Статья 'Смоленск в осенне-зимней кампании 1812 года по воспоминаниям современников.' - журнал 'Genesis: исторические исследования' - NotaBene.ru
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Genesis: Historical research

Smolensk in the autumn-winter campaign of 1812 according to the memoirs of contemporaries.

Ovchinnikov Vladimir Mikhailovich

PhD in History

Associate Professor, Department of Methods of Teaching subjects of basic and secondary Education, GAU DPOS SOIRO

214000, Russia, Smolenskaya oblast', g. Smolensk, ul. Rumyantseva, 8, of. 412

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Abstract: The article discusses the main features of the conduct of hostilities in the autumn of 1812 in Russia, and the role of Smolensk in Napoleon's strategic plans for the subsequent period. On the basis of the epistolary heritage, primarily of French contemporaries (both soldiers and officers), the specific aspects of the retreat of the Great Army along the Old Smolensk Road are considered, another facet of the Moscow campaign of the Emperor of all the French is demonstrated. The author also draws attention to the activities of the occupation authorities in Smolensk itself, based on creating conditions for turning the city into a powerful operational base for the entire army. В  The main conclusions of the study are the following theses: 1. Numerous memoirs of contemporaries pay rather close attention to the problem of the retreat of the Great Army to the Smolensk region, giving quite detailed descriptions of both the life itself and the possible prospects for the further course of the campaign. 2. A number of indirect evidences demonstrate attempts to turn the city into an operational base that allows preparing troops for the next campaign in the East, which is indirectly confirmed by descriptions of attempts to create local self-government bodies in the city. 3. Smolensk in numerous French memoirs devoted to the campaign of 1812 was presented as a symbol of the drama that broke out in Russia. 4. In the Russian epistolary heritage of the epoch, the corresponding descriptions contain a sense of transformation of mass consciousness, in the conditions of a new practice for humanity called "total war". 5. In general, summing up the general results of the consideration of Smolensk in the autumn-winter campaign of 1812, it can be argued that its role as a moral barrier in Napoleon's desire to continue hostilities and the importance of the city as a strategic point has been insufficiently studied until now and requires a very deep analysis


Smolensk, retreat, Napoleon, weather conditions, supply, demoralization, forage, epidemics, looting, food

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