Napoleon - An Intimate Portrait

Who was to blame for the Napoleonic Wars?

The Napoleonic Wars proved to be a battle of Titans, pitting Europe's wealthiest, most populated, and most industrialized countries in a death struggle lasting nearly 20 years. Both sides did everything in their power to insure that their own lands did not bear the scars of war. Both sides repeatedly raised armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands, losing millions of men over the course of two decades of wars. Neither side was willing to compromise. English Prime Minister William Pitt announced to Commons on January 31, 1793, that England's war with France would be a "war to extermination."

Napoléon enthusiastically and willingly fought more than 60 battles for what he believed was the French cause. There is no question that he became increasingly callous and that his judgment failed as the years of warfare continued-one need only consider the colossal strategic blunder of invading Spain and the horrible debacle in Russia. It is difficult to determine whether the fault lies in his own ambition and self-delusion or in the unremitting pressure brought to bear by those determined to bring him down.

Images © Chalençon
A Traveling Exhibition from Russell Etling Company (c) 2011