ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 1812 Military Coup Against Napoleon That Failed

Updated on December 25, 2017
Napoleon in Russia
Napoleon in Russia

Conspiracy against Napoleon

Most of us know about the infamous plot to kill Hitler in July 1944. Hitler survived and wreaked a terrible vengeance on the men who had plotted against him including the most famous German general, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Something similar happened in 1812 when General Bonaparte was attacking Russia. In the summer of 1812, Napoleon had advanced against Russia with a force of 600,000 soldiers. The “Grand Army” penetrated deep into Russia with Napoleon leading them forward.

With Napoleon, away disgruntled generals of the French army, who had opposed Napoleon thought it fit to stage a military coup to oust the emperor and seize power. The plan was to present Napoleon with a fait accompli. A rumor was spread that Napoleon had been killed so that the conspirators could carry out their plan

Claude-François de Malet
Claude-François de Malet

The Plot

The plan was both audacious and ingenious. The man behind this plot was General Claude-Francois Malet. This is not a name much known, but he was a key conspirator. He was a general of the French army but had his own ambitions. He had parted from Napoleon because of his ambition. As per reports Malet was born in 1754 and was 58 years old at the time of the coup.

Malet had strong differences with Napoleon and was biding his time to strike back. Napoleon knew his tendencies and had imprisoned him. It was when he was in the Bastille that he hatched this plan for a military coup against Napoleon. He was aided in his plan by a master forger who was also in prison along with him. Both men came to know each other and Abbe Lafon the man who was the master forger suggested that a set of fictitious papers and orders be prepared and use them to stage a military coup. They hoped the plan would succeed and with Napoleon enmeshed in Russia, he would have no choice but to abdicate.

The Coup Attempt

On 23 October 1812, the plan was put into operation. They were helped by the fact that Napoleon was a worried man for though he had captured Moscow, it was a Pyrrhic victory and he was short of food for his grand army. to start with a message was passed to all in the court that Napoleon had been killed.

Malet with a set of forged papers and wearing his full military uniform arrived at the military barracks in Paris. He drove to the barrack and brandishing his forged documents announced he had been authorized to declare a provisional republic as Napoleon was dead. He followed up and showed forged papers which promoted the commander of the military barracks to the next rank. This was a masterstroke as he won over an important man. The commander of the barracks believed him and was grateful for his promotion.

Malet did not reveal his full name but claimed he was general Lamotte( an assumed name). He ordered the newly promoted commander to release two generals namely General Ladurie and Guidal from prison. These generals had been imprisoned by Napoleon for opposing him. The plan was now moving smoothly and general Ladurie, straightaway took command of his old regiment. However, an officer general Hulin got suspicious and asked Malet for his Identity card. Malet had none as he had not forged an I- card for him.

It was an oversight and he had to pay dearly for it. A scuffle between the two took place and general Hulin was shot dead. The sound of the shots alerted soldiers who surrounded Malet and arrested him. The coup then collapsed as General Ladurie was arrested while trying to run away. All the conspirators were herded into the Bastille and the very next day the Court-martial began. News also came that Napoleon was alive and now the conspirators could see the writing on the wall- death sentence.


Execution outside Paris

Failure and execution

The coup like the attempt against Hitler collapsed like a pack of cards. Malet and co-conspirators were tried by a court-martial. Napoleon was incensed when he heard of this news and when the proceedings of the Court-martial were forwarded to him, he approved the death sentences at the stroke of a pen. He could not countenance anyone defying his authority, The news of the death sentence was conveyed to the conspirators and all of them (15 in number) were herded together and taken outside the city of Paris and shot dead. The execution was carried out with clinical efficacy and Napoleon was informed that all the conspirator’s had been executed. He must have heaved a sigh of relief. Napoleon however continued ruling for another 3 years before he was deposed. Mallet is now only a footnote in French history, but in case he has succeeded, it would have been a different story.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)