Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Career of Napoleon Bonaparte

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August1769 - 5 May1821) led a colorful life. He was a bemedalled military man. His achievements were multiple and impressive. He was the general of the French Revolution. He became the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from November 11, 1799 to May 18, 1804 when they toppled the monarchy after the coup d'etat. He later became Emperor of the French (Empereur des Français) and King of Italy under the name Napoleon I from May 18, 1804 to April 6, 1814, and again for a short period between March 20 to June 22, 1815.
For a span of more than a decade, he fought practically every European power and through sheer guts and ability to use strategy effectively, he was able to gain control of most of the western and central mainland of Europe by invasion or coalition. His efforts did not go unopposed though. Not all his battles earned victory for him and France. He experienced defeat during the disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. He suffered another blow when they were defeated at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, which led to his renunciation several months later and eventually exiled to the island of Elba. He tried to do a comeback where he raised armies for a Hundred Days (les Cent Jours). His efforts were thwarted though when he was again defeated at the Battle of Waterloo or present day Belgium on June 18, 1815. After that, he surrendered to the British and was exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he passed away after six years.
Napoleon's achievement went beyond the confines of the military. He is also remembered for the establishment of the Napoleonic Code or the French civil code established at the order of Napoleon. Some people referred to him as one of the "enlightened despots”.
He was also a master of both intelligence and deception and the ability to sense when the perfect time to strike was. He won battles by focusing his forces on an unsuspicious enemy, using spies to collect reports about rival forces and by hiding his troop deployments. The Battle of Austerlitz showed his military prowess to the fore. In it we witnessed a decisive battle in which Napoleon enticed the enemy into a cautiously laid trap that enabled Napoleon to dictate the course of the battle. Napoleon went beyond traditional practices of 18th century warfare and started a new epoch in military history.
Napoleon was subjected to criticisms. Some assert that his true legacy was a loss of status for France and unnecessary sacrifice of lives:
After all, the military record is unquestioned-17 years of wars, perhaps six million Europeans dead, France bankrupt, her overseas colonies lost. And it was all such a great waste, for when the self-proclaimed tête d'armée was done, France's "losses were permanent" and she "began to slip from her position as the leading power in Europe to second-class status-that was Bonaparte's true legacy.
                                                                                         - by Paul Johnson
Nevertheless, a number of influential people in the international community such as French and American military leaders, French politicians and scholars expressed deep admiration to the many accomplishments of the emperor. His military campaigns are the object of intense lessons at military academies all over the world in our present times. He is regarded by most as one of the greatest commanders to have ever lived. Whether hero or tyrant, there was no denying that his efforts left lasting imprints on Europe centuries.

Read more:
Follow us: @bukisa on Twitter | bukisa on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment