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

Feb 2016
4,227
Japan
#31
Why does this draw the ire of Boney's fan club? Bonaparte formally relieved Bernadette of his duties/obligations to France, and when Napoleon tried to get Bernadette to agree to "never take up arms against France", Bernadette refused. But Napoleon still signed/agreed to Bernadette no longer having a "loyalty oath" to France, even without agreeing to "never take up arms against France." Given that Napoleon himself relieved Bernadette of any obligation of loyalty, its is difficult to justify Bernadette's actions as treason, or disloyalty to Napoleon. It would be like if Wellington discharged a soldier from his army, but then flogged him for not reporting to morning formation.

I think what the Boney fan club is more angry about is Bernadette's "questionable" conduct during Austerlitz.
While you are correct, he was not obliged to support France, as a former French Marshall I believe certain Bonerpartists can’t abide that he allied to his former countries enemies. Had he stayed neutral or even joined the continental blockade against GB I think his Austerlitz record would be a minor stain on his record and he’d be rated higher. Ney and Murat blundered more often and to worse effect but are not loathed as much as Bernadotte. So I maintain it is bitterness at turning against Boney that draws ire... though they may try and legitimise it by citing some fog of war mistakes that they forgive in more “loyal” Marshall’s.
 
Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#32
Had he stayed neutral or even joined the continental blockade against GB I think his Austerlitz record would be a minor stain on his record and he’d be rated higher.
I think those Bonapartists who accused Bernadotte of ingratitude should really think about the perspective of that Crown Prince Karl Johann (Bernadotte).

Bernadotte and Napoleon were once the political rivals in the pre-Imperial era, despite of their later reconciliation. Bernadotte never had too much interest to Napoleon's ambitive causes. The elevation of Bernadotte to Marshal was largely attributed to Napoleon's desire of pacifing him to uniting the factions within France, rather than having anything to do with reward of personal loyalty. Although his wife's older sister was the older brother of Napoleon, two men never had much spiritual connections other than the political and military business, unlike the much closer relationship between Berthier and Napoleon, with the former one funnily dubbed "Napoleon's wife", or the close friendship between Lannes and Napoleon, or like the Napoleonic admirer de Segur who wrote a memoir for the Napoleonic War. In general, Bernadotte never had much enthusiasm to serve Napoleon, or much gratitude to Napoleon's reward ; it was just a fate that made him a subordinate of the Emperor.

Just right at the first month Bernadotte assumed the Swedish regency as Crown Prince Karl Johann in November 1810, Napoleon had already "scared" him by sending an ultimatum : carrying out the continent blockade policy and declare war on Britain, otherwise the French Empire would impose sanction upon Sweden along with Dennark and Russia. And in early AD 1812, Napoleon even went far to seize Pomerania and Rugen Island, directly trampled the Swedish national honor and sovereignty ! This was how Napoleon humilitated and treated Bernadotte as his "own pawn", how could you expect any "gratitude" from Bernadotte ?

Indeed, Bernadotte showed the outstanding talent as a great monarch. He bore Napoleon's unreasonable demand by complying it on the surface while plotting anti-Napoleon alliance with Russia and Britain in secret, and also planning for the annexation of Norway fron Denmark. He did not abandon negotiation with Napoleon until the French Invasion of Russia, playing the "double-snake" stratagem with a good sense of balance.

Sweden, such a second-rated European power, was able to play a major role in the organization of the Sixth Coalition with Karl Johan even became the commander of Nordarmee which was consisted of Russian, Prussian, Swedes exerting great influence in strategic planning and diplomacy. All these achievements substantiated Bernadotte's excellent talents as a statesman. He ended up with a triumphal Treaty of Kiel which satisfied his and his subjects's inherent desire - the nice ending for his scheme, though his greater fancy of becoming the French king failed.

Overall, it was Napoleon to be blamed for the ruining of the Franco-Swedish relations, not Bernadotte who tried hard to avoid the direct confrontation with the French Empire and meditate the Franco-Russia conflict for the regional stability instead.
 
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Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,514
#33
I think those Bonapartists who accused Bernadotte of ingratitude should really think about the perspective of that Crown Prince Karl Johann (Bernadotte).

Bernadotte and Napoleon were once the political rivals in the pre-Imperial era, despite of their later reconciliation. Bernadotte never had too much interest to Napoleon's ambitive causes. The elevation of Bernadotte to Marshal was largely attributed to Napoleon's desire of pacifing him to uniting the factions within France, rather than having anything to do with reward of personal loyalty. Although his wife's older sister was the older brother of Napoleon, two men never had much spiritual connections other than the political and military business, unlike the much closer relationship between Berthier and Napoleon, with the former one funnily dubbed "Napoleon's wife", or the close friendship between Lannes and Napoleon, or like the Napoleonic admirer de Segur who wrote a memoir for the Napoleonic War. In general, Bernadotte never had much enthusiasm to serve Napoleon, or much gratitude to Napoleon's reward ; it was just a fate that made him a subordinate of the Emperor.

Just right at the first month Bernadotte assumed the Swedish regency as Crown Prince Karl Johann in November 1810, Napoleon had already "scared" him by sending an ultimatum : carrying out the continent blockade policy and declare war on Britain, otherwise the French Empire would impose sanction upon Sweden along with Dennark and Russia. And in early AD 1812, Napoleon even went far to seize Pomerania and Rugen Island, directly trampled the Swedish national honor and sovereignty ! This was how Napoleon humilitated and treated Bernadotte as his "own pawn", how could you expect any "gratitude" from Bernadotte ?

Indeed, Bernadotte showed the outstanding talent as a great monarch. He bore Napoleon's unreasonable demand by complying it on the surface while plotting anti-Napoleon alliance with Russia and Britain in secret, and also planning for the annexation of Norway fron Denmark. He did not abandon negotiation with Napoleon until the French Invasion of Russia, playing the "double-snake" stratagem with a good sense of balance.

Sweden, such a second-rated European power, was able to play a major role in the organization of the Sixth Coalition with Karl Johan even became the commander of Nordarmee which was consisted of Russian, Prussian, Swedes exerting great influence in strategic planning and diplomacy. All these achievements substantiated Bernadotte's excellent talents as a statesman. He ended up with a triumphal Treaty of Kiel which satisfied his and his subjects's inherent desire - the nice ending for his scheme, though his greater fancy of becoming the French king failed.

Overall, it was Napoleon to be blamed for the ruining of the Franco-Swedish relations, not Bernadotte who tried hard to avoid the direct confrontation with the French Empire and meditate the Franco-Russia conflict for the regional stability instead.
Bernadotte continued with the general line of Swedish foriegn policy.

Swedish trade like Russian relied much on Britian their natural trading partner. Once Napoleon took Pomerania he really lost any real effetcive leverish on the Swedes.
 
Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#34
Bernadotte continued with the general line of Swedish foriegn policy.
I think he conducted much change to the Swedish foreign policy :

1. The effort for complete annexation of Norway for the unification of the Scandinavian in order to securing the "natural borders"
2. Reconciliation with Russia and relinquishment of Finland
3. Isolate Sweden from the European continental matters by adopting perpetual neutrality stance
4. Practicing the peaceful way for personal union with other country (Norway) without bloodshed by respecting constitution and parliament (it was the unprecedented accomplishment in the history of Sweden !), so other countries would view the political union as rightfully procedured in voluntariness rather than conquest by brute force

Karl XIV (Bernadotte) was just like the Swedish version of Augustus, he laid the foundation for the peaceful, constitutional and prospering modern Sweden which would keep inherting his legacy afterward.