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date: 20 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Contrary to the influential myth propagated by Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the Russian war effort in 1812–14 was in reality intelligently conceived and purposefully executed under the overall direction of Alexander I, who was his own foreign minister and also played a significant role in military planning. Having analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian armies, the efficiency of their supply lines, the mobilization of Russian manpower, and the significance of the Russian horse industry, the chapter concludes by examining the consequences of victory over Napoleon. Russian backwardness as revealed in the Crimean War owed less to the failings of Nicholas I than to the fact that the Industrial Revolution originated on Europe’s Western periphery and then took several generations to extend first to central and then to southern and eastern regions of the continent.

Keywords: Napoleon, Alexander I, Nicholas I, Barclay de Tolly, Georg Kankrin, Tolstoy, Battle of Borodino, military planning, general staff, supply, horses, partisan raids, Russian economic backwardness

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