Logo Polskiego Radia

1813 Battle of the Nations commemorated

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 21.10.2013 10:34
The 200th anniversary of the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars was commemorated in the German city of Leipzig on Sunday.

History enthusiasts take part in the reconstruction of the battle. Photo: EPA: Jan Woitas

The decisive defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armee by Russian, Prussian, Austrian and Swedish forces led to Bonaparte's exile to the island of Elba, and dealt a crippling blow to Polish hopes for independence.

Martin Schulz. Photo: EPA/Jan Woitas

Some 600,000 soldiers clashed in the so-called Battle of the Nations, between 16 and 19 October 1813, including 15,000 Poles within Napoleon's ranks.

Thousands of history enthusiasts donned uniforms for a reconstruction of the battle on Sunday.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz (pictured left) took part in a ceremony on Friday at the city's vast monument commemorating the battle.

Schulz voiced his anxieties that Europe's debt crisis had reawakened nationalistic streaks in Europe, citing examples of prejudice against the continent's Roma community.

"It is with great concern that I have observed the continued spread of a 'renationalization' in Europe," he said.

“We must all do our part to prevent the return of old ways of thinking that have only ever brought misery to Europe's people,” he said.

Komorowski pays tribute to Marshal Poniatowski

Photo: PAP/Bartlomiej Zborowski

Meanwhile, President Bronislaw Komorowski paid tribute in Warsaw on Saturday to Marshal Jozef Poniatowski, who fell at the battle.

Poniatowski died while covering the French retreat from Leipzig, drowning in the River Elster after sustaining a series of wounds.

The marshal, a nephew of the last king of Poland, was a figurehead for Polish hopes for independence, and his statue takes pride of place today outside the presidential palace.

Komorowski was joined by French ambassador Pierre Buhler in a ceremony at the monument.

“Prince Jozef Poniatowski was an exceptional figure,” Komorowski reflected, adding that the marshal “remained a model of Polish honour after 200 years.”

Poland had been wiped from the map of Europe in the late 18th century by Russia, Austria and Prussia, but Napoleon created the so-called Duchy of Warsaw from parts of the divided lands in 1807. However, the duchy collapsed with the defeat of Bonaparte.

Bonaparte's subsequent escape fron exile on the from the island of Elba, was swifty dealt with by the allies at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. (nh)

Source: PAP

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us