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German History in Documents and Images
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The Battle of Nations in Leipzig on October 19, 1813 (after 1813)
The French emperor’s defeat by Prussian, Austrian, Russian, and Swedish troops at the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig marked the beginning of the end of Napoleonic rule in Germany. In the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I, approximately 500,000 soldiers fought as Napoleon attempted to break free of encirclement. After heavy losses on both sides, the French were pushed toward the city and cut off from their rear lines. As their position became precarious, Napoleon ordered a westward retreat in the early morning of October 19, 1813. This loss ended his control over Germany and the Confederation of the Rhine. This image shows allied troops storming the inner Grimma Gate. Copperplate engraving by an unknown artist, after 1813.