Sat, 9 September 2006
This episode begins with two victorious campaigns for Napoleon. The first was against the Russians and the Austrians (the Third Coalition), whom he defeated at the Battle of Austerlitz (which is considered his greatest tactical masterpiece). Then, he defeated the Prussians and Russians in the War of the Fourth Coalition at Friedland, Jena, and Eylau. However, this marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon because he four major cracks began to form within his empire: the failure of the Continental System against Britain, the prolonged guerilla uprising in Spain, the Austrian defense at the Battle of Wagram, and the failure of the long and harsh campaign into Russia.
Once Napoleon was weak, the other nations formed a Sixth Coalition which finally defeated Napoleon at the Battle of the Nations. Napoleon lost much of his army and was forced to abdicate once Paris was lost. He was exiled to Elba but later came back and formed another army during the period known as the 100 days. The 100 days ended with the Battle of Waterloo, in which the Duke of Wellington (Britain) defeated Napoleon's inexperienced army. Napoleon was once again exiled, this time to St. Helena, where he stayed until his death.
For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (February 2002): Napoleon’s Haitian Guerilla War