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Napoleon became the emperor of France in 1804 after the French Revolution had taken place He was one of the greatest military and political rulers to exist Although he was great administrator he was more interested in expanding his empire As the size of the empire increased so the disputes between countries In June of 1812 he began his fatal Russian campaign that ultimately causes his defeat and the downfall of his empire Carroll Relations between Russia had been tense to begin with When Prussia and Austria fought in war against France Russia decided to take part as well Prussia and Austria were both defeated and only Russia remained The Treaty of Tilsit signed in 1807 forced a truce and ended the war between Russia and France Conditions between the two countries only worsened when Napoleon instilled the Continental System a document which forbade any European country from trading with Great Britain It was created to hurt Britains economy but also injured Russian economy Czar Alexander of Russia withdrew from the system and Napoleon was furious By this time both Russia and France had begun to prepare for the inevitable war Russias armies were scattered and Russia was only able to produce around 240000 troops Saglamer To prepare engineers began to fortify the Dvina-Dnieper river lines The Russian guard consisted of three armies General Barclay de Tolley commanded the First Army of about 130000 men His army was deployed on the northern edge of the border towards St Petersburg The Second Army was under the command of General Bagration with about 50000 troops His army was stationed in the center of Russia north of the Pripet marshes The Third Army commanded by General Tormasov with the rest of the troops was stationed in the south towards Kiev The Russian strategy was to keep retreating denying Napoleon the quick large battle he wanted They also employed the scorched earth policy which was destroying crops to deny
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