Did Napoleon Bonaparte have any chance to keep his throne in the AD 1814 Allied Invasion of France ?

Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#1
Introduction

In the wake of the catastrophic defeat at Leipzig in October 1813, the French army sustained the horrendous loss. Its number was greatly depleted with heavy casualties, countless deserters and stragglers, compound with a chain of defection of the German states. The Confederation of the Rhine was dissolved. Napoleon had completely lost the control over the Central Europe. The worst had to come as the coalition army launched the all-out invasion of France in the next year (AD 1814) ; several-pronged invasive army marched across the Rhine looming onto Paris with over 300,000-strong army. Some people claimed that Napoleon's downfall had already been sealed by this moment. It was just a futile attempt for Napoleon's final resistance against the overwhelmingly powerful coalition army.

However, I disagree with such arbitrary conclusion. In truth, it was not impossible for him to survive the AD 1814 crisis and keep himself on the throne. Although the coalition army looked very formidable in strength on paper, there was much discord, conflicts and weaknesses among them, and the French army in AD 1814 was still a considerable military strength, even though it was a shadow of former strength and heavily outnumbered by counterparts.

In the following posts, I would focus my analyze on these arguments to convince my readers :

Guildline

Argument #1 : Each of coalition powers pursued different and conflicting goals in large extent

Argument #1A : Regime change issue (should Napoleon stayed on the throne ? Who would replace his rule in France after the fall of his regime ?)
Argument #1B : Poland-Saxon Issue
Argument #1C : Apogee of internal discord — Frankfurt Proposals

Argument #2 : The strategic divergence and weaknesses of the coalition army — the "over-cautious" Schwarzenberg VS the "reckless" Blucher

Argument #3 : The dearth of highly-efficient, unified command and control in the coalition army (for example, Tsar Alexander's forceful intervention)

Argument #4 : The quality issue and other difficulties of the coalition army

Argument #5 : The real strength of the "underrated" French army

Source : Napoleon 1814 : The Defence of France by Andrew Uffindell

Just like ever, the topic and conclusion I raised is always fraught with huge controversy (otherwise, it certainly have no value to be debatable, isn't it ?).
Let's discuss and share opinions each other, everybody.
 
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Likes: Futurist

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,514
#2
I dont think it possible.,

(a) Miliatry - no chance, the Allied amries did nothave toi unified or that good. ,
(b) Politics - no one could acceptt Napoleon remaining,.

As long as political will held , Napoleon was gone.
 
Likes: Futurist
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#8
This was their chance to depose him. As soon as the alliance broke up once again into factions, Napoleon would 'persuade' one into to allying with him, and then the whole French conquest thing would start again. Whether this was true or not - and it probably WOULD be true - the other nations believed this. Also they were desperate to once again return France to a monarchy; no king of a European state wanted to see a republic thrive.
 
Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#9
Also they were desperate to once again return France to a monarchy; no king of a European state wanted to see a republic thrive.
That's true. But the problem is....who should be sit on the throne of France afterward ? Napoleon ? He's too ambitive and dangerous ; Bourbon ? Return to absolute monarchy is as dangerous as the previous choice since the country might be plunged into chaos again with huge discontent and revolution ; Bernadotte (that Swedish crown prince who also wanted to be the King of France) ? Tsar Alexander I liked this idea, but Austria and Britain said : NO !

Then just let France return to the republic....of course it was absolutely impossible ! Not a choice at all...

Then how about letting Napoleon degraded to the position of "regency" while letting his half-Habsburg son Napoleon II directly ascended the throne ? Tsar Alexander I liked this idea, too....but Talleyrand persuaded him, this was really not a good choice at all !

Also, even the Duke of Orleans Louis-Philippe was considered an option....

How many choices I have aforementioned in total ? Just count it....six choices (in reality, five) ! You should realize that the Allied army didn't pre-ordained the Bourbons from the beginning, especially Louis XVIII was infamous for his rude and disgraceful behaviour, which greatly "unimpressed" Alexander I.

So the choice was always open ; so complex, so many....intermingled with the rivalty of conflicting interests between coalition powers. History is not so streamlined and obvious as you imagined.
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#10
That's true. But the problem is....who should be sit on the throne of France afterward ? Napoleon ? He's too ambitive and dangerous ; Bourbon ? Return to absolute monarchy is as dangerous as the previous choice since the country might be plunged into chaos again with huge discontent and revolution ; Bernadotte (that Swedish crown prince who also wanted to be the King of France) ? Tsar Alexander I liked this idea, but Austria and Britain said : NO !

Then just let France return to the republic....of course it was absolutely impossible ! Not a choice at all...

Then how about letting Napoleon degraded to the position of "regency" while letting his half-Habsburg son Napoleon II directly ascended the throne ? Tsar Alexander I liked this idea, too....but Talleyrand persuaded him, this was really not a good choice at all !

Also, even the Duke of Orleans Louis-Philippe was considered an option....

How many choices I have aforementioned in total ? Just count it....six choices (in reality, five) ! You should realize that the Allied army didn't pre-ordained the Bourbons from the beginning, especially Louis XVIII was infamous for his rude and disgraceful behaviour, which greatly "unimpressed" Alexander I.

So the choice was always open ; so complex, so many....intermingled with the rivalty of conflicting interests between coalition powers. History is not so streamlined and obvious as you imagined.

I agree that they were left with several options, but they reinstated the Bourbons. Replacing the rightful king with a substitute is a dangerous precedent, especially when it is a foreign power that chooses. This is similar to what Napoleon did, effectively giving countries puppet rulers.

At least now the French had a constitutional monarch, which at least appeased all sides and brought some stability to France.