Important wars

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categorie: Engleza

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Third Coalition

Napoleon quickly moved against the new alliance. Since 1798 he had exerted pressure on Great Britain by keeping an army concentrated at Boulogne on the English Channel, ostensibly preparing to invade England. During the dissensions leading to the outbreak of war in 1803, Napoleon had greatly increased the French forces at Boulogne. After the formation of the Third C[...]
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Third Coalition

Napoleon quickly moved against the new alliance. Since 1798 he had exerted pressure on Great Britain by keeping an army concentrated at Boulogne on the English Channel, ostensibly preparing to invade England. During the dissensions leading to the outbreak of war in 1803, Napoleon had greatly increased the French forces at Boulogne. After the formation of the Third Coalition against France, he moved his troops from Boulogne to meet the Austrians, who, under Ferdinand III, grand duke of Tuscany, and General Karl Mack von Leiberich, had invaded Bavaria.

A number of German states, including Bavaria, Wьrttemberg, and Baden, allied themselves with France. Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Ulm, taking 23,000 prisoners, and then marched his troops along the Danube River and captured Vienna. Russian armies under General Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov and Alexander I, emperor of Russia, reinforced the Austrians, but Napoleon crushed the combined Austro-Russian forces in the Battle of Austerlitz, sometimes known as the Battle of the Three Emperors.

Austria again capitulated, signing the Treaty of Pressburg on December 26, 1805. Among the terms of this treaty was the concession by Austria to France of territory in northern Italy and to Bavaria of territory in Austria itself; in addition, Austria recognized the duchies of Wьrttemberg and Baden as kingdoms.

Confederation of the Rhine

In Italy, where French forces under Massйna had defeated the Austrians under Charles Louis John, Napoleon made his elder brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples in 1806. Elsewhere in Europe, he made his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland (the former Batavian Republic); and on July 12 he established the Confederation of the Rhine, which eventually consisted of all the states of Germany except Austria, Prussia, Brunswick, and Hessen. The formation of the Confederation put an end to the Holy Roman Empire and brought most of Germany under Napoleon's control.

His continental successes, however, were largely offset by the victory on October 21, 1805, off Cape Trafalgar, of the British under Admiral Horatio Nelson over the combined fleets of France and Spain. This victory gave Great Britain mastery of the sea throughout the remainder of the Napoleonic era. In 1806 economic warfare between Great Britain and France was initiated. Napoleon formulated his so-called Continental System, issuing decrees, in 1806 and later, forbidding British trade with all European nations. Great Britain retaliated with the Orders of Council, which in effect prohibited neutrals from trading between the ports of any nations obeying Napoleon's decrees. British mastery of the sea made it difficult for Napoleon to enforce the Continental System and resulted eventually in the failure of his economic policy for Europe.

Fourth Coalition

Before the effect of British sea power could be manifest, however, Napoleon increased his power over the Continent. In 1806 Prussia, aroused by Napoleon's growing strength in Germany, joined in a Fourth Coalition with Great Britain, Russia, and Sweden. Napoleon badly defeated the Prussians in the Battle of Jena on October 14, 1806, and captured Berlin. He then defeated the Russians in the Battle of Friedland and forced Alexander I to make peace. By the principal terms of the Treaty of Tilsit, Russia gave up its Polish possessions and became an ally of France, and Prussia was reduced to the status of a third-rate power, deprived of almost half its territory and crippled by heavy indemnity payments and severe restrictions on the size of its standing army.

Through military action against Sweden on the part of Russia and Denmark, Gustav IV Adolph of Sweden was forced to abdicate in favor of his uncle, Charles XIII, on the condition that the latter name as his heir General Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's marshals. Bernadotte became king in 1818, as Charles XIV John, founding the present royal line.
Anti-Napoleonic Nationalism

In 1808 Napoleon was master of all Europe except Russia and Great Britain, but from this time on his power began to decline. The chief reasons for this decline were the rise of a nationalistic spirit in the various defeated nations of Europe and the persistent opposition of Great Britain, which, safe from invasion because of its superior navy, never ceased to organize and subsidize new coalitions against Napoleon.

In Spain, Napoleon first encountered the nationalistic spirit that led to his downfall. In 1808, after dethroning King Charles IV of Spain, Napoleon made his brother Joseph Bonaparte king of the country. The Spanish revolted and drove Joseph out of Madrid. A violent struggle known as the Peninsular War (1808-1814) then took place between the French, intent on restoring Joseph as king, and the Spaniards, aided by British forces under Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington. The French were eventually defeated, suffering losses in manpower that severely handicapped Napoleon when he was later forced to meet new enemies in the east and north of Europe.

The first of these new enemies was Austria, which, inflamed by patriotic feeling, entered the Fifth Coalition, with Great Britain, in 1809. Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Wagram (July 1809), and inflicted on them the Treaty of Vienna, by which Austria lost Salzburg, part of Galicia, and a large part of its southern European territory. He also divorced his first wife and married the daughter of Francis II of Austria in the vain hope of keeping Austria out of further coalitions against him.
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