After the disaster of the Russian campaign, the debris of the Grande Armée had abandoned Berlin and retired behind the left bank of the Elbe. Napoléon was able to reconstitute an army of 300,000 men by summoning to the colors those young soldiers who soon came to be called by the name « Marie-Louise ». Europe formed a coalition against France: Prussia and Russia wanted to crush Napoléon permanently. Despite his victories during the spring and summer, Austria soon joined the side of the Empire’s enemies. Gigantic maneuvers and great battles followed one after the other within the triangle formed by Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. Whereas his victories were no longer decisive, Napoléon knew now that a single defeat could pull down his Empire !