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  • After the third and fourth Coalition wars,

  • Napoleon had decisively defeated all three

  • of his main rivals on the continent.

  • And he was now undoubtedly the master of Europe,

  • After the battle of Friedland, his enemy sued for peace

  • and they all met on a raft on a river for negotiations.

  • They had been fighting for the past four years

  • but now Napoleon and Alexander surprisingly got

  • along like a house on fire.

  • They laughed together.

  • They chatted long into the night.

  • They kissed, the two had a lot

  • of mutual respect and Napoleon even told his wife

  • that if Alexander were a woman,

  • I would make him my mistress,

  • kind of a weird thing to say to your wife, Napoleon.

  • In the end, they came to an amicable agreement.

  • Russia would lose barely any land.

  • And in return they'd joined France

  • against the UK and invade Sweden, win-win.

  • On the other hand, Frederick William III was sidelined

  • and Prussia lost an enormous amount

  • of territory to French client states.

  • Only the UK remained as the last major threat

  • to Napoleon and they continued to be a big thorn

  • in his side, constantly funding his enemies

  • and using their powerful Navy to wreak havoc

  • on French trade and overseas colonies.

  • But what could Napoleon do?

  • The British were safe across the channel.

  • Well, he said, "If I can't fight you with guns

  • I'll fight you with money."

  • Earlier 1806, Napoleon had announced the continental system.

  • A total shut off of the UK from continental trade.

  • No one in Europe was to trade with Britain

  • and Napoleon hope that by hitting their economy

  • he could force them to negotiate.

  • The British economy did take a hit

  • and they responded in their typical fashion

  • by going to Copenhagen and blowing a bunch of stuff up.

  • But in general, the British managed to stay afloat

  • by simply increasing their trade

  • with other parts of the world.

  • Many neutral countries found themselves stuck

  • between a rock and a hard place.

  • As the two European superpowers demanded

  • they ceased trade with the enemy.

  • Hey America, you better not trade with the French.

  • We also can burn down the white house.

  • What? This is going to wreck my economy.

  • I need to start saving money.

  • How the heck am I going to start saving money?

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  • Now, where were we?

  • Oh yeah, making peace with the Russians,

  • a continental blockade and blowing up Copenhagen.

  • Sick of being blown up

  • for doing almost nothing and under significant pressure

  • from Napoleon the Danish officially sided with France.

  • But Napoleon's blockade had the biggest effect

  • on continental Europe who were now cut off

  • from a major trading partner.

  • One that controlled the seas and held a rich growing empire.

  • And a lot of countries didn't fully comply.

  • Portugal, a traditional British ally, refuse to take part.

  • No problem.

  • Napoleon sent an army and invaded,

  • but it wasn't just Portugal.

  • Many of Napoleon's allies were also suspect.

  • Your majesty it seems that Spain

  • isn't properly enforcing your blockade.

  • Spain, why not?

  • Well, it appears, they've been trying to find a way out

  • of being your ally since they lost their fleet of Trafalgar.

  • What is with these people?

  • It's almost like everyone's only pretending to be my ally

  • because they know otherwise I'd beat them up.

  • Do I even have any real friends?

  • Are you my friend Pierre, say yes or I'll slap you.

  • Napoleon had come to mistrust his ally to the south.

  • And in particular Napoleon thought the Spanish

  • Royal family were an incompetent mess.

  • All right, Carlos, you've got to get it together.

  • How can I trust you, when all you do is go hunting?

  • Meanwhile, you let this ambitious nobody

  • who dislikes me run the country.

  • And you seem to be the only person

  • in the universe who doesn't realize he's blinking your wife.

  • And what's worse, who the heck are you?

  • I'm the king son.

  • I just over through my dad.

  • So actually now I'm the king.

  • You people are the biggest cluster of shameless

  • narcissistic idiots and all around

  • just the worst people I've ever met.

  • Here have a kid's choice award.

  • French forces, many having conveniently already

  • entered Spain to invade Portugal, occupied Spanish forts

  • and Napoleon invited the Spanish Royals

  • to France to help mediate their differences.

  • (audience cheering)

  • Alright, we're here with the Royal family of Spain.

  • So Fernando, you've been accused of plotting

  • against your father and vying for the Spanish throne.

  • What do you have to say for yourself?

  • Well, Napoleon...

  • That's great.

  • Well, I've got the test results right here,

  • Fernando in the case of the Spanish throne,

  • you are not the king.

  • (audience laughing)

  • And Carlos, you are also not the king.

  • (audience laughing)

  • I'm the King.

  • (audience cheering)

  • Actually Napoleon made his brother the king,

  • but for all intents and purposes, Spain was now his puppet.

  • He expected the Spanish people to be over the moon

  • at the removal of their unpopular Royal family.

  • Imagine his surprise when it turned out

  • that people don't really like to be subjugated

  • by a foreign power least of all one who had previously

  • attacked the Catholic church.

  • And so the people of Spain revolted.

  • Brutal fighting broke out as bands of armed Spaniards,

  • ambushed French troops across the kingdom

  • and vicious atrocities were committed on both sides.

  • In addition to fighting the regular Spanish

  • and Portuguese forces,

  • the French had to contend with tens of thousands

  • of guerrilla fighters throughout the Spanish countryside.

  • The British even took the opportunity to land an army led

  • by the future Duke of Wellington.

  • and now British forces were defeating French ones on land.

  • Napoleon briefly went to Spain in person,

  • and he did drive back the allied armies.

  • But before long, his attention was needed elsewhere.

  • The whole thing became a nightmare for the emperor.

  • He excelled at traditional warfare,

  • but this was something more akin to Napoleon's Vietnam.

  • The whole conflict would keep hundreds of thousands

  • of French soldiers and resources bogged down for years.

  • Napoleon was never able to break the will

  • the Spanish people

  • and this problem weakened his position in Europe.

  • Hey, Francis, want to go to war with Napoleon again?

  • I don't know Britain, he's already whomped me three times.

  • I'll give you a bazillion pounds.

  • Well, okay.

  • Seeing that Napoleon was now caught up in Spain

  • and with some British funding, Austria decided maybe,

  • just maybe this time they'd have a chance.

  • So did they?

  • No.

  • Napoleon defeated them in just four months?

  • It was quick, but it wasn't exactly easy.

  • The Austrians had been watching Napoleon

  • and learning and they had made some reforms,

  • while Napoleon after years of war

  • was increasingly having to rely

  • on inexperienced conscripts.

  • So this time the Austrians gave him a run for his money.

  • The Fifth Coalition saw some of the bloodiest battles

  • to date, including Napoleon's first major defeat.

  • And when he did finally defeat the Austrians

  • at the Battle of Wagram, it was a very costly victory.

  • Still Napoleon had yet again, kicked Francis' butt

  • and as part of the peace terms,

  • Austria lost a bunch more land.

  • not long after however Napoleon

  • and Francis came to another agreement.

  • It was decided that Napoleon would marry Francis'

  • young daughter, but wait,

  • doesn't Napoleon already have a wife.

  • Well, yes he did.

  • Josephine and Napoleon had become quite fond of one another.

  • But now that Napoleon was playing the Monarch game,

  • he needed a male heir

  • and his aging wife wasn't giving him one.

  • So it was out with the old and in with the new.

  • at least he didn't behead anyone.

  • For Austria, they felt that if Napoleon

  • was going to keep on winning,

  • they may as well be on his side.

  • So through the marriage,

  • Napoleon got an alliance with Austria

  • and a beautiful baby potato.

  • Between them failing blockade against Britain,

  • the ongoing war in Spain

  • and now his recent struggles in Austria,

  • cracks in Napoleon's invincibility were beginning to show.

  • But still, look at this map.

  • So blue, so beautiful, even Sweden after being pulverized

  • by Russia, over through their king.

  • And after an interesting chain of events,

  • ended up putting one of Napoleon's own marshals in charge.

  • Marshall Bernadotte took the name Karl Johan

  • and became crown prince of Sweden.

  • After agreeing to join Napoleon's continental system,

  • for now, Sweden was team France.

  • Napoleon was on top of the world.

  • He had won an endless string of victories.

  • All he had to do now was sit back and not make

  • any major miscalculations that could completely

  • turn the tide of war.

  • So let's see what comes next.

  • France's alliance with Russia was a terrifying prospect.

  • Together, the two could have been unstoppable,

  • but unfortunately, the alliance didn't last.

  • The Russians felt they weren't getting a fair deal.

  • Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw right on their doorstep,

  • was a bit of an insult.

  • And then their economy began to tank

  • because of Napoleon's British blockade.

  • And eventually they began to open up trade.

  • Your majesty, it seems Alexander is no longer abiding

  • by the continental system and has begun trading

  • with the British.

  • Alexander, but he kissed me.

  • He kissed you?

  • You wouldn't get it, Pierre.

  • No one would ever kiss you.

  • The security of Napoleon's empire depended on removing

  • the British threat and he wasn't happy

  • with Russia's backdoor shenanigans.

  • And so in 1812, Napoleon decided to go to war.

  • He gathered together the most massive army

  • Europe had ever seen,

  • made up of troops from every corner of his empire.

  • And he prepared to invade.

  • Okay, it looks like Napoleon's coming for us.

  • Generals, I need ideas.

  • We could stand and fight.

  • No that's stupid.