The Fall of Napoleon: Volume 1, The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814
Crushing defeats in Russia (1812) and Germany (1813) caused the collapse of Napoleon's empire and brought his enemies to the Rhine River at the close of 1813. With a depleted and exhausted army, Napoleon attempted to direct the defense of his frontier from the Alps to the North Sea from Paris while he mobilized France. The new Prometheus watched helplessly as his marshals conducted a headlong retreat from the Rhine to the Marne in less than one month. The breakdown of the French command structure and overwhelming Allied superiority placed the French marshals charged with defending the Rhine in an impossible situation. Although Napoleon needed to use their scant forces to make a desperate stand on the Rhine and away from the administrative apparatus that fed his war machine, the marshals believed they had to trade land for time - the exact opposite of what Napoleon needed to maintain his crown.