Hello, my fellow Napoleonicist (and French Revolutionaries). We often talk about decisive turning points in a battle, campaign, conflict, or history more broadly. So, in a period of history marked by political, social and military changes, what do you feel are the most important or decisive, or other significant moments of the period. Obviously context will play a part in what you choose, but I don't want to limit you all, so fire away. Military, political, social, it's your choice, just make the case.
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One of the most significant events didn't actually involve the man himself. It was the policy of Austrian Foreign Minister Thugut in the summer of 1798 (although it was his idea from 1793) to include Russian troops in a war against France. It meant the first intervention by Russian troops in central Europe, after an abortive effort in 1762, whose reversal had saved Frederick the Great. Expanding her influence into Europe had been a key goal of Russian policy for a century since Peter the Great and lasted certainly to 1989, even arguably up to today. Although Austria had always needed allies to take on France, it represented an implicit recognition of the reality of France and Russia being the key land powers with Austria as a buffer in between. It would take Napoleon to Moscow and Russian troops to Paris in 1814, which itself led to the Decemberists of 1820 and the first cracks in the Russian autocracy.
In terms of prescient comments, in January 1801, Charles wrote to Emperor Franz that "an empire like Austria does not collapse without shaking all of Europe in its death throes".
When the midwife said to Letizia "It's a boy!" After all, the entire epoch is named after him.
I would like to make the case for the invasion/occupation of Portugal in 1807-8. To my mind, it was the first demonstration of over stretch by Napoleon, and led to the ultimately catastrophic decision to go on and occupy Spain. All of this at a time when a lasting European settlement should have been within his grasp. Arguably though, that has its origins in Tilsit, and in the insistence on forcing the continental system on all of Europe without exception...