The various conflicts can be summed up as "France and whoever they'd conquered at the time vs. everybody else in Europe." The early years overlap somewhat with the latest wars of The French Revolution, especially in the case of Great Britain, which was almost continuously at war with France from 1793 until 1815.
Leopold didn't bite, but he did send a warning to France that he would intervene if the royal family was harmed. This is partly because King Louis XVI's wife, Marie Antoinette, was his sister. He moved the Imperial armies to the border of France. The revolutionaries, already incensed by his warning, demanded that he withdraw his forces from France's borders. When he refused to do so, France declared war on him.
This had the unfortunate result in bringing nearly the entire continent to war with France. Political intermarriage had resulted in the continent being ruled by a small handful of dynasties. Not only that, but the monarchies of Europe were terrified of the revolutionary fervor gripping France, and sought to contain their liberal ideals lest they be deposed. Leopold II was not only the ruler of Austria, but he was also the king of Hungary and controlled Czechia and much of the Balkans. He also controlled the Netherlands. As Holy Roman Emperor, his dominion theoretically extended over the rest of the Holy Roman Empire, which mostly consisted of Germany and Northern Italy. One of the most powerful German states, Prussia, joined Leopold. King George III of Great Britain also intervened, in part because, as the elector of Hannover, he was also a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Not only was France fighting these powers, but they were also facing an internal war against counter-revolutionaries, who were supported by Britain. It was against these rebels that Napoleon would first make a name for himself, when his tactics helped the revolutionaries capture the city of Toulon.
The actual course of the war itself saw France score numerous victories in Northern Italy, largely spearheaded by Napoleon Bonaparte, who was quickly rising through the ranks with every success. The French made a few attempts to cross the Rhine and invade Germany proper, but each time they were repulsed. The French successfully invaded the Netherlands and managed to incite the Dutch into rebellion. The Dutch rebels created the Batavian Republic and fought alongside the French.note There was an attempt by the French to invade Ireland and support a rebellion against the British, but it was foiled by foul weather.
In August of 1792, Louis XVI was arrested and deposed, and the French Republic was born. In the beginning of 1793, Louis XVI and his wife were executed. Spain and Portugal entered into the war against France. Spain was ruled by the Bourbon dynasty, of which the French king Louis XVI was a member. They also had dominion over Naples and Sicily. Portugal was a British ally note and also sought to contain France, so they also intervened. Spain promptly dropped out of the war 2 years later, after the French decisively defeated them and came close to taking their capital. In 1797, Napoleon conquered Northern Italy and left the way to Vienna open, forcing Leopold II to capitulate. Beyond the strategic brilliance of France's leaders, their success also came from their mass conscription system. While Leopold II struggled with a dated bureaucracy that limited his military options (and often resulted in unqualified military leaders due to nepotism), the French used a meritocracy for their officers that rewarded success, and were able to conscript far more men than the enemy could kill. Even when surrounded on all sides, France still fought the rest of the continent to a standstill. The subsequent treaty would see France's borders and sphere of influence increase dramatically. This would result in some anti-French rebellions in the occupied territory, mostly as a result of their conscription policies.
Britain remained at war with France, and it was in this atmosphere that Napoleon made an ill-advised attempt at invading Egypt. Supposedly he aimed to cut off Britain from their colonies in South Asia, but really the invasion was for him to stroke his ego and satisfy his fascination with Alexander the Great. The invasion of Egypt resulted in many tactical victories for France on land, but the destruction of the French fleet at Aboukir would have disastrous consequences for France later down the line, making the expedition a strategic failure. The French also failed to achieve the popular support that they had gotten in the Netherlands, as despite their efforts, they always seemed as hostile foreign occupiers to the Egyptians.
In 1798, France seized both Switzerland and the Papacy, installing friendly republican regimes in both. It was clear to Austria that France did not have peaceful intentions, and the French were suspicious of Austria, expecting them to betray the armistice. Ultimately, this resulted in the outbreak of another war in 1799, when Britain and Austria allied with Russia in the Second Coalition.
That year, Napoleon returned from Egypt. He was aware of the dire position France was in, and had become increasingly disdainful of the Directory, a oligarchic group that effectively ran the country. His successes in Italy and Egypt had gained him an immense amount of support, and with that support, he was able to coup the Directory and install himself as "First Consul," effectively becoming the dictator of France. He proved to be better respected than the Directory was, however, and often ruled with some form of popular support behind him.
Napoleon went to Northern Italy to conquer the defiant portions, while his other generals attacked once more across the Rhine, with more success. In 1800, they were able to defeat the Austrians and march straight through Bavaria, once again putting Vienna in danger and forcing Leopold II to sue for peace. The next year, the French forces in Egypt, with their supply situation dire and the local populace becoming increasingly hostile, surrendered. However, the French continued to win in Europe. Austria signed the Treaty of Luneville and Russia was no longer persecuting the war, leaving Britain the sole remaining enemy of France once more. The British blockaded France and most of the continent in an effort to starve out the French, resulting in most continental nations switching sides in an effort to resume shipping. The superior British fleet would defeat their efforts to break the blockade, however.
The war was a stalemate. Napoleon could not invade Britain, at least not yet, but Britain could not invade France. Both sides recognized the situation and negotiated a peace at the Treaty of Amiens, ending the Revolutionary Wars. France had effectively won, having not only defended the new revolutionary government, but also acquiring more land and puppet states. However, the monarchies of Europe were ever restless, and Napoleon grew more ambitious. It was clear peace would not last, and Europe's nightmare was just beginning.
The Royal Navy continued to rule the seas, and Napoleon was not without opposition at home. Numerous assassination plots, both real and imagined, spurred Napoleon into centralizing power. Napoleon believed that the source of the plots was the Bourbon dynasty, who were believed to be conspiring with loyalists to overthrow Napoleon. He violated the sovereignty of Baden to kidnap its the Duke of Enghein, a Bourbon, and executed him extra-judicially, which greatly angered the other states of Europe. Then, in 1804, Napoleon centralized the Republic into an Empire, crowning himself Emperor that December.
Britain was able to ally with Russia in 1805. Not long afterwards, Napoleon crowned himself the King of Italy, ending the rule of the puppet Republic of Italy and angering Austria, which joined Britain and Russia. This alliance became known as the Third Coalition.
The two most decisive and interesting parts of the War of the Third Coalition were the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Austerlitz. In the former, the British fleet intercepted the combined Franco-Spanish fleetnote in the Western Mediterranean. The battle was one of the most important of the wars, because it ended Napoleon's plans for invading Britain. Although it cost the life of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the battle secured British dominance over the seas.
The Battle of Austerlitz has long been considered Napoleon's magnum opus. In 1805, the Austrians were once again losing the war, with one large army humiliatingly defeated in Ulm (resulting in the capture of 60,000 men) and Vienna occupied by Napoleon's force. A combined Russo-Austrian army marched to retake the capital. Napoleon defeated the force and ended the Third Coalition, with Austria coming to terms. In 1806, Austria was forced to cede Venetia to the French puppet kingdom of Italy, and the reigning Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, abdicated the throne. Napoleon dismantled the Holy Roman Empire and replaced it with the Confederation of the Rhine, which included most France-aligned states in Germany.
The Coalition was effectively reorganized, with Prussia now intervening alongside Sweden, Saxony, and the British and Russians, who had not actually ceased fighting. The Fourth Coalition promised to be the most ambitious yet, as both Sweden and Prussia had some great martial fame of their own. Despite this, Prussia was easily defeated in less than a month. The Prussian army, once renowned for its performance during the wars of the previous century, was badly outmaneuvered and devastated at the Battle of Jena and even more embarrassingly so at the Battle of Auerstadt where Marshal Davout fought them off with a single corp. Napoleon would later famously say at the grave of Frederick the Great, "If he were still alive today, we wouldn't be here."
Napoleon managed to convince the Ottomans to ally with him, but this ended in disaster when the Russians defeated them on land and sea. Napoleon continued his advance, now entering Russian-occupied Poland. He was able to defeat the Russians in several key battles, forcing Russia to come to terms. The Fourth Coalition had already lost most of its key members.
That same year, Napoleon instituted the Continental System, which forced the states of Europe to cease all trade with Britain. The system was an infamous failure, with many goods being traded through Spain and Russia despite Napoleon's wishes.
Britain was continuing the war overseas, primarily against France's ally, Spain. They attempted to take over Rio de Plata (now known as Argentina) with mixed results. In Europe, the Royal Fleet preempted an attempt to turn over the Danish fleet to the French by attacking it in harbor at Copenhagen. While this brought Denmark into the war against Britain, it also kept their ships from being used by Napoleon, which was strategically far more important.
By 1807, Napoleon had practically reached his peak. Although he had lost the war at sea and was losing the war abroad, the war on the continent was decisively in his favor. Former enemies, such as Russia, Austria, and Prussia, were all forced to submit to France's hegemony, and Napoleon's rule over the continent was largely unquestioned. He had established numerous loyal states, such as Westphalia, the Confederation of the Rhine, and the Duchy of Warsaw. Some historians claim that Napoleon wished to stop here, but the actions of his enemies drew him in to further conflict.
But one enemy remained. Britain, protected by the seas and the Royal Navy, still stood, with a vast overseas empire. The blockade of France presented many economic difficulties, and the Continental System only exacerbated them, hurting France far more than Britain. Napoleon's attempts to enforce the Continental System and cut off Britain would eventually become his undoing.
Although Spain had been France's ally for over a decade, the relationship was not great. The public was bitterly divided over French hegemony, as was the monarchy. Napoleon no longer trusted the Spanish, and had little use for them with their fleet in shambles and Portugal having capitulated. Still, before Napoleon could make his move, the people of Madrid rebelled against the French on the 2nd of May, 1808. The French violently suppressed the rebellion and executed hundreds, which incited the population of Spain into a much larger rebellion. Napoleon's attempt to install his brother as King of Spain also met with hostility, and before long, the situation was spiraling out of control. Spanish guerrillas note started making uncoordinated attacks on the French. The French were absolutely brutal, carrying out reprisal attacks and killing entire villages. Throughout the summer, the Spanish engaged in a series of battles that managed to wrestle control of most of the Iberian Peninsula. During this time, a shock defeat was inflicted upon a French army at Bailen which consequently raised hopes across Europe that the all-powerful French army could be beaten. The British also deployed tens of thousands of men to the Peninsula, seeing this as a great opportunity to wreak havoc in Napoleon's backyard. Napoleon raised an army and personally led them into Spain, swiftly defeating the numerically superior Spanish forces and driving the British off the Iberian Peninsula.
The Spanish would reorganize and continue fighting French forces for years, but Napoleon returned to France to prepare for the War of the Fifth Coalition. The Fifth Coalition was yet another attempt by Britain and Austria to subdue Napoleon. The British tried far more extensively than before to support their continental ally, sending forces to attempt to aid the Austrians, to no avail. Meanwhile, they sent another expedition to Spain, led by the later Duke of Wellington, who saw more success than his predecessors by helping to liberate Portugal.
The Austrians had been initially successful against the French, pushing into Bavaria. However, Napoleon, to nobody's surprise, was able to halt their offensive and send them reeling after personally taking command of the armies in Germany. However, the French Army was about to be subjected to yet another surprise defeat. At the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Archduke Charles successfully repelled Napoleon's attempts to cross the Danube and during the battle, Marshal Lannes, one of Napoleon's best marshals and personal friend, was killed by a cannonball. In the end though, Napoleon was able to subdue the Austrians once more at the battle of Wagram, ending the War of the Fifth Coalition bloodily.
By 1810, the French Empire had reached its greatest extent, with its personal territory and satellite states controlling nearly the entire continent of Europe, sans Portugal, Sardinia, and Russia. Abroad, the Spanish Empire was collapsing after Napoleon's brother took the throne, with rebellions starting in Latin America that would eventually win the Latin American nations their independence. Meanwhile, the war in Iberia was tying down thousands of French soldiers. The French attempt to invade Portugal was repulsed, and the Anglo-Portuguese forces advanced into Spain. Over the course of the next two years, Joseph Bonaparte's regime would unravel, as his forces suffered disastrous defeats and Badajoz and Salamanca.
However, Napoleon was not satisfied with Russia, which was making little to no effort to enforce the Continental System. Even though the Russians had helped Napoleon fight the Swedes and British, he did not fully trust them, and the Russians felt the same. In an effort to bring Russia to heel, Napoleon invaded in the summer of 1812.
Napoleon marched out to meet Kutuzov's forces. However, winter was beginning to set in, causing even more strain on the dire supply situation. Napoleon's forces were starving, and eventually began freezing in the cold. Russian insurgents waged guerrilla attacks on Napoleon's forces, costing them dearly. With the Grand Army being whittled down by the elements, Napoleon started to suffer defeats. The French were forced to make the long march out of Russia, being hounded by the Russians the entire way.
The results were staggering. Almost half a million French and French-aligned soldiers were killed or captured in the campaign, and it proved to be the first decisive loss for the French. By the end of 1812, the Grand Army was all but destroyed, Napoleon had abandoned his position and returned to Paris to prepare for the inevitable counter-attack, and the French had completely abandoned Russian soil.
Napoleon's disastrous defeat brought many of his old enemies into the Sixth Coalition against him. Over the course of 1813, Sweden, Prussia, Austria, and many German principalities would switch sides, seeing an opportunity to defeat Napoleon. It would not be easy. Although the French were defeated in Spain by the Anglo-Portuguese forces, Napoleon was able to hold off the Coalition in Germany for some time.
But all things must pass, and Napoleon's successes had to end eventually. France was becoming politically isolated as they suffered defeats in Iberia and Italy, and lost many of their German allies to the Coalition. They were also running out of manpower, as the 2 decades of war were depleting France of its young men. The Coalition forces numbered over twice that of Napoleon's, and his troops were becoming less reliable and of poorer quality. He still managed to secure some fine victories in Saxony, but the end was near. On the 16th of October, 1813, Napoleon's forces clashed with that of the Coalition in Leipzig. The battle was immense and hard fought, but the French and their allies were badly outnumbered. Midway through the battle, most of the French-aligned Germans defected to the Coalition, further reducing Napoleon's chances for success. Despite his amazing generalship and tactical brilliance, Napoleon failed to win the battle, and suffered one of the most decisive defeats of his career. The Battle of Nations, as it became known, ultimately marked Napoleon's defeat.
Down, but not out, Napoleon retreated to France and organized its defense. He was able to win victory after victory against the invading Coalition, but he was simply overwhelmed by the massive Coalition numbers and had no way from actually winning the war. With the situation being utterly hopeless, Napoleon abdicated the throne of France on April 6th of 1814. The Allies exiled him to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, and began literally drawing up the plans for a post-war Europe at the Congress of Vienna.
Napoleon slipped aboard a French ship and escaped back to France. News of his return signaled a popular uprising, and the French flocked to his banner by the thousands. Famously, when confronted by Royalist forces, Napoleon stepped in front of their rifles and proclaimed "If anyone wishes to shoot his Emperor, here I am!" As with many other French soldiers, they defected to his cause. Louis XVIII abandoned the capital, and Napoleon entered Paris to the cheers of a massive crowd.
Napoleon's return was poorly received by the Coalition. Napoleon had hoped that perhaps France could achieve a peaceful resolution, but he was practical enough to know that the Coalition would never allow it. He raised a force of nearly 200,000 in preparation for the Coalition invasion, which came when the Seventh Coalition declared war on him on the 13th of March, 1815.
The Coalition forces began mobilizing, but it would be months before they could be ready for a combined offensive. The British and Prussians, still hot off the heels of their invasion of France in 1814, had thousands of men ready to invade, but the Austrians and Russians needed to marshal out new armies and march westward first, which would cost the allies time. Napoleon knew that, just as in 1814, he would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers if he allowed the Coalition to form a unified army. He chose to preempt them by striking against Coalition forces in the Low Countries.
Napoleon's forces successfully kept the British and Prussian forces in Belgium split up. He planned to defeat both armies in detail, engaging and destroying each before the other could react. At the battle of Ligny, Blucher's Prussians were forced to retreat but while this was going on, Marshal Ney was hesitating to attack the outnumbered British at the battle of Quartre Bras, which proved crucial to the veteran of the Peninsular War, the Duke of Wellington, who had enough time to relocate his troops to the more defensible position at Belgian village of Waterloo. Victorious, Napoleon turned to engage the British at Waterloo. The British, outnumbered alongside their Dutch and German allies, held off successive attacks by the French forces, including extensive artillery bombardment, but took brutal casualties from close range artillery fire into infantry squares (which the British infantry had been forced into by the presence of the French cavalry). However, the supposedly withdrawing Prussians unexpectedly arrived, and serve as the hammer to the British anvil by smashing into the French flanks and driving them from the field. The Prussians had managed to rally just days before and outwitted French attempts to pursue them, allowing them to retreat in good order, regroup, and march to Wellington's aid.
Napoleon relinquished control of the Army of the North and returned to Paris, hoping to rally more troops to oppose the invading Coalition forces. However, his decisive defeat had dampened the spirits of his supporters and emboldened the royalists, and ultimately he was forced to abdicate. The victorious Anglo-Prussian forces entered Paris not long after, signalling the end of the Hundred Days, and of the Napoleonic Wars.
Napoleon surrendered to a British squadron, as he was now an outlaw and couldn't safely remain in France.
The ramifications of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the ensuing Congress of Vienna are immense. Although the borders of Europe were mostly restored to status quo antebellum, the Prussians gained control over parts of Western Germany and solidified themselves as a Great Power. Although the Holy Roman Empire had been disbanded, a new German confederation was formed to effectively restore its (fairly limited) powers to the Austrian crown. Poland was annexed by Russia (although the Poles fought a rebellion to maintain their independence, but were overwhelmed by Russian numbers). Overseas, the Spanish Empire fell apart as almost all of Latin America secured its own independence. The North American territories of France now belonged to the United States, which had doubled in size, and the slaves of Haiti had risen up to create their own nation.
However, the greatest effects of the wars are not seen in border changes, but through how it affected the political landscape of Europe. The Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars created the modern political landscape of the Western World. Napoleon, although best remembered as a military tactician, was also a shrewd politician. The Napoleonic Law Code was incredibly influential in establishing modern legal codes throughout Europe, and even in the Middle East. His conquest and reorganization of Italy and most of Germany had also inspired nationalists. These nationalist ideals would become an important part of Europe's political landscape, leading to attempted revolutions in Central Europe in the 1840s, and eventually the creation of Germany and Italy in the 1860s and 70s.
In response to Revolutionary ideals and Napoleon's policies, politicians such as Klemens von Metternich would go on to codify modern conservatism. Meanwhile, Napoleon's conquests had spread the Revolutionary ideals of liberalism across Europe. The role of the Catholic Church had been forever diminished, with it taking on the far more minimal role it occupies today. It also produced the concept of the "balance of power" in Europe, which was the belief that no one state could become too powerful on the continent, lest the Napoleonic Wars be recreated.
The wars were also the largest and deadliest of their time, with the only larger conflicts being seen in China. Millions had perished over the two decades of almost endless war. The wars were so immense that they were usually referred to as the Great War, until World War One stole that spot. There were also numerous other conflicts that spun off of, or were precipitated by, the Napoleonic Wars. Those are listed below.
There were a number of wars going on concurrently that often interacted with the Napoleonic Wars proper:
- The Quasi-War or Franco-American War (1798-1800): An undeclared naval war resulting from French anger because of America's sensible (or ungrateful?) neutrality during the War of the First Coalition.
- Put an end to the French privateering against US shipping that had been going on since 1797.
- Irish rebellions (1796-1798; 1803): Attempts by French-aided Irish nationalists to overthrow British rule and establish an independent Kingdom/Republic of Ireland. The French sent an army and fleet in 1796 but were unable to land thanks to the weather. Two years later open rebellion broke out but the French arrived too late and in too small numbers properly aid the nationalist rebels, who were suppressed by the army. The Irish Rebellion was highly bloody, the conservative estimate is 10,000 people killed but others believe it to be 30,000 to 50,000. In 1803 the nationalists made a final attempt (this time without French aid) but they were reported, tried for conspiracy to commit treason, found guilty by the jury and sentenced to death.
- In the earlier rebellions, many of the Irish nationalist leaders were Protestants under the influence of the Enlightenment while the Church being hostile to the Revolution, supported the British. After the first attempt, however, the British government had some success convincing Irish Protestants that the French-backed rebels were leading a Catholic plot to subjugate the island, which threw something of a spanner into the works. The rebellion, the suppression of which was aided by Scottish volunteer units, also acted as midwife to the rise of Orange Lodges and other Loyalist organisations. The rebellions also hastened the passage of the Acts of Union in 1800 and brought Catholic Emancipation to the forefront of the discourse at Westminster, although to be realized it had to wait until the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 during the first premiership of the Duke of Wellington.
- The Spithead and Nore mutinies in the British Royal Navy (1797)
- French interventions in Switzerland: Conflicts between conservatives and progressives in the Swiss Confederation are decided according to French interests by invading armies. Switzerland thus is transformed into the centralist Helvetic Republic in 1798 and into a more federalist protectorate under the "Mediator" Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803.
- The interventions were largely motivated by French security and financial needs. The Egyptian expedition of 1798 for instance was financed by funds seized in Berne.
- The War of Oranges (20 May to 9 June, 1801): France's ally Spain invades Portugal in a campaign that is regarded as a bit of a farce, and forces the Portuguese to yield.
- The War in Haiti (1801-1803)
- Bonaparte takes advantage of the brief peace in Europe to send an army to reimpose slavery in those colonies where it had been abolished under Robespierre. It is destroyed by the Haitians and tropical diseases, ensuring the independence of the second republic of the Western hemisphere.
- Even before the war ended, First Consul Bonaparte decides that the French territory in mainland North America (which goes by the name la Louisiane—that is, "Louisiana"—but extends, essentially to the entire Mississippi Basin west of the Mississippi itself, plus New Orleans") is not worth keeping in view of the imminent war against Great Britain. So he decides to sell the whole lot to the United States 1803, much to Thomas Jefferson's relief since he feared the likelihood of a New World Napoleonic War had the Emperor a stable base in the Americas, and to the disgust of his Spanish allies, who had just been forced to hand over Louisiana to France in 1800note .
- Barbary Coast wars: The pirates of the Barbary Coast city-states attack US ships in the Mediterranean and demand ransoms and tribute for the captured passengers - those that weren't ransomed, were enslaved. The new US Navy and Marines attack the Barbary city-states ("the shores of Tripoli") and bring an end to the practice of paying tribute to the pirate states - though the practise of slave trading by the Barbary States was officially ended until the Royal Navy bombarded Algiers in 1820, and wasn't unofficially ended until 1830 when France conquered Algiers.
- Wars in India
- To wit, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798-1799), the First and Second Kandian War (1803-1804, 1815), the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1805), the Vellore Mutiny (1806), and the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816). Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, wins his first laurels in the first of these.
- War between Russia and Persia (1804-1813)
- Persia loses most of its possessions in the Caucasus.
- The War for Naples and Sicily (1805-1814)
- After the Aueen of Naples allowed an Anglo-Russian force to land in violation of her country's treaty with France, Napoleon declared that the Neapolitan Bourbons have forfeited their throne and sends an army to occupy the country and install his brother Joseph as new king. When Joseph becomes king of Spain in 1808, he is replaced in Naples by his brother-in-law, Marshal Murat as King Joachim I. The Bourbon king Ferdinand IV, meanwhile, escapes to Sicily and maintains himself there with British help, notably against an invasion attempt in 1810. Later Joachim's queen, Caroline Bonaparte, persuades him to join the coalition against Napoleon to save their throne. Early in 1814 a treaty is concluded in which Great Britain and Austria guarantee that Joachim and Caroline can stay as king and queen of Naples in return for switching sides.
- Another Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812)
- The Anglo-Turkish War (1807-1809)
- The British destroy the Turkish fleet, but their attacks on Constantinople and Egypt fail.
- The Russo-Swedish War for Finland (1808-1809)
- In the end Finland becomes Russian and king Gustavus IV of Sweden is deposed in a coup. The result was a Russian army marching across the frozen Baltic Sea from Finland to northern Sweden.
- The Dano-Swedish War (1808-1809)
- Denmark tries to take advantage of Sweden's preoccupation with the war against Russia by launching an invasion from Norway. Denmark's bid to regain Scania fails, but so does the Swedish attempt to conquer Norway. Napoleon at first offers to support Denmark with a French-Spanish-Dutch armynote led by Marshal Bernadotte, but then withdraws the offer, so Denmark-Norway has to fight the war alone.
- The British blockade basically leaves Norway on its own. Norway had to cope without Danish help during the Swedish counter-invasion. The years after the Swedish campaign are remembered as the "years of need" in Norway, with people starving to death all over the country. The experience will bolster national sentiment come 1814.
- The Spanish American Wars of Independence (1808-1829)
- Largely a consequence of the Peninsular War, which weaken Spanish control over their American colonies even though the local independence movements now have to make do without British support.
- The Anglo-Swedish War (1810-1812)
- Following a French ultimatum, Sweden declares war on the United Kingdom, but on paper only.
- The War of 1812 (sometimes called The Second War of American Independence or Mr. Madison's War) (1812-1815)
- America declares war on Great Britain and attempts to invade British Canada. Spins into a conflict involving the British Empire, the United States, and a number of Native American groups allied to either side. Ends with failed invasions of each other's territory by both sides—during which the Americans burned down Torontonote and the British torched Washington, D.C., including the White House — and a military stalemate, as Britain was primarily preoccupied with the Peninsular War. The Treaty of Ghent restores the status quo. Perhaps one of the stupidest conflicts in history, seeing as the British had actually ended the policies which provoked the war before it broke out, but due to the slow pace of communications in those days, America didn't find out until after it had invaded Canada. (And similarly due to slow communications, the great American victory at the Battle of New Orleans, which launched the career of Andrew Jackson, was fought shortly after peace had been declared.)
- The War for Norway (1813-1814)
- France's ally Denmark is invaded by an Allied army (mostly Russian, Swedish and German forces) towards the end of 1813 in order to cash in the price for Sweden's participation in the anti-Napoleonic alliance. The treaty of Kiel, ratified in January 1814, dissolves the union between Denmark and Norway. Sweden (led by Crown Prince Karl Johan, formerly Marshal Bernadotte) is compensated for the loss of Finland by being awarded Norway.
- A new Swedish campaign in Norway follows in 1814. Norwegians use the time they still have to draft their own constitution the same spring, which the Swedes grudgingly acknowledge in autumn. This constitution becomes a constant take that from Norway to Sweden the next 90 years or so. For a more detailed narration on this, see the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.
- The Italian Wars of 1815
- After Napoleon returns from Elba to France, King Joachim Murat of Naples, who has grown increasingly uneasy because King Ferdinand IV loudly demands his removal and the negotiations at the Congress of Vienna apparently are taking a disadvantageous turn, decides to throw in his lot with his brother-in-law, starting an offensive against Austrian-occupied Northern Italy. However, this comes at a most inopportune moment for Napoleon, who is trying to project a kinder, more peace-loving image, and so Joachim I is left on his own. His army is easily dispersed by the Austrians, Murat has to flee to Corsica, and Ferdinand (who now calls himself King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) is reinstalled in Naples.
- Later in the year Murat lands on the Neapolitan coast with a handful of supporters in a bid to regain his throne through a popular rising. He fails abysmally and ends up being shot by firing-squad.
- That Hamilton Woman by Alexander Korda is a British Wartime Romance based on the real-life relationship between Admiral Nelson (Laurence Olivier) and Emma Hamilton (Vivien Leigh). It ends on the Battle of Trafalgar.
- Hussar Ballad is a Russian romantic comedy in which a young woman dresses up as a man and fights in the army against Napoleon.
- Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma shows its hero as an unwitting observer of the battle of Waterloo in 1815, a device that Tolstoy later copied. Stendhal was an unabashed Napoleon loyalist, who served in his army to Moscow and remained loyal during the Hundred Days. He refused to return to France until 1821, spending most of his time in Italy.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas the whole plot is kicked into motion by Napoleons planned escape from Elba. The main hero, a sailor called Edmond Dantes, is denounced by his enemies as a conspirator to the Bonapartist plot after he innocently agrees to deliver Napoleons letter from Elba to France, following the late captains last wish. The book gives a vivid description of rivalry between the Royalists and Bonapartists. Napoleon is featured as The Ghost, but king Louis XVIII does make an appearance.
- Lord Byron's Don Juan contains references to the Russian siege of Izmail (1790). His Childe Harold also contains a famous poetic version of the Duchess of Richmond's ball on the eve of the Waterloo campaign.
- The Polish national epic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz is set in Lithuania before and during Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
- Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars turn up all over the place in the work of Heinrich Heine. Best known is his poem "The Grenadiers", which was set to music by Robert Schumann (using the German original) and Richard Wagner (using a French translation - he wrote this when he lived in Paris).
- Waterloo oder Die hundert Tage ("Waterloo or The Hundred Days") by German playwright Christian Dietrich Grabbe (1801-1836). A huge unwieldy play that had to wait until 1895 for its first performance. Grabbe also left the fragment of a drama called Kosciuszko about the Polish national hero.
- Tolstoy's novel War and Peace, which includes not just a famous account of the battle of Borodino, but big chunks of both the 1805 and 1812 campaigns. Also turned into several movies and television series, as well as an opera (by Prokofiev).
- Les Misérables - contains an account of Waterloo in which Victor Hugo declares the French, and in particular Count Cambronne, the moral victors. He also wrote an epic poem that was highly influential on the popular image of that battle in France.
- Theodor Fontane's first novel, Before the Storm, is set in Prussia in the winter of 1812/13. Schach von Wuthenow presents the country as ossified on the eve of the war of 1806.
- The Conscript of 1813 and Waterloo by Erckmann and Chatrian. One of the most realistic 19th century novelizations of the last years of the wars from the perspective of an unassuming Alsatian recruit.
- The Brigadier Gerard books by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Bloody Jack.
- The Man of Destiny by George Bernard Shaw
- Goya by Lion Feuchtwanger (also filmed)
- Horatio Hornblower
- Fevre Dream
- Seven Men of Gascony
- Delderfield also wrote Too Few for Drums featuring a Plucky Middie ON LAND!
- Abel Gance's massive silent movie Napoléon (1927) was meant to be the first of a whole series, but the lack of commercial success meant: no sequels, and so the story stops cold at the beginning of Napoleon's Italian Campaign. However, in 1960 Gance did make Austerlitz.
- Conquest aka Marie Walewska - Greta Garbo plays Napoleon's Polish mistress
- Kolberg, a Nazi propaganda movie from 1945 about the successful defense of the the fortress in 1807, which somewhat glosses over the fact that unlike in 1944, Britain and Russia were Prussia's allies in 1807.
- The Duellists: Both main characters are hussars in Napoleon's army.
- The Temeraire series follows the Wars of the Third and Fourth Coalitions fairly closely (with the obvious exception of the draconic air forces) before going completely Off the Rails in the fourth book.
- The Tales of Ensign Stål: A collection of poems about the Finnish war.
- Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series follows on from The Scarlet Pimpernel and tracks the adventures of similarly-named spies in Britain, Ireland, France and India during the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon himself appears in the first book.
- Un Ballo in Maschera by Giuseppe Verdi is an operatic dramatization of the assassination of king Gustavus III of Sweden, only due to the censors' constraint the story had to be transposed to ... Massachusetts.
- Tosca, the opera by Giacomo Puccini, is tangentially related: the war affects it, though it hardly affects the war.
- The same goes for Heinrich von Kleist's novella The Marquise of O; it was adapted into a film by French director Eric Rohmer that won the Grand Prix Spécial at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.
- Only at the very end of The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe it becomes apparent that the story is set during the Peninsular War.
- Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote an epic poem based on stories from the British blockade of Norway. The poem, Terje Vigen, is arguably Ibsen´s greatest tear jerker, relating the story of a fisherman trying to breach the blockade by rowing to Denmark for supplies for his family. The Brits intervene, of course, and the antagonist spends the rest of the war in prison, only to find his family dead when returning home. The rest of the poem tells of his resentment and eventual revenge on the British lord who made him miserable. They all figure it out in the end, though. English translation: http://www.sitater.com/home/ibsen/vigen/idx_eng.htm
- Billy Budd takes place in the summer of 1797, with the Nore mutiny casting a shadow over the plot.
- Over the last decade, there have been a great number of French graphic novels centred on Napoleon. Some stick to reality and attempt to give a colourful account of Napoleon's life... others (like Double Masque) go on a completely fictional tangent.
- Of special interest is Malet, the 2005 graphic novel by Nicolas Juncker about the conspiracy and abortive coup of 1812. In the appendix Juncker explains how difficult it was to make sense of the various conflicting historical accounts and self-serving memoirs that chronicle the event.
- Thomas Flanagan's The Year of the French deals with events in County Mayo during the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland. It was adapted into an Irish-British-French television series in 1982 with music by The Chieftains.
- The novella Liberty or Death by David Cook also deals with the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
Art and Architecture
- Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David (produced in five versions, 1801-1805) shows an idealized Napoleon on a rearing charger. In 1850 Paul Delaroche produced a painting showing the same subject as it really happened: Napoleon riding on a mule led by a guide.
- Francisco de Goya's paintings of the Second and Third of May 1808 in Madrid, the first showing the Madrilenes fighting Napoleon's Mameluks of the Guard in the streets, the latter the shooting by French firing squad of a group of Spanish rebels. Also Goya's sometimes spine-chilling series of prints, Los desastres de la guerra.
- The Napoleonic Wars were commemorated in a number of monuments all over Europe, notably the Column of the Grande Armée (on the place Vendôme), the Arc de Triomphe and the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel in Paris, Nelson's Column on Trafalgar Square in London, the cast-iron Kreuzbergdenkmal in Berlin, the Lion of Waterloo (which commemorates the wounding of the Prince of Orange, later King William II of the Netherlands), and the Völkerschlachtsdenkmal (1913) in Leipzig.
- Beethoven originally wanted to dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte, but changed his mind when he learned that he was making himself an emperor. In 1809 he wrote a march for the Austrian Landwehr (militia), which was picked up in 1813 by the Prussians, which is why it is now best known as the Marsch des Yorckschen Korps. He also wrote his "battle symphony" (originally scored for a musical automat) to commemorate Wellington's 1813 victory at Vitoria.
- Tchaikovsky's 1812 Ouverture, scored for a full orchestra, church bells and real cannons, written partially to commemorate the Battle of Borodino.
- Lots of participants wrote memoirs and histories afterwards. Thanks to the advances of public education, these included several junior officers and even some NCOs and privates. Of course, unrealiable narrators abound.
- More books have been written about Napoleon than about anyone else in history, with the possible exceptions of Abraham Lincoln and Jesus.
- Two generals who fought in the Napoleonic Wars had a huge influence on military theory in the subsequent centuries, Antoine de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the latter the author of On War. To this day the Napoleonic Wars tend to be among the wars that are studied the most at military academies. Among the West Point graduates who tried to emulate the Napoleonic operations and strategies in their campaigns can be found Robert E. Lee and Norman Schwarzkopf (who is said to have been inspired to his plan for Operation Desert Storm by Napoleon's 1805 campaign).
- The first proper wargames were developed in Germany during the Napoleonic wars as educational aids for officers.
- Miniatures Wargaming got its start with Napoleonic miniatures.
- One of Avalon Hill's first board wargames, in the early 1960's, was—you guessed it—Waterloo, based on the Hundred Days campaign. The Napoleonic Wars have proven an especially popular subject for map-and-counter (and, later, computer) wargaming ever since.
- On a related note, the battle of Waterloo/La Belle Alliance is especially well-documented in part because William Siborne, who made dioramas of the battle with miniature soldiers, got every surviving participating officer he could get his hands on to write down what they had done and seen there.
- "The Braunstein Game", a wargaming-Diplomacy mash-up created by David Wesely in the mid-1960s and set in a fictional German university town during the Napoleonic Wars, is considered one of the direct ancestors of the tabletop role-playing game, as Dave Arneson took inspiration from it for his own Blackmoor campaign which eventually became part of Dungeons & Dragons.
- Cossacks 2 : Napoleonic Wars and its expansion Battle for Europe.
- Napoleon: Total War and its expansion The Peninsular Campaign.
- Empire Earth features the Peninsular War and the battle of Waterloo as the final English campaign missions, while the second game has Napoleon as the main enemy in the Russian campaign and a few levels of the German campaign.
- A few mods for Mount & Blade and Mount & Blade: Warband, as well as the multiplayer-only DLC Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars for Warband.