Alexander I

Tsar of Russia

Napoleon BonaparteAn on-off supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander ended by being one of the French Emperor's most implaccable foes.

His disenchantment with Bonaparte began with the death of the Duc d'Énghien and led to Russia joining the Third Coalition against France.

His forces took the field in the campaigns that led to the battles of Austerlitz, Eylau and the humiliating defeat at Friedland but his anti-French feelings were changed at the personal meeting with Bonaparte at Tilsit.

Initially drawn into the Continental System of trade, his attitudes began to change when the Russian economy was hurt by the blockade of British goods.

Refusing to be cowed by the appearance of a French army on his borders in 1812, Alexander showed remarkable strength of character to refuse to hold talks with his invader even after the capture and burning of Moscow.

Following Bonaparte's disastrous retreat from his country, Alexander sent army after army to defeat his foe.

When Bonaparte abdicated, the tsar's affection for France returned and he was an important influence on limiting Prussia's demands for vengeance.

Even after the 100 Days' Campaign he was determined to keep the balance of power level in Europe by maintaining France as a political force.

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