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Some of the reasons for his downfall are:

i. Napoleonís Ambitious Nature

The sky was the limit for Napoleon. His soaring ambition was the main cause of his downfall. The mainstay of his empire was his military power. He extended his empire to an unwieldy size for the fulfillment of his ambition. He even started dreaming of dominating the whole world by establishing a world empire, like Alexander the Great. With the rise of his power, his ego inflated tremendously. The belief in the infallibility of his judgment had become the great defect of his nature. He never paid any heed to the counsel of others. He did not think it worthwhile to consult seasoned diplomats, like Talleyrand and Fouche, who were well known for their experience and foresight in diplomacy. His judgments were often faulty although he was gifted with prodigious intelligence and sharp imagination. Despite all this his intelligence was limited. It was next to impossible for him to do justice to all the things he had in hand. He had his finger in every pie - some really important things to handle, others of variegated nature. There is no wonder that he failed in certain matters.

ii. Napoleonís Power of Arms

According to one historian, "Napoleon used to say that God marches with the biggest battalions, and when the armies of the enemies became bigger than his own, God was bound to march along with them and that was to result in their victories."

Napoleonís empire was based only on military strength. He had recruited a large number of men by force. He could not get men of the right age for his army. So he was compelled to recruit raw youths. This proved fatal for the nation. The French, now, looked down upon his militarism. Therefore, Napoleon had to recruit foreigners - the Dutch, the Italians, the Poles, and the Germans. Generally the expenses for the up-keep of his army were to be met by the people of the countries under him. It made them hate Napoleon. Gradually the Russians, the Prussians and the Austrians trained their men who, in the days to come, were able to dent the French military pride. The naval power of England had always been her strength. Napoleon was defeated at several places because of the strong naval power of England.

Napoleon had introduced the Continental System in Europe which banned the entry and movement of British ships in European ports. This blockade was created for ships of neutral countries which came via England. Napoleon adopted despicable and stringent measures to carry out this policy. It alienated him from the sympathies of the people under him. The Continental System ultimately resulted in his invasion of Portugal, Spain and Russia and the maltreatment of the Pope.

The Pope rejected the Continental System of Napoleon. This infuriated the French dictator and he arrested religious dignitaries in his kingdom.

The Pope in a decree declared him an atheist, accusing him of blasphemy. The people of Europe opposed him bitterly. Catholics started hating Napoleon.

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Index

3.0 - Introduction
3.1 The Seven Years' War
3.2 Catherine the Great
3.3 The Industrial Revolution
3.4 The French Revolution
3.5 France as a Republic (1795 - 1799)
3.6 Napolean Bonaparte
3.7 Points to Remember

Chapter 4


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