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Napoleons Conflict with Russia Napoleon was one of the greatest military leaders of all time By 1812 Napoleon had expanded the territory of France all over Europe including Spain Italy Holland and Switzerland The countries that Napoleon did not directly control he was usually allied with The turning point of Napoleons career also came in 1812 when war broke out between France and Russia because of Alexander Is refusal to enforce the continental Even the French nation could not provide all the manpower and supplies needed to carry out the Emperors grandiose plan for subduing Russia Throughout 1811 he worked to mobilize the entire continent against Russia He not only levied the vassal kingdoms in Spain Italy and Germany but also summoned Austria and Prussia to furnish their share of men and goods Altogether Napoleon could count on nearly 700000 men of 20 nationalities of whom more than 600000 crossed the border Grown far beyond its original intended size the army was difficult to assemble and hard to feed Between Tilsit and Moscow there lay over 600 miles of hostile barren countryside Because of lack of supplies and the difficulty to feed the large army Napoleons plan was simple bring about a battle defeat the Russian army and dictate a settlement Apparently neither he nor his soldiers who cheerfully began crossing the Nieman River thought beyond the immediate goal Already 300 miles into Russia Napoleon had not yet found a way to exploit his advantage In the Emperors programming the resources necessary to achieve his objective he had anticipated fighting a battle within a month after crossing the Nieman Toward the end of that month Napoleon began to realize that events were disproving
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