• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Blundering to glory". How far is this an accurate description of the campaigns of Napoleon 1800-1809?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Blundering to glory". How far is this an accurate description of the campaigns of Napoleon 1800-1809? The term "Blundering to Glory" seems to imply that Napoleon achieved military success in his campaigns through sheer luck and the ineptitude of his opponents rather than through his own skills as a military leader. Barnett can be said to have been extremely anti-Napoleon in his views and although many of his points may be compelling, it is important to note that they may be exaggerated to be more in line with his biased view. Connelly on the other hand, can also be said to have been critical of Napoleon's military skills and points out what he sees as several flaws in the Guibertian approach implemented by the French "military genius". Both historians also have varied definitions on the term "Blundering to Victory". Barnett believed that the French side were just fortunate to have won those military campaigns, but that that luck was unsustainable and that it was only a matter of time before it would eventually fail the French side. Connelly, on the other hand had said that although potentially there was great risk for failure and that errors did occur within the "Grande Armee", in the end Napoleon could have been successful with this strategy i.e. the Guibertian system had its defects and could fail the army, unless those problems were sorted out. ...read more.

Middle

With no Russian reinforcements nearby, Mack surrendered his 27,000 men. Austria was effectively out of the war. However, as Correlli and Barnett have pointed out, it may have been an entirely different outcome had General Mack decided to break out as Melas had done at Marengo, or if the Russians had tried to help Mack rather than retreat. Bonaparte may have faced the possibility of fighting an enemy at two fronts and this could have resulted in the defeat of his army. It may have been seen as pure luck by Barnett that the Russians had decided to retreat instead of facing the "Grande Armee". Regarded as Napoleon's greatest victory, Austerlitz was an outstanding trap that destroyed the Austro-Russian army opposing him. It can be argued that Austerlitz was the finest example of Bonaparte's tactical strategy as, by tricking his opponents into thinking he was weaker than he actually was, and then calling in nearby reinforcements, Bonaparte initially met the combined Allied army of 85,400 men and with just 73,100 men. The French emperor deliberately abandoned a strong central position and left his right flank weak in order to lure the enemy to approach there. The Allies readily moved forward off the Pratzen Heights and this could be said to have been a fatal mistake as they had then weakened the centre of their army in order to try and defeat the French right. ...read more.

Conclusion

Archduke Charles made the mistake of believing that Bonaparte was really interested in peace with the Austrians - in fact, it was a ploy to build time for the French to build-up their strength and attack the Austrian force again. "You engage, and then you wait and see" - so Napoleon Bonaparte considered his ability of war. He was described as a scrambler who never had a plan, strategic or tactical, that did not break down or change of necessity in the field. He was so confident of his ability to improvise, cover his own mistakes, and capitalize on those of the enemies that he repeatedly plunged his armies into uncertain, seemingly desperate situations, only to emerge victorious, "blundering to glory". However, it can also be said that there were Allied errors made as well as errors made on the French side; and that as mistakes were made, the French had also learned from them (e.g. in the battle of Aspern-Essling). The biggest factor, especially from the viewpoint of Connelly, was the element of risk involved in Bonaparte's military campaign. If an enemy had adapted to his idea of Guibertian warfare or fought with a substantial military force, Bonaparte could have been forced to change his tactics and, could possibly have been defeated. Therefore, it may have been a combination of luck, through Allied mistakes, the strict discipline of the "Grande Armee" and the exceptional military command displayed by Bonaparte that helped in his campaigns during the "years of legend". SHAMIMA SHALLY 13ZB ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Why did Napoleon lose the Battle of Waterloo?

    Soult's lack of skills was one of the reasons for Napoleon's loss. Davout was Napoleon's most capable marshal. He had fought along with Napoleon in Egypt and Austerlitz and was thought to be almost Napoleon's equal in military strategies

  2. How successful was Napoleon III?

    Napoleon III also, like his uncle, abhorred political parties as he believed their arguments only made divisions and disagreements so instead of a political party he simply appointed the best men available which was very popular with the French notables.

  1. Why did the Franco-Prussian war happen and why were the Prussians able to defeat ...

    Although the Ems telegram as this is called is the reason for the declaration of the war, it is relatively insignificant because it is the final straw in a long line of failures for France.

  2. Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Not only was he proud of himself, but so was France. He brought much to his country as they gained glory, control of more land and wealth. After his time spent in Italy, Napoleon left for Egypt in order to damage British trade routes, to and from India.

  1. How far can the downfall of Napoleon be explained by the continuous opposition of ...

    These events, particularly the invasion of Russia, were serious misjudgements by Napoleon that ended in his own abdication and although not the sole reason for his invasions of Spain and Russia, the desire to subdue Britain cannot be ignored as a factor.

  2. How far did Napoleon Bonaparte maintain the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality in ...

    By the end of that year, only nine remained. At the same time, the non-political journals that were encouraged by the government increased from twenty-two to thirty-eight and their subscribers from 4000 to 7000. Censoring the daily press however was not enough for Napoleon.

  1. "Mussolini was an all powerful dictator" - How accurate is this statement?

    1926 he was granted right to issue decrees with full force of law, no need for support, king or opposition parties 1928 made it that King couldn't appoint P, and had to choose from a list of candidates draw up by the fascist grand council, all who would have been

  2. Napoleon Bonaparte is considered one of the greatest military leaders of all time. ...

    In 1795 he saved the revolutionary government by dispersing an insurgent mob in Paris. In 1796 he married Jos�phine de Beauharnais, the widow of an aristocrat guillotined in the Revolution and the mother of two children. Also in 1796, Bonaparte was made commander of the French army in Italy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work