Napoleon Proclaims the Invasion of Russia
(from Robinson and Beard)

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Napoleon Proclaims the Invasion of Russia

Source: Readings in Modern European History, edited by James Harvey Robinson and Charles Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1906), vol. 2, p. 514, citing Correspondance, vol. 28, p. 528

Napoleon issued the following proclamation to accompany his invasion of Russia.

Soldiers, the second war of Poland has commenced. The first was brought to a close at Friedland and Tilsit. At Tilsit, Russia swore eternal alliance with France and war with England. She now violates her oaths, she refuses to give any explanation of her strange conduct, except on condition that the eagles of France shall repass the Rhine, leaving, by such a movement, our allies at her mercy. Russia is dragged along by a fate. Her destinies must be accomplished. Shall she then consider us degenerate ? Are we no longer to be looked upon as the soldiers of Austerlitz? She offers us the alternative of dishonor or war. The choice does not admit of hesitation.
Let us march forward.
Let us pass the Niemen.
Let us carry war into her territory.
The second war of Poland will be as glorious to the French arms as was the first ; but the peace which we shall conclude will be its own guaranty and will put an end to that proud and haughty influence which Russia has for fifty years exercised in the affairs of Europe.


June, 22, 1812.