The Battle at Waterloo

Motivated by his desire to make France an empire in Europe, Napoleon established himself as Emperor of France in 1804. In order to make his empire the most powerful in Europe, Napoleon wished to conquer surrounding countries. Feeling threatened and ready to defend them, Britain declared war on France in 1803. For the next 12 years Britain and the Allied troops fought “Napoleonic Wars” against France. One of the most important battles of the Napoleonic War took place south of Brussels, France at what is called The Battle of Waterloo. This battle, fought by the French, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington and General Blucher, would mark the final overthrow of Napoleon and his power. It was because of Wellington’s cunning military tactics and extreme militarism that led the Allied troops to victory over the French and the change of France forever.

As European powers were gathering in Vienna to re-establish their territory in 1815, Napoleon and his troops were marching into Paris which immediately caused the Allied troops to once again declare war on Napoleon. On March 25th, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia formed the 7th Coalition and intended to attack along the French borders and attack Paris from several directions. Napoleon, in his desire to defeat the Allies, began to re-build his army for an invasion of Belgium, where Wellington and Blucher’s troops were stationed.

Wellington knew how to fight Napoleon and was able to achieve his victory successfully. Wellington was able to defeat the French army with his outstanding military tactics and because of Napoleon’s misfortunes. The first misfortune that Napoleon faced was the bad weather. Due to the wet surface grounds, the battleground was especially muddy and would not be uncommon if a horse were to fall or get stuck. Another misfortune occurred when Napoleon’s cavalry advanced on Wellington’s infantry formations while leaving his infantry behind. Wellington’s troops were arranged in squares spread out across the battle field. Each square contained hundreds of troops facing outward, as each square supported another. This method was too much for Napoleon’s cavalry to handle alone. When Napoleon attempted to make infantry formations they were overcome by the overwhelming force of Wellington’s artillery, cavalry, and infantry forces. Yet another misfortune on Napoleons behalf was the Prussian troops arriving to support Wellington before any other military could arrive. An overall cause of Napoleon’s defeat was perhaps the fact that Napoleon was aging and was becoming quite old. With his age, Napoleon had less concentration for swift military tactics has Wellington did.

In conclusion, it is clear that Wellington was able to beat Napoleon because he possessed the necessary tactics for victory. It was through Wellington’s formations, moves, anticipation and fine artillery and cavalry men that proved him and his troops worthy. Also, it was Napoleon’s misfortunes, disadvantages and poor strategies that caused his defeat. After all, Wellington’s victory exiled Napoleon out of power and Wellington occupied France to make some reform changes. Today, it is remembered as one of the most decisive and bloodiest battles in history.

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