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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Napoleonic Era

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Napoleonic Era Discuss the many wars fought around the globe around the time of Napoleon. This forum is dedicated to the memory of Ben Weider.

View Poll Results: Main cause of Napoleon's defeat in Spain
British intervention 11 40.74%
Anglo/Spanish/Portugeze collaboration 2 7.41%
Napoleon's war on two fronts (Austria 1809, Russia 1812) 6 22.22%
Spanish resistance 5 18.52%
Spain's rough country and climate 0 0%
Other cause (please specify) 3 11.11%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 24 Mar 07, 09:52
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Main cause of Napoleon's defeat in Spain

As amateur-historians, we all know that Napoleon suffered a severe defeat during his campaign in Spain between the years 1808-1813. Many historians believe that this campaign was the beginning of his final undoing...
But what was the main cause of this defeat, you think? Choose your main cause and tell us why...



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  #2  
Old 24 Mar 07, 10:11
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I voted other because I think it was more a combination of all the things listed in the poll. The French were never able to completely control Spain or defeat the British army in Spain.
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  #3  
Old 24 Mar 07, 10:16
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Well, personally I believe that the Spanish resistance in the form of guerrilla-warfare was the main cause of Napoleon's defeat in Spain. The Spanish people fought with utmost brutality, suprising the smaller unsuspecting French units on their way through woods and mountains. Cutting their communications with ohter units, blocking their supplies and striking terror and fright in the frenchmen by their gruesome retaliations.
This was something the french soldiers were totally unaccustomed too, it was also a totally new method of warfare. It not only worked militarily, but also mentally...it must have been terrible !
As second cause I would choose is Spain's rough climate and terrain which made the spanish guerrilla warfare possible and the control of the large peninsula almost impossible and as third cause I would chose Napoleon's unfortunate decision to fight a war on two fronts in 1809 and 1812. Napoleon just did not have enough troops to fight two succesful wars in such large countries ! Russia especially used up a whole lot of troops that could have been used more functionally in Spain against the British, Spanish and Portugeze forces...in this year, France lost its hold on Spain alltogether.
I do not believe the combined Anglo/Spanish and Portugeze forces alone, without the other drawbacks, could have defeated the French military in the Peninsula...it was the combination of all these drawbacks together that made the expulsion of the French possible in 1812...



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  #4  
Old 24 Mar 07, 10:35
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I voted for the british intervention. Napoleon's troops succefully marched to Lisbon and were welcomed by a lot of people down in Lisbon. Had not been for the british party asking for the british help and we might still be a part of France in our days.
I trully feal there's relevance in all other options, but I'm convinced had it not been for the british and the peninsular war might had taken a lot longer to beat the french army.
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  #5  
Old 24 Mar 07, 16:43
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'In Spain, large armies starve, small armies are defeated.'

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  #6  
Old 24 Mar 07, 18:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer 1888 View Post
I voted other because I think it was more a combination of all the things listed in the poll. The French were never able to completely control Spain or defeat the British army in Spain.
I also voted for Other for the same reasons, plus a dash of French arrogance led them to badly underestimate their enemies. Plus Nappy failed to allow for Richard Sharpe.
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  #7  
Old 25 Mar 07, 05:13
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I voted for the spanish guerillas being the primary cause for defeat, but it is that coupled with the continued intervention of a regular army (Brit/Portuguese) which forced so many problems in France, as the French had to try and to face two different threats in the same place at the same time.
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Old 25 Mar 07, 15:47
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I would be curious as to what the effect would have been if Napoleon had backed a weak Spanish candidate and avoided giving the country to a foreigner. The Spanish had some real duds as monarch, but they were SPANISH!

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Old 26 Mar 07, 09:51
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I went with other. I think the British presence made it impossible for Napoleon to commit enough assets to secure the pennisula and close it as an active front. This was greatly helped by the resistance disrupting increasingly stretched supply lines. On the reverse, the inability to secure Portugal limited the assets available to surpress the resistance.
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Old 27 Mar 07, 19:27
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I voted for Other fronts, because as difficult as the Spanish situation was, it needed more attention than Napoleon estimated early on. The placement of Joseph was foolish enough, but nobody would have guessed how things would have gotten out of control.
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Old 28 Mar 07, 02:56
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Thumbs up

I've gone for the single and most important reason, which your pole sadly, neglected.... His Grace The Duke of Wellington.
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Old 28 Mar 07, 04:05
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That would be british intervention, it got my vote aswell.
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  #13  
Old 28 Mar 07, 06:23
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Bah Old Arthur...he was just a load of ... in a silk stocking !!!
Overrated !
He couldn't match Napoleon on the field of battle...that it is why I didn't choose british intervention as one of the main causes of the french defeat in Spain...Britain couldn't have won the war in the peninsula without the spanish resistance !
Wellington did beat Napoleon's marshals a couple of times in Spain, but unfortunately for us, Napoleon and Wellington never stood in front of each other in Spain...(thank god, otherwise there would'eve been alot of less discussions!)
I do not think Wellington alone, would'eve been able to kick Napoleon's butt in Spain...just as Napoleon would never been able to conquer Spain due to the Spanish resistance !!!



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  #14  
Old 28 Mar 07, 10:46
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I got to back Stratego up here on the point of the Spanish resistance. Though the British intervention was important, in trying to sort out the single cause of defeat my vote has to go with the "little war". Essentially, the Brits couldn't have defeated all the French troops in the peninsula without the Spanish tieing up so many of them, and the Spanish resistance would eventually have been defeated if the French were not continually distracted by the British actions.
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Old 28 Mar 07, 12:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratego View Post
Bah Old Arthur...he was just a load of ... in a silk stocking !!!
Overrated !
He couldn't match Napoleon on the field of battle...


Greets,
Stratego

I seem to remember a small altercation between troops led by Wellington vs Napoleon in Belguim in 1815....

I voted for British intervention in the form of the Duke of Wellington. The guerrillas were a help but are possibly exaggerated - they sometimes harassed British or Spanish regulars as well as the French.
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