphs of your enemies are confounded and trembling...”8 With an army boasting of such high levels of morale, Napoleon could then implement his strategy that was developed after taking into consideration each specific battle
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