Napoleon with his French Imperial Guard, Wellington with his British and Allied army. One battle ended 20 years of bloody was the british empire good or bad essay on the continent. In 1815 two men faced off in a muddy field in Belgium.
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Wellington, with his British and Allied army, and Napoleon with his French Imperial Guard. One decisive battle could end 20 years of bloody conflict on the continent. It was a showdown between two of history’s military giants. They were the same age, formidable strategists and had a string of victories behind them. By 18 June, the outcome hung in the balance and the victor would determine the fate of Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France in 1804.
To understand Waterloo, it’s important to know Napoleon had been trying to establish a European empire under his military dictatorship since 1804. The British defeated him at Trafalgar in 1805, but Napoleon went on to invade countries across Europe before being forced to abdicate. He returned to Paris in March 1815, prompting Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria to declare war. In June, Napoleon invaded Belgium, hoping to capture Brussels.
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He sent troops to fight Wellington, and led a battalion against General Blucher’s Prussian troops. Wellington’s army wasn’t defeated but Blucher retreated. The scene was set for a final, decisive battle. The positions of Wellington, Napoleon and the Prussians the night before the battle. Before the battle, Wellington stayed at a Waterloo inn while Napoleon was three miles south.
Their men slept out as rain fell throughout the night. Wellington knew success the next day rested heavily on the arrival of General Blucher and his Prussian reinforcements. They were recuperating in Wavre, 18 miles east of Waterloo. With the Prussians and Allied armies separated, Napoleon was confident he could defeat Wellington and make his way to Brussels.
His presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men. The positions of Wellington and Napoleon’s troops on the morning of June 18. Wellington established a strong defensive position, blocking the road to Brussels in order to stop Napoleon’s advance towards the capital. The farm of Papelotte was on his left, Le Haye Sainte in front and Hougoumont to his right. The combination of the incline, fields of high corn and well-placed garrisons meant Wellington had both a good vantage point and cover to shield his troops. From here he could try to hold the ground until the Prussians arrived.
He is a bad general and the English are breakfast! Napoleon with the French army at Waterloo. Napoleon’s mind was also on the terrain. It was sodden from the night’s rainfall, making it difficult to move his men and guns into position.