The battle of Austerlitz: causes, development and consequences –

The 19th century began and Napoleon Bonaparte’s main objective was to establish a hegemony throughout the European continent, which was based on the ideal of putting an end to the manorial/feudal era, changing this ideal for that of a society based on meritocracy and in the liberal ideals typical of this moment, leaving us, as a great legacy, a civil code that laid the foundations for most of the constitutions of modern States.

This moment is known as the First French Empire, Napoleonic Empire or Napoleonic France and from this expansive ideal the famous and much studied Napoleonic Wars are derived, where we find the Battle of Austerlitz or Battle of the Three Emperors.

This battle took place in a town called Austerlitz, currently called Brna, in the Bohemian area of ​​the Czech Republic. It was carried out by the Napoleonic troops made up of approximately 73 thousand men and by the coalition of the Austrian and Russian troops that formed approximately 85 thousand men and took place on December 2, 1805.

Causes of the Battle of Austerlitz

The Napoleonic expansive process began energetically and its charge against the islands that were part of the British Crown caused the English to quickly begin to seek allies to fight Napoleon that, meanwhile, began to conquer areas adjacent to French territory, such as certain Italian areas.

Do you know what the French Revolution was?

Hence, William Pitt and the Russian Tsar, Alexander I, joined together with the Austrian empire of Francisco II and formed the so-called “Third Coalition” that, at first, sought to surprise Napoleon in Bavaria and Italy, where the Austrian troops – still awaiting Russian help – were waiting to take them by surprise.

The truth is that everything went horribly wrong for the allies, because in the battle of Ulm, the Napoleonic troops will take over Vienna; this will generate, in general terms, an aggressive reaction from the allied coalition in what will be the battle of austerlitz.

Development of the Battle of Austerlitz

This battle was a source of pride not only for Napoleon, but also for the French people for many years and is remembered as a true military feat by Napoleon thanks to his masterful moves, among which we undoubtedly have the Battle of Ulm itself that it was a resounding blow to the newly formed coalition.

The second most important action took place during the night of December 1, 1805, in which Napoleon used the Pratzen emplacement as a military decoy and left -apparently- his right flank weak.

This emplacement was of high value since it was on a hill and allowed strategic-visual control of the enemy; however, Napoleon sends his troops to leave the area, making the allies believe that they were greatly outnumbered.

The biggest problem caused by a coalition, especially if it is in a complicated situation like the one the Austrian empire was going through, is that ideas begin to collide with each other and this is clearly reflected between the position of Tsar Alexander I and Marshal Kutúzov: the Tsar wanted to attack without any contemplation, that is, he was betting on a much riskier offensive and almost without planning, falling into the trap set by Napoleon.

The marshal, on the other hand, would have preferred to finish off the French little by little, that is, having a more contained posture and less trusting of the apparent advantageous situation that the Napoleonic army had provided. He wasn’t wrong…

It is said that when Napoleon heard that the troops were advancing he exclaimed “They are falling into the trap!”.

We say that he was not mistaken because the position that prevailed in the face of the situation was that of the Russian tsar, that is, to go all out on the Pratzen hills. Once there, they found the trap that the Napoleonic army had left for them: a supposedly weak right flank, backed by a whole troop prepared to attack the maximum from the Russian rear.

An element that favored the Napoleonic army was the morning fog that accompanied it when the Russian troops advanced; With this, the battle of Austerlitz would begin, which lasted approximately 9 hours and ended up being a resounding French victory until the allied coalition.

The Battle of Austerlitz is a milestone for French historiography From the moment it happened, moreover, it is believed that Napoleon took it as a personal victory, which would, in short, make his ego grow uncontrollably.

Aftermath of the Battle of Austerlitz

We have already commented on the emotional boost that the battle of Austerlitz meant for the French Grand Armée that carried out this operation, as well as for Napoleon’s own vision and that of his people, although he would have wanted it to be even more epic.

Such was the celebration that he rewarded his high officials with 2 million francs of the time, pensions for widows and the adoption of orphaned children by the emperor who were allowed to use his name.

Napoleon against Russia, read what happened:

Undoubtedly, the one who suffered the most was Austria: it had to give land to France and compensate it with 40 million francs – which also came in handy since the Gallic country was on the verge of a crisis – as well as giving territories to Kingdoms that Napoleon himself had created. , like that of Italy, to whom Venice was given.

The Holy Roman Empire Had his end in 1806 and the Austrian emperor signed a peace with France that will not help much, since not long after the warlike atmosphere will continue in Europe. Likewise, Napoleon created the so-called Confederation of the Rhine.

As we have commented before, although perhaps for Napoleon this victory was not enough, for the French people it will be a milestone -almost- without equals, which is even mentioned in the work of the author Victor Hugo, in times in which the nostalgia of that First French Empire reigned.

It may interest you:

Image gallery The battle of Austerlitz: causes, development and consequences: