18th November 2016
Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the greatest military leaders in world history. Napoleon’s military genius allowed him to quickly climb the ranks of the French military and through a successful coup, name himself emperor. His skill as a military strategist allowed him to effectively expand the empire of France and make reforms that would leave a lasting impression on France and much of Europe.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the French occupied island of Corsica on August 15th 1769. His educated background consisted of the military college of Brienne, and finished his educated by graduating from the military academy in Paris in September of 1785 (Godechot) . Napoleon’s father died while he was in his final year of school in Paris, and before the age of 16 Napoleon had taken the role of head of the house hold.
He began his military career as second lieutenant of artillery in the French army. It was during his time with the artillery regiment that he began to read consistently on military strategy and tactics (BBC). Not long after joining the artillery regiment did Napoleon leave to return to his native island of Corsica. It was during his leave in Corsica that the French Revolution began. He would return to France and to military duty and at the age of 24 he would get his first chance to test his military skills at the battle of Toulon. Napoleon’s superior tactics and strategy drove the British out and got him promoted to brigadier general (BBC).
Napoleon success at Toulon caught the attention of Maximillian Robespierre, leader of the French government at the time. This got Napoleon a second promotion, this time to “Commandant of the artillery in the French Army of Italy” (Godechot). As commandant, Napoleon lead the French army to victories in Italy against the larger Austria army. Following his victories in Italy, Napoleon was instructed to lead an invasion of England. He knew that France lacked the naval power to invade England. So he instead chose to invade Egypt to crush Britain’s trade routes to India. While his army did defeat the Egyptian rulers, his naval fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 (Staff).
While Napoleon’s army was fighting in Egypt, there was turmoil in the French government so Napoleon left Egypt to return to France. After Robespierre death, France was under the control of the five-man Directory. On November 10, 1799 the coup d’etat overthrew the Directory and put into place a three-man Consulate in which Napoleon was named first consul (Staff). He was able to solidify his power as consult at the Battle of Marengo, where his army again defeated the Austrians in Italy (Staff).
Napoleon, now in control of France, looked to reestablish stability within France through reforms in government, religion, law, education, and the economy (Kreis). Napoleon saw the need for a strong centralized government so he united Fra...