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Napoleon Bonaparte 3 Essay, Research Paper
Since the beginning of civilization, people have had leaders. Their leader was one whom they could look up to for guidance. With the competition for a certain land areas, a new type of leader had emerged. The leaders have now specialized in military tactics in order to conquer a landmass. Over the years, there have been many military leaders. These leaders have spanned across the globe. Many of these leaders have become famous, whether it is for their great tactics or their achievements.
Around 340 B.C., Alexander the Great was named king after his father, Philip II, had died. He had then set out to conquer the rest of the world. He had conquered the Persia city-states after a decisive battle in which he had lost only 110 men. After he had successfully marched to Egypt, his domain now extended along and beyond the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, including modern Afghanistan, and northward into Central Asia. It had taken Alexander only three years, from the spring of 330 BC to the spring of 327 BC, to master this vast area (Encarta 2000). However, his empire broke up in 323 B.C. after his death (Cultures 1993).
In the early 1200s, a Mongolian leader had achieved a great task: he conquered most of Asia. Genghis Khan s Mongolian Empire had encompassed the areas of Outer Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, upper and middle China, Tibet, and the northern fringes of Indochina. Almost one hundred years later, his grandson, Kublai Khan had conquered the remainder of lower China and established the Yuan Dynasty. However, The Mongol emperors following Kublai succumbed to the corrupt life of the Chinese court and became intrigued with the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. When disaster struck with flooding of the Huang He and severe famine in northern China during the middle decades of the 14th century, the Mongol leadership was unable to meet the governmental challenge. In 1368, while the Mongols’ Asian empire was torn by internal opposition, Mongols in China overthrown and replaced by the Ming Dynasty (Encarta 2000).
Shaka, leader of the Zulu Nation, had established a vast empire in Southern Africa during the early 1800s. Shaka had introduced new techniques to the art of war. He started to organize his army into regiments called impi and replaced there throwing spears with shorter ones that were used for stabbing. He had also developed a brilliant attack: he allowed his forces to surround the unprepared enemy, where they would then all move in and defeat his opposition. Within a relatively short time, Shaka had conquered many smaller kingdoms and united them into a single powerful nation. (Cultures 1993). However, Shaka had become mad and was killed by his half brother, which succeeded him as heir (Encarta 2000).
Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, and Shaka had successfully led their people to victory against opposing forces. Their victories had come, however, not due to their leadership of their troops, but to the fact that they were more prepared. The Mongols were great archers as well as horseback riders. The Macedonians had a long line of military tradition, and their troops were highly skilled in the arts of war (Encarta 2000). Shaka had conquered small clan after small clan. He had conquered small groups of people with his large forces (Cultures 1993).
One military leader had successfully conquered most of Europe. He was Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was not born Napoleon Bonaparte. He was born as Napoleone Buonaparte on August 15, 1769, on Corsica. He was the second child of Carlo and Letizia Buonaparte. His family was part of the Corsican-Italian nobility. His father had managed to enroll him at Brienne and the +cole Militaire, in Paris. Napoleon graduated in 1785, at the age of 16. His feat astonished many as it took most three years to complete the curriculum. After that, he joined the French Artillery and rose to the rank of second lieutenant (Cronin 1971).
After the Revolution began, he became a lieutenant colonel in the Corsican National Guard. In 1793, however, Corsica declared independence, and Napoleon, a French patriot, fled to France (Cronin 1971).
During the French war with Britain, he was assigned to an army attacking Toulon, a valuable naval base. Replacing a wounded general, he seized ground where his could drive the British fleet from the harbor. His attack was successful, and as a result, Bonaparte was promoted to general at the age of 24 (Encarta 2000).
Napoleon was in Italy, but he decided to leave his army and return to France. In Paris, he joined a conspiracy against the government (Encarta 2000). During that time, the people of France were rebelling against the government. He and his colleagues seized power and established the Consulate. Under its constitution, Napoleon had almost all the power to rule. The constitution was revised in 1804 to make Napoleon Emperor of France (Encarta 2000).
When Napoleon came to power, France was currently at war with many countries. He had sought out to either crush his enemies or make peace with them. He had battled many people to improve the welfare of France. He joined his troops on the battlefield and had instructed them in the midst of battle. Napoleon also took part in marches in order to move his troops to the strategically correct position. He was often outnumbered, but his military skill allowed him to overcome almost any enemy. His conquest and leadership made a long lasting impression on Europe. Napoleon is greatest military leader of all time.
Napoleon had failed to achieve victory at some points during his campaigns. Napoleon was forced to withdraw from Russia after a bitter cold winter that his troops were not prepared for (Epstein 1994). At Waterloo, the Allied forces, constituting of Russians, Austrians, English, and Prussians, outnumbered Napoleon s forces (Encarta 2000). During the battle, he had lost many men to the Allies. He was losing the battle until his cavalry had countered attacked the allies. By now it was clear to Napoleon that he might lose. He had tried a desperate attempt to regain the upper hand in battle, and he was successfully maneuvering his men until a large number Prussian reinforcements had arrived to stop his attack (Keegan 1976).
Napoleon had reinvented the use of artillery. Before him, the guns were part of an organized unit for the purposes of training, administration, and movements up to the beginning of a battle. During that point, the artillery units lost control over their troops as the guns were parceled out on a fixed ratio. The guns were often distributed to give fire support for the front troops. Most of the time, the regiment was left with nothing but the heavier guns massed at the center of the formation (Stevens 1965).
Napoleon had noticed that this was a mistake. He maintained control over his artillery by never breaking it down into units smaller than a six-gun battery. These batteries were given the mission of supporting a particular force. These batteries were kept intact so that all of the guns could be focused on one target. Napoleon did this so that, if it were to be required, he could move many cannons quickly to a certain point to mass their fire and increase their effectiveness (Stevens 1965).
Many generals of Napoleon s time had a different idea in how their artillery should be used. Most of them would open the battle right away with an intense bombing of the enemy (Stevens 1965). Napoleon, on the other hand, waited until the enemy was in parade type array. He would then send out his horse-drawn cannons to fire and blast gaps in enemy lines. After his successful bombing, Napoleon would send his cavalry to divide and weaken the enemy ranks (Weigley 1991).
One of Napoleon s best examples for his use of artillery was in the Battle of Lutzen. The French army had many hindrances going into battle. The French army at this time suffered from low morale after being forced to withdraw from Russia. It was also mostly comprised not of skilled veterans but of young recruits and conscripts who had almost no experience in the field of battle. The number of horses his army had was in shortage, which did not allow him to do his usual reconnaissance. During the same time, Allied troops had stumbled upon Napoleon s army. The sudden conflict led to a confusion among the battlefield. The artillery, fortunately, was a short distance away. Napoleon had ordered Ney, one of his generals, to hold his troops until the artillery came. Ney s troops were then attack by Allied forces. Napoleon, noticing that he needed that land to win the battle, sent the Imperial Guard to reinforce Ney. In a short time, Napoleon had massed all of his artillery in front of the Imperial Guard. The artillery then fired on Allies, and they soon found themselves fleeing (Stevens 1965). Napoleon s first major battle after his retreat from Russia had been a success, and his ability to mass artillery firepower quickly was the most important contributor to that success (Stevens 55 1965).
Another great skill of Napoleon was his ability to move his troops quickly to the strategically correct position. Napoleon could march a large amount of men over long distances in a relatively short time. Napoleon once said, They little know how quickly I can make 200,000 men pirouette into Germany (Cowie 139 1963). In 1805, he had discovered an Austrian army waiting for him in Bavaria. Napoleon had marched 150,000 troops 600 miles in eight weeks to Boulogne, where he then attack the Austrians in the rear, forcing them to surrender (Crowie 1963).
Napoleon had also implemented new strategies to the art of war. He sought out to not just defeat the enemy, but to annihilate them and take them out of the war (Epstein 18 1994). He also tried to move in on the enemy s rear and either force them to fight the main French army in the front or be surrounded and destroyed (Epstein 1994). Napoleon also organized his regiments unlike many other commanders. He organized his artillery in the center of his groupings. Then infantry and cavalry would either surround them. He would also split up his companies evenly (Encarta 2000). Napoleon would make groups of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. He then spread them evenly across the battlefield. The groups would often resemble a square. This new type of formation greatly increased the advantage of his troops (Cronin 1971).
Napoleon s new strategies helped him win the Battle of the Pyramids. Napoleon s forces numbered to about 20,000 men. He was forced to battle 8,000 Mamelukes and 16,000 Egyptian infantry (Encarta 2000). The Mamalukes were skilled soldiers who mostly rode on horseback. The square formation that combined both infantry and artillery had effectively held off the Mamalukes long enough so that he could deploy another division to flank it from behind. By the time the Mamalukes had reached the heavy guns, the infantry was there to stop them. The Egyptians, who had never seen such a formidable formation, panicked and ran (Cronin 1971).
Napoleon s also had success in his government as well. While ruling in Egypt, he made many schools for the Egyptians (Cronin 1971). In France the administration was reorganized, the court system was simplified, and all schools were put under centralized control. French law was standardized in the Code Napol on. It guaranteed the rights and liberties won in the Revolution. Feudalism and serfdom were abolished, and freedom of religion established. Each state was granted a constitution, providing for universal male suffrage and a parliament and containing a bill of rights. French administrative and judicial systems were required. Schools were put under centralized administration, and free public schools were made. Higher education was opened to everyone as long as they qualified. Every state had an academy or institute for the promotion of the arts and sciences (Encarta 2000).
Napoleon is greatest military leader of all time. He was often outnumbered, but his military skill allowed him to overcome almost any enemy. His conquest and leadership made a long lasting impression in France as well as the rest of the world. West Point Military Academy still teach some of his tactics and strategies. France was made a modernized country through his Code Napol on. His symbol of victory still stands in the center of Paris as the Arc de Triomph. Although he has been defeated, it took the combined might of 5 countries to beat him. In the end, his army was defeated simply because it could not replenish his numbers. Napoleon applied techniques and strategies the world had never seen before. What makes Napoleon different from other military leaders was that he was leading a country through difficult times against difficult enemies. Napoleon came to power in France and he gave the people what they needed most: a great leader.
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