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Retreat from Moscow
1812, for over a century this remained the last word in military horror/disaster. Freezing conditions, starving troops, vehicles bogged down, equipment abandoned, discipline broke down. Grand Armee composed of different nationalities - different languages led to confusion. 611,000 troops hand entered Russia with Napoleon. Of these 400,000 died and 100,000 were taken prisoner. Grand Armee therefore disintegrated in retreat from Moscow. Nap raced home to Paris in 13 days to try to salvage situation and raise a new army.
Battle of Leipzig
In October of 1813, in wake of Russian Campaign disaster the anti-Nap forces were encouraged to regroup. German patriots encouraged. Wellington's victories in peninsular campaign and British donation of 32 million pounds between 1813 and 1815 all added to courage of anti-Nap forces. Despite Nap's new army, they were able to defeat him at the Battle of the Nations/Leipzig in 1813. Drove Nap all the way back to France. But the allies then started distrusting each other.
Metternich proposed to Nap. Suggested he could stay emperor and France keep its frontier on the Rhine. Chance in late 1813 of peace. Russians were anxious to go home. Prussians could be compensated elsewhere, but Brits not satisfied - didn't want peace being made without them and didn't want France to keep Belgium, too much access to British coastline.
Brit Foreign Minister who went to Continent in Jan of 1814 to safeguard Brit interests. Nap had rejected the Frankfurt Proposals. Fighting continued. Cast. and Mett. both concerned with Russia's power. Had to hold alliance together so in March they negotiated the Treaty of Chaument which established Quadruple Alliance(Russia, Prussia, Austria and GB).
Austrian foreign minister who worked with Castlereagh. Also concerned with Russian power. Forceful and influential diplomat. An aristocrat who hated French Revolutionary ideals of equality, democratic govts. and national states. Admired Old Regime and absolute monarchy as well as multinational empire of Austria. Was a REACTIONARY.
After Nap's abdication he pushed for restoration of Louis XVIII - thought him to be the one who would arouse the least opposition. Talleyrand went on to become Louis's minister. Amazing career - consummate politician/survivor - always managed to be on the winning side. European powers saw Louis XVIII as the least threat.
Was former Count of Provence and brother to both Louis XVI and Count of Artois. Next in line/oldest younger brother of unfortunate Bourbon who went to guillotine. Restored in 1814. Did grant VERY limited suffrage, legal equality and freedom of speech and press. So there was NOT a complete reversion to Old Regime in France. Louis XVIII was a sensible man but accompanied by return of swarm of vindictive emigres bent on "White Terror."
By the Treaty of Chaumont in March of 1814 this brought Russian, Prussia, Austria and GB together in alliance for 20 years vs. France and each agreed to provide troops to enforce the peace terms. It was the first really solid alliance of the Rev. and Nap. Wars. Three weeks later, their forces entered Paris and Napoleon abdicated at Fontainebleu.
Charter of 1814
Issued by Louis XVIII at the insistance(partly) of the liberal Tsar Alexander, but also because he HAD learned something in exile. Made NO concessions to popular sovereignty BUT would include legal equality, eligibility for public office without regard to class, and a parliamentary govt in two chambers. Recognized the Napoleonic Code, settlement with church and redistribution of property, abolition of feudalism, privileges, etc. BUT, very limited suffrage. France was now at peace.
"First" Treaty of Paris
May, 1814. Powers signed this with Bourbons. Set boundaries of 1792. No vengeance or indemnities to be paid. Napoleon was exiled to Elba. All other questions to be addressed at Congress of Vienna.
Between Sept of 1814 and 1815, the C of V met and dealt with this question, amongst many others. This was, however, a major issue. Alexander wanted reconstitution of the Polish Kingdom with himself as king but this meant Austria and Prussia would have to surrender their parts(from 3 partitions of Poland in late 1700s). Prussia was willing if it got Saxony in return. Metternich opposed because didn't want Prussia in Saxony - long border with Austria and feared increased Russian influence in eastern Europe. Metternich supported by Castlereagh who had similar concerns. Wanted more secure BoP. Talleyrand shrewdly arbitrated. Suggested in Jan of 1815 that there be a pact between GB, Fr. and Aust that they would go to war against Russia and Prussia if necessary. News of this was "leaked" and that was sufficient to force Alexander to compromise. He then agreed upon a Kingdom of Poland reduced in size. Prussia would only get part of Saxony and rest remained with Saxon king(who had been the last to abandon Napoleon).
Name given to reduced kingdom of Poland after the Polish-Saxon question settled. Alexander accepted this since he was a man of peace and due to pressure of France, GB and Austria. Lasted 15 years. Alexander was the constitutional king. Territory was same size as Duchy of Warsaw had been. Prussia also got some Rhenish territory(along Rhine). Thus center of gravity of both Prussia and Russia moving further to the west.
March 1st., 1815, while Congress of Vienna still on-going, Nap escaped from Elba and marched back toward Paris, raising an army as he went. French forces sent to stop him instead joined him. Had been increasing discontent with the restored Bourbon monarchy so Nap easily took over army and govt. Then marched northeast to Waterloo. Duke of Wellington won and Napoleon abdicated. Exiled to St. Helena in South Atlantic. Effect of 100 Days was to renew the European powers' dread of more revolutions, caused them to renew their commitment to the Quadruple Alliance, and agreed to more congresses to maintain the BoP.
Battle of Waterloo
Famous battle put end to Napoleon's Hundred Days. Nap defeated in June of 1815 by British under Duke of Wellington at Waterloo in Belgium. A Prussian force under General Blucher arrived late in the day to tip the balance against Napoleon.
Second Treaty of Paris
After Waterloo. This was more severe than the first treaty since France seemed incorrigible and unrepentant - having accepted Nap back. There were some minor changes in the frontier, and indemnity of 700 million francs was to be paid and an army of occupation was to be endured.
This was brainchild of Alexander I and involved the idea of an international order. He had been appalled by the return of Napoleon and was influenced by the pietistic Baroness von Krudener. He came up with proposal of a well-meaning but ineffectual alliance. By it the European powers were to pledge to rule by Christian principles of charity, peace and justice. All signed this EXCEPT Pope, Sultan, and Prince Regent of GB. Many thought it absurd to mix religion and politics. Actually, it came to be thought of as an UNholy alliance since hereditary rulers continued to rule their countries in repressive ways. It was, in reality, a dormant alliance. NOT to be confused with the Quadruple Alliance.
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