Cover image for Napoleon and Berlin : the Franco-Prussian war in North Germany, 1813
Napoleon and Berlin : the Franco-Prussian war in North Germany, 1813
Leggiere, Michael V., 1969-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 384 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Format :


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DC236 .L44 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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At a time when Napoleon needed all his forces to reassert French dominance in Central Europe, why did he fixate on the Prussian capital of Berlin? Instead of concentrating his forces for a decisive showdown with the enemy, he repeatedly detached large numbers of troops, under ineffective commanders, toward the capture of Berlin. In Napoleon and Berlin, Michael V. Leggiere explores Napoleon's almost obsessive desire to capture Berlin and how this strategy ultimately lost him all of Germany.

Napoleon's motives have remained a subject of controversy from his own day until ours. He may have hoped to deliver a tremendous blow to Prussia's war-making capacity and morale. Ironically, the heavy losses and strategic reverses sustained by the French left Napoleon's Grande Armee vulnerable to an Allied coalition that eventually drove Napoleon from Central Europe forever.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this initial volume of the "Campaigns and Commanders" series, Leggiere (Louisiana State Univ.) uses French and German archival resources and an impressive collection of primary and secondary works. Even after the Russian debacle in 1812, Napoleon believed that he could divide and conquer his opponents, but he clearly underestimated the ardor of a reformed Prussian military. Led by bold officers like Friedrich Wilhelm von Bulow, the Prussian forces, including the new militia (Landwehr) units, proved to be vastly superior in conducting a modern war to the armies overwhelmed by the French in 1806. Although the Prussians successfully defended their positions against some of Napoleon's most reliable generals, the war's outcome remained in doubt until the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. While Prussian officers were eager to take risks, they were frustrated and often humiliated by the commander of the Army of North Germany, Crown Prince Bernadotte of Sweden, who had his own political agenda. Nonetheless, the Prussian army's accomplishments demonstrated that Prussia was once again a power that had to be respected. Leggiere's ability to clarify complicated issues in this absorbing, in-depth study will be immediately recognized by readers. Upper-division undergraduates and above. T. M. Keefe Saint Joseph's University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. VII
Prefacep. IX
1. France and Prussiap. 3
2. The Sixth Coalitionp. 28
3. The Defense of Berlinp. 55
4. Luckaup. 70
5. Muskets, Saddles, and Shoesp. 89
6. Axes, Spades, and Waterp. 104
7. Plans and Preparationsp. 120
8. Opening Movesp. 141
9. Gross Beerenp. 160
10. The Politics of Dissensionp. 177
11. Dennewitzp. 189
12. At the Rubiconp. 212
13. Crossing the Rubiconp. 229
14. Leipzigp. 256
Conclusionp. 278
Notesp. 299
Bibliographyp. 357
Indexp. 371