5. Downfall, 1812–1815
- David A. Bell
‘Downfall, 1812–1815’ describes Napoleon’s catastrophic attempt to destroy Russia’s army in 1812. Despite failing to win the latest Russian war, Napoleon still controlled vast territories with unmatched human resources. The 1813 campaigns, which Napoleon fought in Germany against the Sixth Coalition came close to reversing his fortunes. But why did Napoleon and the allies not make peace? In 1814, the allies entered France forcing Napoleon to abdicate. He retired to Elba and was replaced by the Bourbon pretender, Louis XVIII. Less than a year later, Napoleon returned to seize power for a second time. Only after his defeat at Waterloo in June 1815 by Lord Wellington would his fall from power become permanent.