Europe is against Russia. Napoleon’s campaign was lost in advance?

Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 25. The tariff drives the wave 22/06/2022

210 years ago, on the night of 23 on 24 June    , 1812 g., the Great ArmyNapoleon Bonaparte began crossing the border river Neman. Another round of confrontation «Europe — Russia» switched to "hot" phase.

This epoch-making event was preceded by a minor incident, about which told in his memoirsMarquis Armand de Caulaincourt. During a reconnaissance on the banks of the Neman, Napoleon launched his horse into a gallop, and the horse, frightened by a hare that fluttered from under her feet, jumped sideways: “The emperor, who rode very badly, fell to the ground. I then thought it was a bad omen».

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Start for health

However, already on the fourth day of the campaign, Napoleon entered Vilna — impressive pace. Some of Bonaparte's Old Guard boasted that August 15, the emperor's birthday, they would celebrate in Petersburg. Napoleon saw the purpose of the war in to withdraw Russia from the conditional club of great powers, and ideally to expel completely from "the civilized world". Here are his words spoken in Vilna: “I have come to put an end to the colossus of northern barbarians once and for all. We must throw them into their ice so that they don interfere in the affairs of civilized Europe. The Baltic Sea should be closed to them. If the Russian tsar needs victories, let him beat the Persians, but let not interfere in the affairs of Europe».

Almost everyone believed in Napoleon's ability to carry out his plan. Countess Anna Potockawrote: “Taking into account the number of nations that followed under the French banners, the most skeptical minds could not doubt the success.” Over the course of five years, Bonaparte, under the slogans of “granting civil rights and freedoms to the peoples” where by diplomacy, and where by armed violence he creates a grandiose pan-European construction of Pax Napoleonica. She does not seem to threaten Russia — in 1807  emperors Napoleon and Alexandersigned the Peace of Tilsit. However, this structure is constantly expanding to the east. In 1807   the Grand Duchy of Warsaw is created on the Russian border, completely dependent on Napoleon. In 1809  a similar fate awaits Austria, which is also sealed by the  marriage of Napoleon with Maria-Louise of Austria. Well and in February 1812  Prussia fell into dependence. 

Alexander I I didn't believe in unctuous songs about the absence of a threat for a second. And & nbsp; managed to properly use the time allotted to him by fate. First of all, he secured the empire from the flanks. In 1809  following the results of the war with Sweden, Russia received Finland — thus, the border was seriously pushed back, and the forces that once “stand against the Swede” were freed up for active participation in the upcoming campaign. In south by May 1812 g. urgently brought to an end the war with Turkey, which lasted from 1806 g., received Bessarabia and the released armies. On both flanks were the main characters of the future Patriotic War.  South — Mikhail Kutuzov, in the north —Mikhail Barclay de Tolly and Alexey Arakcheev.

This is where the pattern breaks. After all, everyone knows that Barclay de Tolly was lack of initiative and, as they say, “leaked” Napoleon throughout the first period of the war. And after the surrender of Smolensk, some wits changed his name — they say, “Chatting, yes” and “only”. And the name of Arakcheev is associated exclusively with the cruelty of military settlements and senseless drill. In a word — “Arakcheevshchina”.

Barclay's Network

In fact, the work of this tandem has become the key to Russia's future victory. According to the Chinese thinker Sun Tzu, who is considered an ace of military strategy, “The very best”— not to break the army, but the plans of the enemy. A tool without which it is impossible to break plans, — intelligence and counterintelligence. To make the work of intelligence systemic, to create an apparatus that accumulates and analyzes information, — this is the merit of Barclay de Tolly. In  January 1810  he took up the post of Minister of War. And almost immediately the Expedition of Secret Affairs under the War Ministry started working. The structure was engaged not only in the processing of information, but also in undercover work. In the western border region, over which the fruits of “peaceful European initiatives” hung, a large-scale agent network was created. Marquis Caulaincourtrecalled that Napoleon, at the entrance to Vilna, met not a joyful crowd of townspeople, but a few Jews and a few people from the common people. It is possible that among these Jews there were  those who responded to the call of their spiritual leader — Rebbe Shneur Zalman bar-Borukh,founder of the Chabad Hasidic movement: “We” did not feel the oppression that in other kingdoms, even in France itself, it happened. We we were not only protected by law along with natural Russians, but and were admitted to rights and ranks, enjoyed honors and the free practice of our faith and rites even in the most reigning city of St. Petersburg! So be zealous & nbsp; serve the Russian military commanders with all your might!

Bonaparte deceived

In the first period of the war, Barclay managed to put into action the plan that he had been hatching for a long time. Back in 1807 g. Barclay outlined the outlines of the coming war: “In the event of Napoleon's invasion of Russia should, by a skillful retreat, force the enemy to move away from the operational base, tire him with small enterprises and lure him inland, and then with saved troops and with the help of climate to prepare for him, at least for Moscow, a new Poltava. In 1810  Barclay issued everything in the form of a note “On” the protection of the western borders of Russia, addressed to the emperor. And in the summer of 1812 g. urgently needed to put this plan into action. That is, to withdraw the scattered Russian armies from the blow of Napoleon, to unite them, and retreat. Without the information that came to Barclay from agents, it was impossible to do this.

And then Alexey Arakcheev comes forward. A good commander fights not with a shout of “Hurrah”, but with a shovel, porridge and a short fur coat. “General Frost”, as well as “Lieutenant Rasputitsa”, in the & nbsp; campaign of 1812 & nbsp; they beat not only the French, but and    Russians. The stake on a well-organized retreat and the climate could not work if at the head of the supply of the entire Russian army was Arakcheev, to hands not stuck a penny of government money.

By and large, Napoleon, who captured Vilna and discussed "northern barbarians", had already lost by  “I see only one — masses of enemy troops, — Bonaparte said. — I try to destroy them, being sure that everything else will collapse along with them». Barclay, Arakcheev and Alexander I agreed with him. And, strictly adhering to the course of preserving the Russian army, they led the greatest conqueror like a boy. As soon as he crossed the Neman, he found himself drawn into someone else's game on someone else's territory. And already the next year, Russian troops paid a return visit to Europe.

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