History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary discussion

55 views
Current Topic - Napoleonic Wars > The Peninsular War: 1808-1814

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Here are some possible ideas for discussion.

1. Why did Napoleon decide to invade Portugal?

2. Why did the Spanish turn against Napoleon?

3. Why did the French underestimate General Wellesley?

4. What role did the Spanish Guerillas play in the eventual defeat of the French.

5. Why did Wellesley distrust the Spanish Army and its leaders?

6. Why is this war considered by many to be Napoleon's biggest mistake?


message 2: by Kendall (new)

Kendall (kendallfurlong) | 21 comments In spite of living many years in Brazil where the Peninuslar War is viewed benignly for having forced the Portuguese Crowd to flee to Rio de Janeiro, thus giving Brazil the only aristocratic class in South America, and holding the country together after independence, I don't know much about the continental side. But what the heck, here goes?

1. Vinho do Porto and Vinho Madeira
2. He usurped the throne and put his brother on the throne
3. He ate English cooking
4. The same as the Viet Cong and the Taliban
5. They had their own agenda.
6. The same as Vietnam and Iraq


message 3: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Kendall wrote: "In spite of living many years in Brazil where the Peninuslar War is viewed benignly for having forced the Portuguese Crowd to flee to Rio de Janeiro, thus giving Brazil the only aristocratic class ..."

Tongue, firmly, in cheek, you have penetrated to the core of the Peninsular War. Congratulations!


message 4: by Kendall (new)

Kendall (kendallfurlong) | 21 comments Like the English, just lucky!


message 5: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Kendall wrote: "Like the English, just lucky!"

Reminds me of a line from a satiric skit in Stan Freberg's "The Revolution" about the Battle of Yorktown where General Cornwallis gets up in the morning and announces that it's time to bumble our way to victory.


message 6: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
It's difficult for me to get my mind around the fact that the original reason for France entering Spain was to rid it of the monarchy and install a republican government. Then Nappy turns around and makes his brother, Joseph, King. What does anyone suppose Napoleon was thinking?

Siblingesque psychological theories are welcome.


message 7: by Kendall (new)

Kendall (kendallfurlong) | 21 comments Not surprising, it's what political leaders have always done. Promise what they want to hear to acquire power, then run things to benefit yourself. Sound familiar?


message 8: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 310 comments Mod
I believe I read a quote once from Napoleon, to the theme that people had never forgiven him because he was not a George Washington.


message 9: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) Why is this war considered by many to be Napoleon's biggest mistake?

really? why not the Russian campaign?


message 10: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Silvana wrote: " Why is this war considered by many to be Napoleon's biggest mistake?

really? why not the Russian campaign?"


Some people say Russia, some people say Spain.

Spain because it went on and on for years. It also drew British ground forces on to the continent. Also, when he put his brother on the throne, his imperial ambitions were exposed for everyone to see.

Russia was just a campaign from which he recovered. Spain provided the springboard for Britain to invade France.

I'm sure there are other opinions.


message 11: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 310 comments Mod
To my mind, his Egyptian campaign was a massive mistake - but he managed to "manage the press" on it to his advantage.


message 12: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Was the decision to invade Egypt, Napoleon's alone? I don't think he'd gotten supreme power yet.

I also believed, the Egyptian campaign was to lessen British influence in the region. Not so?


message 13: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 310 comments Mod
Napoleon proposed the campaign (though he was not yet in supreme power, as you say). The Directory government went along with it in part to get him out of Paris - they were afraid of his political ambitions.

The campaign's goal was not only to reduce British influence in the area, but to attack British commerce in the area, establish a strong French counter-presence in the middle east, and to link up with Britain's enemies in India, principally Tippoo Sultan.

I'd call a sunken fleet, continuing British trade in the area, rebellion, a large outbreak of the plague in his army, 30,000 dead soldiers (out of 45,000), and failure to meet his grander goals (the Ottomans, with British naval support, turned him back at Acre) "not really a success." And the British re-took Egypt in 1801, acquiring the Rosetta Stone as part of the booty.

Like Caesar in Britain, he sold it at home, though! His propagandists made the most of his victories ("The Battle of the Pyramids" has quite a ring, yes?), and suppressed his defeats, or blamed them on his successor, Kleber.


message 14: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Susanna wrote: "Napoleon proposed the campaign (though he was not yet in supreme power, as you say). The Directory government went along with it in part to get him out of Paris - they were afraid of his political..."

Thanks, Susanna. Great summary! I better go back and refresh my memory on what really happened.


message 15: by Betsy (last edited Aug 12, 2019 07:32AM) (new)

Betsy | 7 comments The Peninsular War is my favorite part of the Napoleonic Wars. It wasn't referred to as 'The Spanish Ulcer' for nothing. I believe it showed that Napoleon and his army didn't know how to handle guerilla warfare compared to the massive land battles they were used to. Then, when they did fight the Anglo-Portuguese army, they weren't dealing with same commanders they had beaten before. The French commanders seemed to fight each other almost as much as their enemy. The 1808-1814 war is totally fascinating as a result.


back to top