WEBSERY 8/12 – Le Figaro Hors-SÃ © rie devotes an exceptional issue to NapolÃ © on Bonaparte. While the Emperor thinks he can easily install his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne, he unleashes the most disastrous guerrillas.
It is the very logic of the Continental Blockade which will lead Napoleon to the fault. She convinced him to intervene in Spain by substituting, without national consultation, his elder brother Joseph for the incompetent King Charles IV of Bourbon.
AT?? the origin of this intervention, the refusal of Portugal to interrupt its exchanges with Great Britain. Lisbon exports its Port wine and wheat to London and redistributes manufactured products and colonial products from England to Southern Europe.
Napoleon issued an ultimatum to the Portuguese government on September 30, 1807 and was refused. An army under the command of Junot crossed Spain from Bayonne in twenty-five days and invaded Portugal while the royal family fled to Brazil.
Napoleon then turned to Madrid. The Spanish ally is uncertain. How would he behave in the event of British military action in Portugal? The Court is a knot of intrigue. Charles IV’s son, Ferdinand, opposes his father’s favorite, Prime Minister Godoy, who is also the queen’s lover. Solicited as referee, Napoleon summons the whole family to Bayonne. There, he forced Charles IV and his son to abdicate on May 6, 1808 and replaced them with his brother Joseph, the latter leaving the throne of Naples to Murat, his brother-in-law. The ease with which he drove the Bourbons of the Two Sicilies from Naples made Napoleon believe that it was now up to him to dispose of the European thrones as he saw fit. Victim of the image of Spain in perdition that foreign travelers have peddled, he also imagines himself as the regenerator of a forgotten peninsula of the Enlightenment , and to which he proposes to bring the Civil Code. He knows from the reports of his diplomats that in Spain oppose an industrious and liberal bourgeoisie and a backward peasantry, subject to an aristocracy that has remained traditionalist. He believes these divisions rob the regime of a solid foundation. He forgot that patriotism can be a powerful mobilizing factor for peoples. He will be, against him.
From May 2, Madrid had risen: it was the famous Dos de mayo immortalized by Goya, followed by the repression of May 3. Only the bourgeoisie acquired in the Enlightenment, the afrancesados, welcomed the change of dynasty. The nobility and the clergy raise up the peasant world against the French. Napoleon must give the army to allow Joseph to enter Madrid on July 20. But, suddenly, General Dupont, who is fighting against the partisans in Bailén, is defeated on July 22, and must capitulate. AT?? barely entered, King Joseph must evacuate his capital in disaster.
The defeat of Bailén has had a huge impact in Europe. It forces Napoleon to intervene in the Iberian peninsula while the Austrians prepare their revenge on Austerlitz. The Emperor is counting on his Russian ally to keep Austria in check, but warned by Talleyrand of the unquenchable nature of his ambitions, Alexander takes his leave during the meeting in Erfurt in October. Crossing the Somosierra parade with difficulty, Napoleon nevertheless took Madrid on December 4 and followed in the footsteps of the English who had come to the aid of the insurrection. The pursuit was however interrupted by the news of a rapprochement between Talleyrand and Fouché. Worried about the future, these two are plotting. They think of Murat in case of death or failure of the Emperor.
We must come back to France, to put an end to the intrigues. However, barely back, Napoleon has to face Austria, which goes to war. After having suffered his first great defeat at Essling, he defeated his army at Wagram on July 6, 1809. The Treaty of SchÃ¶nbrunn put an end to the Fifth Coalition. Austria joins the Continental Blockade, cedes Tyrol, Western Galicia, Trieste and Dalmatia. The Emperor FranÃ§ois Ier rose to the rank of Napoleon’s allies by giving him to marry his daughter Marie-Louise (the ceremony will be celebrated in April 1810, after repudiation of JosÃ © phine). Napoleon would have to come back to Spain from then on to finish the job. But he gives up. Weariness? Lack of time ? Fear of a war he does not understand? Because it is a popular war, based on guerrilla warfare, announcing those of the twentieth century, in Vietnam, Algeria or Afghanistan, which has just been born there. It is difficult to win in this type of conflict when the adversary is supplied with arms and soldiers from the outside. Here, England is playing the role that China will have in Vietnam. The war in Spain, which did not end and where Napoleon’s marshes wore out, brought in no booty and cost in men, who would subsequently be lacking.
AT?? Sainte-HÃ © lÃ¨ne, Napoleon will recognize: “This unfortunate war has lost me. (â ?? ¦) It complicated my embarrassments, divided my forces, opened a wing for English soldiers, destroyed my morale in Europe. The Spanish insurrection also provokes, by mimicry, a reawakening of nationalities on the continent, which will soon condemn the Great Empire to collapse.
Discover on Figaro Store, Le Figaro Hors-SÃ © rie NapolÃ © on: the pope, the myth, the trial “A single man was alive then in Europe; the rest of the beings tried to fill their lungs with the air they had breathed ”. Fifteen years after Napoleon’s death, Alfred de Musset thus expressed the grandeur of the myth he had embodied. That of a strategic genius carried by an irresistible momentum, a flamboyant pope, whose brilliance and panache remain. To commemorate the bicentenary of his death, on May 5, 1821, the Figaro Hors-SÃ © rie is associated with the two major exhibitions organized at the Army Museum (the Death of the Emperor) and at the Grande Halle de la Villette (NapolÃ © on), and retraces, with the help of Napoleon’s best specialists, the incredible journey of the young Corsican Melancholy who became Emperor of all French people . Story of his life in twelve days, illustrated dictionary of the characters (wives, family, generals, ministers), decryption of the myth sifted through history: savior of the Revolution, civil and military genius, conqueror of Europeâ ?? ¦ Discover the incomparable destiny of Napoleon.
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