Episode 11: Napoleon Bonaparte: Soldier, Strategist, Emperor

Napoleon is admired as one of the greatest strategists ever; he won most of his battles and dictated the terms of the peace treaties that ended his individual wars. Yet in the end, he was defeated, and his empire fell apart. So how great a strategist was he really?

Napoleon’s ‘system of war’ remained the point of reference for generations, interpreted and publicised by Jomini and Clausewitz.

Professor Alan Forrest joins Beatrice and Paul for this episode. A graduate of Aberdeen and Oxford, he was formerly the Chair of Modern History at York University, where he taught from 1989 to 2012. A prolific author, he is the general editor of a 2023 three-volume Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars.


Beatrice Heuser

Senior Associate Fellow

View profile

Paul O’Neill

Senior Research Fellow

Military Sciences

View profile


Explore our related content