Napoleon's Downfall in 1814 and 1815

Lily Hollowbread
Mind Map by Lily Hollowbread, updated more than 1 year ago
Lily Hollowbread
Created by Lily Hollowbread almost 6 years ago


A Levels History Mind Map on Napoleon's Downfall in 1814 and 1815, created by Lily Hollowbread on 05/06/2014.

Resource summary

Napoleon's Downfall in 1814 and 1815
1 British Opposition
1.1 Napoleon was fixated in destroying Brtiain
1.1.1 Britain declared war on France despite the Peace of Amiens 1803 due to their distrust of Napoleon agreeing to leave Egypt alone France was inept at sea battles, highlighted against the superiority of the British Navy, they kept trying to lure Britain across to the West Indies Revenue had been poured into the naval campaign but Nelson destroyed the Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar
1.1.2 Continental Blockade did more harm to France than it did to Britain
2 Continental System
2.1 France had to develop its own Iron Industry - preferring the old method of smelting to make equipment for war, the army couldn't be modernised
2.2 Pushed France into disastrous wars in order to enforce it
2.3 Counter-blockading from Britain lost France's overseas profits, meaning less revenue for war
2.3.1 Long-established linen and ship building industries were badly affected
3 Peninsular War AKA 'The Spanish Ulcer' 1808-14
3.1 After Portugal refused to join Continental Blockade, Napoleon sent Murat and an army to occupy Spain but was met with May 1808 uprising
3.1.1 100 Spaniards were executed
3.1.2 Spanish organised Juntas and Guerilla Warfare Guerilla Warfare interrupted supply lines and French soldiers couldn't live off the land, Napoleon failed to respond to this Doubts raised over Napoleon's leadership
3.2 Britain sent out forces to Spain in 1808 to help fight the French
3.2.1 Franco-Spanish attack on Portugal prompted Britain to commit forces to ally
3.2.2 Pressure was relieved off the Continental Blockade
3.3 Napoleon left Spain in 1809, leaving the War to weak, hostile Generals
3.4 Spanish resisted French forces in Battle of Baylen
3.4.1 Sparked large numbers of Spaniards to revolt against French rule Encouraged other countries to resist the regime Failed in its ultimate goal to enforce the Continental Blockade
4 Russian Campaign 1812
4.1 Russia was too large - French troops were continuously lured further into the huge land, exhausted, and with no knowledge of its size, surprise attacks were common
4.2 French soldiers had inadequate maps, poor clothing and few supplies, before they'd crossed the River Niemen, 60,000 men had already died of disease
4.2.1 Napoleon insisted on pushing on through Russia against advice Napoleon left mid winter to quash Malet's royalist uprising in Paris, leaving the Grand Armee without sufficient leadership again Only 25,000 troops survived the Russian Campaign
4.3 600,000 troops were impossibly to supply, many were untrained and badly disciplined. Described as a varied rabble from all over Europe, meaning enthusiasm and communication was low
4.3.1 Such long supply lines were prey to enemy attack by able Russians
4.3.2 Soldiers had only 4 days worth of rations in a planned 9 week war, 600,000 men couldn't live off the land, especially with the Russians burning supply dumps and torching their own towns to stop French looting French soldiers became so hungry they ate their own horses Poor roads then affected morale and their health
4.4 Battle of Borodino - bloodiest Napoleonic War with 28,000 casualties, against Kutuzov (finest Russian General), severly knocked Grand Armee and confidence in Napoleon
4.4.1 Napoleon was inferior to the careful, cunning and skilful Kutuzov
4.5 Freezing weather, ice and frostbite of the brutal Russian winter set back troops
4.5.1 Napoleon refused to stop at Smolensk for the winter
5 Waterloo Campaign
5.1 During the Hundred Days, Napoleon won back the trust and loyalty of troops and previous generals enough to cause them to defect to his side and scared the Bourbon King away from the throne
5.1.1 Despite having 70,000 more troops Napoleon couldn't organise his troops well enough to secure victory, especially with the assistance of Marshal Ney and Marshal Grouchy who failed to lead with passion or initiative Seventh Coalition drove back the French successfully so they retreated back to Paris after the Battle of Wavre 1815
5.2 The military genius of Duke of Wellington was superior to Napoleon's
5.2.1 Battle of Waterloo 1815 - Wellington repelled Imperial Guard to inflict a 75% to the French, studied Napoleon's tactics closely and plotted around them, excelled with the use of Infantry Squares by resisting 5 cavalry charges in 2 hours, learned from Napoleon's mistakes by not living off land and believed in leading by example to motivate his troops
6 Opposition in France and Europe
6.1 Constant conscription and taxation as a result of near constant war had taken its toll on the Empire
6.2 Resentment had begun to build against Napoleon as a result of the Domestic Policy and errors in his leadership so recruits were unwilling to fight
6.2.1 Nationalism had begun to form in the Empire so countries weren't concerned with defending France anymore
7 Weaknesses in Napoleon's Leadership
7.1 Napoleon's self-confidence and determination had evolved into supreme egoism, obstinacy and unwillingness to face facts
7.1.1 Napoleon had supreme control and allowed no decision making from his generals Napoleon couldn't control such a large army - he never established permanent staff to delegate responsibilities to General: "the Emperor needs neither advice nor plans of campaign...our duty is just to obey"
7.2 Failures in the Peninsular War/Russian Campaign sparked a lack of confidence in Napoleon's leadership - no trust existed in his troops
7.3 Napoleon was somewhat lost interest; displayed his his absences from battle
7.3.1 Count Mollien attributed this to a feeling of perplexity at the change in his circumstances
7.4 Napoleon's ill health affected him incredibly
8 Quality of Napoleon's Armed Forces
8.1 Quality of Napoleon's troops had declined significantly - he had fewer veterans and more raw recruits and foreigners from Satellite States
8.1.1 Battle of Wagram 1809 - communication and morale was low due to ill disciplined soldiers drawn from across the Empire, leading to many deserters
8.1.2 2/3 troops were non-French troops from annexed territories/foreign auxiliaries from Satellite States
8.1.3 Poor quality replacement troops ruined tactics of mixed infantry columns and skirmishes
8.2 Constant conscription meant the passion that had initially driven the Grand Armee was gone
8.3 The once largest army in Europe, had depleted in numbers due to heavy losses in the Russian Campaign where over 500,000 soldiers had perished and the Battle of Wagram (final victory) where 30,000 troops had died
9 Reform's of Opponents' Armies
9.1 Opponents copied Napoleon's tactics, becoming more flexible in their approach and developing artillery to match his
9.2 Enemies increased their armies to match or exceed Napoleon's
9.3 Prussia and Austria replaced old foreign mercenary armies with new national ones with new structure and equipment
9.3.1 Helped the countries capture key areas in Battle of Leipzig 1813
10 Development of Concerted Opposition
10.1 Tsar Alexander I set about forming the Fourth Coalition to bring down Napoleon; 1812 alliances Russian ~ Prussia Britain ~ Russia Britain ~ Prussia
10.1.1 1813 Napoleon agreed to an armistice to buy time but Austria then joined the Coalition Battle of Leipzig 1813 was underway, Empire fell apart leaving Napoleon with Italy, Belgium and Switzerland and an army of 60,000 laid low with typhus as he desperately tried to raise another army Allied forces had 300,000 men to Napoleon's 185,000 who quickly encircled his troops and pushed them back to the point where Napoleon called his troops back as if they'd already lost French Corporal blew up a bridge whilst French troops were still crossing it despite no threat of allied attack leaving 38,000 troops trapped in Leipzig, open to be taken prisoner Allies entered Paris in 1814 and Napoleon abdicated as Emperor at Fontainebleu, restoring the Ancien Regime frontiers of 1792 and agreeing to exile to Elba
10.1.2 Allies stuck together in Treaty of Chaumont 1814
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