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22 - The Russian Campaign of 1812

from Part IV - Napoleon’s Military Campaigns in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2022

Bruno Colson
Affiliation:
Université de Namur, Belgium
Alexander Mikaberidze
Affiliation:
Louisiana State University, Shreveport
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Summary

Napoleon’s decision to invade Russia in the summer of 1812 was his last and greatest effort to secure the French imperium in continental Europe. It resulted in war on a colossal scale and produced results diametrically opposite to those the French emperor wished to attain. This six-month long campaign furnished numerous episodes of triumph and hardship, transcendent courage and wanton depravity, but it offered many military lessons as well. In the grandeur of its conception, its execution, and its abysmal end, this war had no analogy until the German invasion of the USSR in 1941. The campaign had a profound impact on political situation in Europe. Its direct result was the general uprising against Napoleon in northern Germany and the complete overthrow within one year of the French imperium in Central Europe.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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