The Napoleonic Wars took place between the years 1803 and 1815 and was one of the first 'world wars'. It was caused by Napoleons hatred of non French accents. Possibly.
Just The Facts
The Napoleonic Wars were contested in the 19th century, not in a video store between 2 skinny, ginger uber geeks desperate to get the last copy of their favorite film.
The main 2 sides were France and Britain. Oddly it took the French 12 years to surender. The longest period in history without them surrendering.
Two of Europes most famous battles were fought in this conflict, Trafalgar and Waterloo. Only 1 person was in both battles, fighting against the British in the first he swiftly swapped sides in order to survive the second.
The French Empire and her allies were led by Napoleon Bonaparte, a man who hated the French and… hang on! He hated the French?
That’s right, the man who went on to become Emperor of France was born on an island called Corsica just 1 year after it was gifted to France by the country which was to eventually form part of Italy. Napoleon was named after his uncle who died fighting the French, and once he was old enough to understand young Bonaparte swore an oath to destroy all things French. Or so we here at Cracked choose to believe, it would make a brilliant movie. Boneanator 4: Rise of The Corsicans.
Napoleon graduated as an artillery officer in 1 year rather than the 2 required by the rest of the French army. Whether this was down to his military brilliance or the fact that everyone else taking the course was French will never be known.
Eventually Napoleon got bored of shooting bits of metal the size of his head and instead decided to take over the world, one country at a time. For years Napoleon made his family proud by reinstating slavery and beating every commander put against him, except for two…
When Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself Emperor of France he decided to right the wrongs done to his country in the past, starting with getting more living space. Trouble was the British Navy was preventing him from doing the same as the rest of Europe and claiming bits of the Americas, so Napoleon decided on a course of action that a little over a century later would be copied by a short German painter and invaded the nearby countries instead.
Britainwas not going to put up with that, not if they weren't allowed to join in, and so declared war. The biggest the British Army managed to get to was 220,000, for some reason Napoleons two and a half million soldiers weren't worried. The rest of the world looked on and giggled while placing bets how long France would last.
In order to prove a point Napoleon decided to start by taking down the Limeys by facing them at their strongest point with his weakest. That’s what Chuko Liang said yeah (see The 6 Greatest Battlefield Mindfucks)?
The French and Spanish Navies joined forces and got into a bit of a barny with the British Navy off the coast of a little place called Trafalgar. The combined French and Spaniards not only outnumbered and outgunned the British but got nearly 20 minutes of shooting at them before Lord Nelson had his ships where they could return fire.
This is where it went horribly, horribly wrong.
Despite the numerical superiority of the combined forces they suffered horribly, 5,781 casualties against the British 1,666. Rumour that the 666 were sacrificed to ensure victory is unconfirmed...
Bored of losing against the British at sea and the Russians on land Napoleon decided instead to invade his allies. Spain fell quickly, city by city. Though how they lost the city of Barcelona to the ruse of an entire army faking being wounded is unknown, we here at Cracked assume the entire inhabitants of the city were running round exclaiming they were from Barcelona in the hope of being left alone. [Citation needed]
With a string of victories behind them, including defeating the British in battle after battle, the French were feeling cocky as they marched into Portugal. After all what could they do?
OH MY GOD WHATS THAT!?
With the efficiency normally associated with, well, French spies, the French agents in Portugal somehow managed to miss the building of a line of connected forts that stretched over 43 kilometres! And that was only the first of 3 lines. The French took one look, chewed a bit of garlic sausage and wandered away in worry.
But nothing to worry Napoleon has he had a cunning plan. Invade Russia during winter, yet another plan stolen by Hitler as nothing could go wrong there.
While Napoleon was looking for a woolly scarf and hat the British decided it wasn't fair that the French should be the only ones to fight on two fronts and realised that now would be the ideal time to get into a war with the only other country in the world that had a serviceable navy that trained as much as the British one. Yeah, once again America was late to a war in Europe.
This time however America was unable to help the French (now you know where it started...) and The Empire deflated under the attentions of Lord Wellington. Eventually the French followed form and surrendered. To ensure that Europe would be free from war the British decided to get rid of Napoleon FOREVER. And so they exiled him to a nearby island. Oh boy...
So, yeah, what’s a deposed Emperor to do? Maybe escape and claim back his throne. Yeah, sounds good.
Napoleon reclaimed the throne of France and to ensure he didn't suffer the same defeat as the first time and decided to, well, do exactly the same thing by invading Europe again. This time even the Germans laughed at the stupidity and decided to join the winning side.
Despite being massively outnumbered Napoleon decided to fight the Coalition while paying ABBA to record the conflict in song form.
All wars should be like this; maybe The Dixie Chicks could do one on Vietnam. With his allies from last time now on the side facing him Napoleon decided to go balls to the wall and attack anyway and, in the best traditions of the French, got beaten and surrendered.
Once again Napoleon was exiled to an island, seems the British never quite understood the mistake from the first time. Luckily for Europe Napoleon died before he could escape again. Lucky timing for America as he was planning to escape via submarine before setting up a new Napoleonic Empire in Texas, and we all know what Napoleon was like as a neighbour.