On Leadership

If Napoleon released a Greatest Hits album in the 1970s, this would undoubtedly be the cover.  Napoleon by Sarah, via Flickr.
If Napoleon had released a Greatest Hits album in the 1970s, this would undoubtedly be the cover. Napoleon’s Little Pony by Sarah, via Flickr.

So far, we have focused on Napoleon’s early successes and his reforms while he ruled France. Today, however, we will focus on his military initiatives at the height of his power.

Or, more accurately, we will consider several examples of leadership–both good and bad–during the Napoleonic Wars:

We will start with a brief lecture about Horatio Nelson, a naval commander who handed Napoleon several key losses.

Next, we will watch a documentary that focuses on two battles that historians have labelled strategic masterpieces:  the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz (or the Battle of the  Three Emperors). While we want to track examples of Napoleon’s brilliance in both battles, we also want to watch for examples of poor leadership from his adversaries. In particular, look for mistakes by:

  • the unfortunate general Mack (ladies and gents, I sincerely hope you never earn the nickname “the unfortunate”)
  • Alexander I of Russia, who thought he was a messiah who would save Europe from Napoleon. He was wrong.
  • general incompetence

 

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