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The Invasion of Russia

To be ignorant of history is to remain always a child - Cicero
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Map of Napoleon'd Invasion of Russia
a contemporaneous graph showing Napoleon's advance, the changes in the size of his army, and the variation in temperature
 
 
 
By 1812 Napoleon felt he must invade Russia. When Russia abandoned the continental system it was just a matter of time before war. Napoleon was determined to get there first and so led a huge army of 600,000 into Russia. 

Instead of giving battle, the Russians retreated, destroying everything that could be of use to the French. Napoleon had always lived off the land in his campaigns in order to forestall a supply problem. Now it was impossible. When he reached Moscow in September he found it burning. There was nothing there which could feed and house his troops for the winter.so he was forced to turn back toward home just as winter was setting in. His Grand Army ran out of supplies and soldiers died of disease and and the bitter cold of the Russian winter. They were clad only in summer uniforms. Russian troops continually attacked them as they trudged home. Only 40,000 survived the march. 

At this point, the anti-Napoleonic forces gathered together. Over the course of 1813 and early 1814, Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Russia, as well as a host of other small countries, drove Napoleon's forces back to France. This was the turning point.


Part of Napoleon: Hero or Tyrant? a HistoryWiz Exhibit

The French Revolution

The French Revolution Primary Sources

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