Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Tsar Liberates Europe - LSE Dominic Lieven

Was Russia a marginal power that simply reacted to the threat from Napoleon and simply ended up with an army in Paris as a result of a series of unwise actions on the part of the French tyrant?  That may not be what historians say explicitly, but it is how the story often gets told.

But what if the Russians were well informed, pro-active and sophisticated players who worked out the character of the French Empire and used their intelligence to thwart it with well developed plans, strategies and tactics?  In particular, did their spies know in advance that Napoleon had been long planning to attack them?

Dominic Lieven makes a terrific case that the Russians led by Tsar Alexander knew exactly what they were doing all along.

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