- Jun 2018
- Santiago del Estero - Argentina
Well after much reading i can conclude that Wagram was in fact a militarily decisive battle, because although it didn’t break the Austrian army nor its will to fight, it clearly broke it enough so as to doom it to lose the war. The evidence of this is that Charles immediately proposed an armistice whose terms were exclusively favorable to the French, and thateventually Austria signed peace terms exclusively favorable to France. This is not done by a country who thinks that still has a chance, however small, to win the war. On the contrary, it’s made by a country whose defeat is already certain (at least if she kept fighting alone, which she was doing so far). It’s similar to the Battle of Kursk in WWII: Most historians agree that after that battle, Hitler was doomed (in fact is often dubbed as the “Waterloo of Hitler”). Well he was doomed, and in that sense it was a decisive battle, yet if you see the immediate results of that decisive victory, it was clearly a pyrrhic one, with the soviets losing almost 5 times more soldiers than the Germans. Well it’s the same with Wagram: It may have been a pyrrhic victory for the French on the immediate/tactic level, but militarily decisive in the long term: It mauled the Austrians enough to condemn them to lose the war no matter how much they could have keep fighting. Again, this is the reason why Charles asked an armistice 4 days after the battle in exclusively favorable French terms, and the reason why Franz accepted so harsh peace terms exclusively favorable to the French. Charles knew that to avoid a disaster and attain the most favorable terms possible, he had to maintain its army intact to use it as a leverage in the negotiations. Basically his reasoning was: “Either we keep fighting until our army is destroyed and with it perhaps the dynasty and the whole empire, or we can make peace and preserve the army, which in itself can be used as a leverage in the negotiations, and thus save the dynasty and empire from potential calamity”. That reasoning proved a success, since Napoleon was eager to make peace, and in doing so without having annihilated the Austrian army, pressed for much milder terms, if still harsh. The reason for the protracted negotiations was because Emperor Franz hoped that the British expedition to Walcheren might divert French troops and help him continue the war, or perhaps Prussia or even Russia enter the war on his side. When the expedition failed, Prussia and Russia made clear they would not intervene, and Napoleon had crushed (or was in the process of doing so) all German revolts, he knew Austria was alone and at the mercy of Napoleon, and so signed the treaty of Schonbrunn.