Austerlitz 2020 – 215th anniversary of the Battle of the Three Emperors

We are preparing the 215th anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz (December 2nd, 1805), the Battle of the Three Emperors – Austerlitz 2020, which will take place on November 27th–29th. In June 2020, great re-enactment commemorations were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic: the 220th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo (June 14th, 1800), the 205th anniversary of the battles of Ligny (June 16th, 1815) and Waterloo (June 18th, 1815). The anniversary of Austerlitz will present the Napoleonic era with program inspired by one of the most important battles of history.

The event is being prepared by the Central European Napoleonic Society, Tvarožná and Prace communities and Austerlitz z.s. The event is financially supported by the South Moravian Region.

At Austerlitz, the Emperor of the French Napoleon I has decided, within a span of few hours, the outcome of the 1805 campaign and the entire war of the 3rd coalition. The defeated Russian Emperor Alexander I and his army have left the Central Europe; the war between France and Russia would however continue until 1807, ending with the battle of Friedland and the Tilsit peace treaty. The Austrian Emperor Francis I accepted the conditions of armistice signed on the 6th December 1805 at chateau Austerlitz and later also the conditions of the severe Presburg peace treaty signed on the 26th December. The severity of these conditions and Napoleon’s rising influence in Germany led in three years to another conflict between Austria and France, the war of 1809, culminating in Moravia again, at the battle of Znaim. The Napoleonic epopee continued by the Russian campaign of 1812, the war of the 6th coalition in 1813–1814 and culminated by the battle of Waterloo.

Video from the 214th anniversary of 2019 – Austerlitz 2019:

Every year, at the turn of November and December, on the occasion of the anniversary of the battle of Slavkov (Austerlitz), more than a thousand of „Napoleonic soldiers“ from all around Europe (and in some cases even the world) gather in southern Moravia to commemorate an encounter, renowned in the world under the German name of the nearby town – Austerlitz – or as the Battle of Three Emperors, namely the French Emperor Napoleon, the Austrian Emperor Franz and the Russian Emperor Alexander. The battle, which French Professor Tulard compares to the game of poker rather than that of chess, even two hundred years later fascinates not only military historians and is rightly regarded as Napoleon’s greatest victory, the opposite of Waterloo. It is the biggest regularly taken event commemorating Napoleon in the world.

Mark Schneider, Napoleon of Austerlitz since 2005

The main points of the memorial events program are Saturday’s re-enactment of the battle taking place near the village of Tvarožná under the Santon Hill on the northern edge of the historic battlefield, remarkable for its size of approximately 10 × 12 kilometres. On Sunday noon on the Pratzenberg, the place of the cruelest fights of the battle, in front of the Peace Monument dedicated to war victims, an act of piety takes place to commemorate not only military but also civilian victims of the Battle of Austerlitz. These memorial events do not celebrate Napoleon or his victory let alone wars and battles. Political and war events that have radically influenced and then for a long time divided Europe have become a reason for meeting and sharing common interest of many people in many countries of the world. The goal of such events is a commemoration and cognition of the common European history.

The theme of this year’s re-enactment held on the occasion of the 215th anniversary of the Battle of the Three Emperors will be Napoleon’s “Lion’s Leap” and the decisive struggle on the Pratzen Heights, with an emphasis on moments colorfully described in his memoirs by French Brigadier General Thiébault. You will see infantry, cavalry and artillery maneuvering and fighting according to the principles of the period, and in greater numbers than usual. Two divisions of Napoleon’s “Grande Armée” will compete for the “Pratzen Hill” and the “Stare Vinohrady” with the center of the coalition army. Emperor Napoleon will be portrayed by Mark Schneider from Viginia, who has been playing this role at Austerlitz regularly since 2005.

Program

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

  •     15:30 – 16:30 Kučerov, presentation of units and combat re-enactment in the square

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

  •     Military-historical colloqium, Peace Monument

Friday, November 27, 2020

  •     17:30 Fires on Žuráň Hill, organized by the community of Podolí

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

  •     07:30 Žuráň, Sun of Austerlitz ceremony, parade of the French troops
  •     09:00 Tvarožná, line-up of the Coalition army
  •     10:30 – 12:00 Santon, battlefield – infantry and cavalry maneuvers
  •     14: 00-15: 30 Re-enactment of the Battle of the Three Emperors – Tvarožná

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

  •     12:00  Piety act, Peace Monument

Change of programme reserved.

Austerlitz 2020 facebook event

The head of organization of Austerlitz commemorative events in 1990 and 1991 and every year since 1998 is Mr. Miroslav Jandora, who was honored by the French National Order of Merit, Ordre national du mérite, in December 2019. The Project Austerlitz was established in 1997 with the aim of preparation of the 200th anniversary in 2005, and has been organizing commemorative events at Austerlitz continuously since 1998, ie over two decades. It is the largest regularly held Napoleonic event in the world, and the only winter event of a similar theme and size. Every year around 1000 re-enactors from all over Europe and overseas take part, in 2005 there were 3600 participants, a number that was exceeded (for a few hundred) only ten years later at Waterloo.

Reviving military history, re-enactment or reconstitution in French facilitates an insight into the issue differently than books, museums, collections or films do. In Europe it has thousands of enthusiastic fans and thanks to their interest and approach more and more topics concerning uniforms, equipment and weapons are being opened and also everyday life of soldiers (at the turn of 18th and 19th century), duties, small tactics and discipline.