Crisis on the Danube: Napoleon's Austrian Campaign of 1809

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9781557781376: Crisis on the Danube: Napoleon's Austrian Campaign of 1809

The year 1809 witnessed a geopolitical shift in Europe. While France and Napolean's Grande Armee remained ascendant, for the first time Russia held the key to the balance of power and German nationalism became a force to contend with. In Crisis on the Danube James Arnold examines the military and diplomatic events of Napolen's pivotal Austrian Campaign that marked a turning point in European history. Using previously untapped primary sources gleaned from libraries and archives in Vienna, Paris, and London, Arnold highlights the trends which led to the destruction of Napoleon's empire: betrayal by key advisors; uncompromising diplomacy foiled by this betrayal and rising German nationalism; and Napoleon's growing self-delusion. In an engaging style the author conducts us through the swirl of diplomatic intrigue that preceded the Austraian Campaign. Revealed is the complex web of alliances constructed by the devious Talleyrand, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the cunning political game he played with Austria's brilliant Count Metternich. We also see how Emperor Napoleon's inability to secure Czar Alexander's support and other failed political calculations allowed the duplicity of his underlings and machinations of his enemies to draw him into the conflict with Austria.

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From Library Journal:

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 has been relatively neglected by English-language scholars. This work focuses not on the climactic battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram, as would be expected, but on the earlier operations that culminated in the Battle of Eckmuhl and the storming of Ratisbonne (Regensburg). Arnold's interpretation of the war's origins in terms of Talleyrand's betrayal of Napoleon is one-sided. He offers, however, an excellent portrait of a French army and emperor just past their peaks of 1805-07, yet significantly superior to their foes. Austria's military improvement meant that Napoleon was no longer master of the battlefield. He could, however, still dominate a theater of operations, outmaneuvering enemies it had become harder to fight. This work effectively complements Gunther Rothenberg's biography of Archduke Karl, Napoleon's Great Adversaries (Indiana Univ. Pr., 1982).
- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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