16.10.

1813: Leipzig: The Greatest Battle in Europe before the 20th Century

1813: Leipzig: The Greatest Battle in Europe before the 20th Century
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Battle_of_Leipzig_11.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event:
  • The Battle of Leipzig was the first major battle in which Napoleon was decisively defeated. It was the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars in general, which took over 100,000 victims. The coalition forces managed to take Paris next spring (1814).

This day in 1813 marked the beginning of the Battle of Leipzig, in which the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte fought against a coalition of European powers. The battle is also known as the “Battle of Nations” and was likely the largest battle in European history before World War I according to the number of troops involved.

It is estimated that over 600,000 soldiers took part in the battle on both sides – Napoleon’s troops numbered around 225,000, while there were as many as 380,000 on the opposing side. Napoleon’s enemies consisted of the combined forces of the Russian Empire, the Austrian Empire, Prussia, Sweden, Saxony, and Württemberg. The greatest number of coalition troops was provided by Russia – around 145,000 men.

Unusually, there were as many as three emperors near the battlefield – Napoleon, Austrian emperor Francis I, and Russian emperor Alexander I. The Russian emperor himself was in command of the anti-Napoleon coalition, and Field Marshal Prince Karl zu Schwarzenberg, a member of one of the wealthiest German-Bohemian families, also had a significant role in planning the battle.

The Battle of Leipzig was the first major battle in which Napoleon was decisively defeated. It was the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars in general, which took over 100,000 victims. The coalition forces managed to take Paris next spring (1814), while the defeated Napoleon was exiled to Elba. A 91-meter-tall monument weighing around 300,000 tons was built to commemorate the battle, and it is still one of the largest monuments in Europe in general.

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