Napoleon in Russa (Defeat) (jun 24, 1812 – dec 14, 1812)
People/groups involved: Napoleon and French Army, Alexander I and Russian Army, Russia
Description: Angry that Russia refused to stop training with Britain, Napoleon decided to invade Russia. However, Russian Czar Alexander I refused to engage in combat. Instead, they retreated most of time when the French army drew close and used scorched-earth tactics to keep the French from getting resources. When they did engage in combat, France usually won, but the Russians always retreated quickly, burning everything they left behind. France won at the Battle of Borodino, but when they reached Moscow, the city was in flames. After waiting for a nonexistent peace offer for a month, Napoleon decided to retreat to Poland, but it was already winter and many more of his soldiers died. The Russians took advantage of their situation and attacked them from behind, killing more soldiers and successfully driving the French out of their land.
Why it matters: This defeat dealt a great blow to the power of France and Napoleon. Soon afterward, French allies Austria and Prussia broke off their alliances and joined with Russia. It was also one of Napoleon's bloodiest campaigns. It directly led to the Battle of Leipzig, which resulted in Napoleon's forced abdication and exile to Elba.
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