Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Tsar Liberates Europe : Russia vs. Napoleon

"You cannot just kill a Russian soldier, you must knock him down as well."
- French Proverb

Speaker: Professor Dominic Lieven

This event was recorded on 8 October 2009 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

In 1812-14 Alexander I defeated Napoleon's invasion of Russia and then created and led a European alliance all the way to Paris. This lecture explains why and how he did this. It discusses Russian grand strategy, diplomacy and espionage, as well as the tsarist military machine, and the mobilisation of the home front. 

In both Western and Russian historiography the Russian achievement in 1813-14 is greatly underestimated, which seriously distorts understanding of European power politics and the causes of Napoleon's demise. 

The lecture explains this underestimate partly as a legacy of Leo Tolstoy but also because while 1812 was traditionally seen by Russians as a national war, the victories of 1813-14 were interpreted as the triumph of the dynasty and empire.

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