After countless governments (National Assembly, Legislative Assembly, Convention, Directory, Consulate …) Napoleon decided to proclaim himself emperor in 1804 and steadfastly lead France. His victories abroad and the repression he carried out inside the country gave stability, and the French Empire expanded throughout Europe. Napoleon’s military genius made him win over all his enemies, except the United Kingdom and Russia. Against the first he established a continental blockade with which he tried to isolate him. Against Russia, Napoleon led a force of 600,000 men who, however, could not cope with the size and cold of the country.
The strategy that the Russians followed against Napoleon was limited to wait and back. They left the cities and fell back, driving Napoleon’s Army deeper and deeper into the cold. They burned their own capital, Moscow, so that when the French arrived they would not find supplies, weapons, or prisoners. After several months moving around Russia, Napoleon decided to return to Paris. On the way back, in the dead of winter, hundreds of thousands of French soldiers died of cold and hunger. This defeat meant a key event in the falling of the Napoleonic Empire.