Napoleon forced to abdicate | World history | Khan Academy


In the last video, we saw
Napoleon’s army get decimated, especially as they tried
to retreat from Russia. The numbers I threw out in that
video as he started off were on the order of 450,000
soldiers under his command. And then when he retreated,
it was on the order of 10,000 soldiers. I just want to take a
little aside here. These numbers aren’t firm. Historians aren’t even sure
on the exact numbers. And sometimes you’ll see
accounts of 500,000 to 600,000 entering and 30,000
to 40,000 leaving. I went with these numbers just
because on Minard’s map, these were pretty close to
those numbers. Right here he has 422,000. Leaving he has 10,000
right there. But I just want to make sure you
realize that these aren’t exact numbers. And depending on, I guess, how
you account for his troops, whether you’re talking about
troops directly under Napoleon’s command, whether
they are troops that are directly involved in the
offensive invasion of Russia. Or they’re just troops that
are maybe supporting it. You’re going to get
different numbers. And depending on whether you
view troops and how you count the casualties. So it’s all about
how you count. But needless to say, the
French grand army was decimated after invading
Russia. And I even told you, at the end
of the last video, that after that, the rest of Europe,
these other countries that kept forming and reforming
coalitions against Napoleon, began to
smell blood. So you can already view the
invasion of Russia as the beginning of the Sixth
Coalition. You already had Great Britain. Great Britain throughout this
entire time period, throughout the Napoleonic Wars, and even
during the French Revolution, was in a constant state of war
with the French and Napoleon. Obviously, you have Russia now
is also a belligerent, is also an antagonist against
Napoleon. Just because he retreated
doesn’t mean the war with Russia is over. Prussia had been humiliated
multiple times by Napoleon. And now they jump on the
bandwagon after hearing about Napoleon getting decimated. And so they, a combined Russian
and Prussian forces, engage Napoleon. But as much as Napoleon’s forces
seem to have gotten decimated– So if you look at that Minard
map up here that we went over in some detail in the last
video, that covers right here. The invasion of Russia started
right about here, and it went right about in that direction
right there. So Napoleon, he’s now
retreating back. You might say, gee, he
only has 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 troops. That’s nothing. He’s just going to be put out
very quickly by the combined allied forces. But Napoleon, as we kind of say,
regardless of what you think of him as a person,
he was no dummy. And he was good at
raising forces. And he was a very, very, very
good military tactition. He was very quickly able to
raise, to take his 30,000 soldier army, get
it to 130,000. And eventually he’s able
to get it to 400,000. Although this force right here,
it’s not going to be the same quality of 400,000 as the
400,000 that he might have had, say, entering the
Russian campaign. And there were other
troops also that were allied with Napoleon. German troops from the
Confederacy of the Rhine that were sympathetic to
the French Empire. But once again, they weren’t
as disciplined or under as direct control of Napoleon. But, it’s needless to say, he
was able to very quickly get up to some reasonable force that
could maybe withstand a Sixth Coalition. But the Sixth Coalition
was much larger. It’s on the order of, depending
on the account you look at, they amassed forces
mainly in what’s now Germany– but at that time, the
Confederation of the Rhine. And before that, the Holy Roman
Empire– of on the order of 1 million troops. Not $1 million. One million soldiers. So even though Napoleon was able
to raise a force, he was still out numbered in what’s now
Germany, or the Germanic kingdoms. He was still out
numbered by a factor of 2:1. But despite that, the first
several engagements with the combined Russian and Prussian
army, Napoleon was victorious. Or I shouldn’t say victorious,
because that implies too much. He won those battles. And these are at Lutzen,
at Bautzen. And then at Dresden, he had a
very significant victory. And these are all right about
here, just so you have a sense of the geography. You can actually see Dresden
on the map there. And after these defeats, the
Coalition said gee, this Napoleon character, even though
we outnumber him, even though he had to kind of very
quickly get these troops, he’s a really good military
tactition. And he’s still kind of kicking
our butt on the battlefield. They then issued what’s called
the– let me write this down–the Trachtenberg Plan. Although it’s not clear that
they really had to. The Trachtenberg Plan, which
essentially says, try not to engage forces that Napoleon
is in command of directly. Try to engage his people
that Napoleon has had to delegate to. His marshalls, the
other generals. So don’t engage Napoleon. One day I’d like to make more
detailed videos on the actual kind of– you have to say– the
actual genius of Napoleon on the battlefield. And go battle by battle and
see why people consider Napoleon to be a great
military commander. But his enemies definitely
appreciated the fact that, despite being outnumbered, he
was very tricky and very wily, and was always able
to kind of snatch victory from the defeat. So they had this plan, let’s
just not engage Napoleon. We have so many troops, let’s
just try to incur losses on the French on other commanders
other than Napoleon. But needless to say, they hugely
outnumbered the French. All of the fighting was
going on in this general area at the time. And at Leipzig, and just so
you get a sense of time. Remember, the invasion of Russia
was at the end of 18– So let me write this down. So the Russian invasion– let
me do this in another color. Do it right here. So the Russian invasion, that
was at the end of 1812. That was really kind of the
beginning of winter in 1812 that really decimated
Napoleon’s troops. Then we go to 1813, you’re
looking at Lutzen and Bautzen. That’s in May of 1813. So after that winter, that gave
Napoleon some time to get his troops together. And things happened slower
this day and age. People didn’t have perfect
intelligence in terms of what was going on in the
battlefield. And it actually took time for
just information to travel, and for armies to travel. They were traveling mainly
on foot at that time. And then August 1813, you had
Napoleon’s significant victory at Dresden. But then finally, 1813, in
October– and at this point the Coalition had convinced
Austria to also join in. So this is kind of the
ultimate coalition. If you look at most of the
coalitions, they seldom had bold Austria and Prussia and
Russia and all of these guys. But now they’re all piling on. So now you have Austria. Austria is part of
the Coalition. And Sweden. And of course, you can’t forget
what’s happening in the Iberian Peninsula. You have all of the rebels
in Spain and Portugal. So you pretty much have every
major power in Europe is now allied against Napoleon. And in October of 1813,
especially the Austrians, Prussians, and Russians, they
meet him at Leipzig. Which is right over here. And at Leipzig, they
outnumber him 2:1. And they were able to
take care of him and force him to retreat. So then Leipzig happens, first
really major defeat. This is actually an image of
the Battle of Leipzig. They call it the Battle
of the Nations. Because so many belligerents
were involved in this battle. People estimate that there were 600,000 soldiers involved. 400,000 thousand on the side
of the Sixth Coalition. 200,000 on the side
of Napoleon. And they estimate on the order
of a 100,000 dead or wounded. So this was a major, major,
super bloody battle. And it forced Napoleon
to retreat. So he had to retreat
from Russia before. And now he’s retreating from
the Confederation of the Rhine, Which was essentially
French-controlled territory. So Napoleon is really
on his heels. He now is going to
defend France. And now remember, at the same
time as this, you had that you had all this stuff going
on in the peninsula. You had Arthur Wellesley. You remember him right here. He’s the British general
leading, you could view them as the rebels in Spain
and Portugal. At the end of 1813, he’s winning
a series of victories against the French. And he’s pushing into France. This is the Pyrenees Mountains
right here. He’s crossing, he’s winning
a series of battles in the Pyrenees. And then in a last-ditch effort,
Napoleon once again, he’s hugely outnumbered. He engages his enemies in
battles in northeast France, right around that area. And there’s actually a period,
there’s this six day campaign. And this now, we are in 1814. So Leipzig was at
the end of 1813. He retreats. Now we’re in 1814. And at the beginning of 1814 in
February, you have the Six Day Campaign. And this was kind of Napoleon’s
final shot at really showing his
military genius. Despite the fact that he was
hugely outnumbered, there were four significant battles where
he was essentially able to, at least in those battles, route
the Coalition, despite being hugely outnumbered. So he kept showing his
military genius. But at some point, the numbers
just became overwhelming. And the French troops just
couldn’t handle the Coalition, especially after being
decimated in Russia. And then losing significant
troops even in some of their victories in what is now
Germany, or the Confederation of the Rhine then. And then the allies, the
Coalition, eventually in March of 1814, the Sixth Coalition,
marches into Paris. And this right here is an image
of the Russians marching into Paris, around
March of 1814. But Napoleon didn’t
want to give up. In April Napoleon is telling
his generals, let’s go retake Paris. But finally, the generals are
ready to give up on Napoleon, and they refused
to follow him. And then Napoleon says hey,
then I’m going to tell the troops to follow me. And they’re like, well you could
try, but they’re not going to follow you. So they essentially don’t agree
to do anything that Napoleon wants. Forcing Napoleon, and it was
going to happen one way or the other, this way was
just less bloody. In April of 1814– super
important time in history– Napoleon is forced
to abdicate. And not only does he abdicate–
maybe I’ll do a future video on it– but he also
has to rescind any claim that any of his son or any of
his future– not the word ancestors, what’s the opposite
of ancestors? Descendants, any of his future
descendants might have claim as Emperor of France
or King of France. So he’s forced to abdicate. Super important time, 1814. So if you think about
when Napoleon ruled. Remember, he was able to take
power at the end of 1799. So it’s been on the order of 13
or 14 years where Napoleon has just been the absolute
ruler of France. And has been able to really
kind of wreak a lot of havoc on Europe. And now, it all comes
to an end. And we’ll see, it’s kind
of temporary now. But we’re getting near the end
of hearing about Napoleon. They force them to abdicate by
the Treaty of Fontainebleau. And they exile him to Elba. So this is– just so you know
where Elba is– a little island off the Italian
coast right here. This is where Napoleon
was forced to stay. Doesn’t seem like that
bad of a place. And they actually let him keep
the title of Emperor. And they allowed him
to rule over Elba. And he was actually able to
do something reasonably constructive things
with the island. You’re going to see he leaves
the island very shortly. But it wasn’t that bad. In modern days, if someone was
indirectly responsible, or directly responsible, for
butchering millions of your civilians or soldiers, you
wouldn’t send him to a place with a nice climate and give
him a nice house like this. And allow them actually
rule over the island. But I think at this time, all
of these generals and kings, they all viewed each
other as gentlemen. And they never wanted to be
too vicious to each other, just in case things
were to come back around to them, I guess. But he got exiled to Elba in, as
I just said, April of 1814. And then, the Coalition, we’ll
talk more about this, they put Louis XVI– you remember Louis
XVI, with the whole French Revolution and the
Estates-General– they put his younger brother, they restore
him to the crown. This is right here
is Louis XVIII. This is Louis XVI’s
younger brother. They make him King of France. So after all that business about
the French Revolution, and then Napoleon comes to
power, and all the Rights of Man and all that. When everything is said
and done, they put a king back in power. This guy, with the satin
robes again. Doesn’t look too different
than his older brother. And just in case you’re
wondering, hid older brother is Louis XVI. He’s Louis XVIII. Who was Louis XVII? This is Louis XVII. Right here. This is Louis XVI’s son, he was
actually next in line to the thrown before his uncle,
or Louis XVI’s younger brother, Louis XVIII. But he died while he
was in prison. If you were a Royalist, you
would have considered him king after the beheading, the
decapitation of his dad. And actually, there’s a hugely
fascinating story here where people say that he
died in 1795. But many, many people think that
he escaped and was able to live a normal life. And who knows what? But needless to say, he wasn’t
anywhere to be found. So they made Louis XVIII– Louis
XVI’s younger brother– King of France. But, we’re going to see,
this isn’t the last we hear of Napoleon.

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