October 8th, 2015
After a dizzying rise to power, the 35 year old Napoleon Bonaparte faced his downfall in the summer of 1805 when first Russia and then Austria allied themselves with Britain to destroy the French Empire. A fourth great power, the kingdom of Prussia, waited in the wings for Napoleon to falter and would then join the alliance too. Deciding not to wait while his enemies slowly mobilized, Napoleon and his Grande Armee, encamped for nearly two years at Boulogne waiting to invade England, broke camp and marched east. This is the story of how Napoleon defeated his enemies, winning his greatest military triumph at Austerlitz and broke the alliance in just four months time on December 2, 1805. This campaign, culminating in this famous battle, is the supreme accomplishment of the greatest
military mind of his age and, perhaps, of any age.
July 19th, 2015
As Winston Churchill watched the French army march past on Bastille Day, 1939, amid the tensions of Europe, he exclaimed "Thank God for the French army ..." and with good reason. France had the best equipped and largest army on the continent. Further bolstered by the virtually impregnable Maginot Line on its eastern border with Germany, a fleet second only to Britain's and a mighty air force, conventional thinking was that the Franco-British forces could and would defeat Germany's Wehrmacht if need be, or starve Germany to death by blockade. In this episode, we learn how a German general came up with the one plan that might succeed in winning the war and how the Battle of France was lost by the Allies, dooming the continent to five years of slaughter and destruction.