Friday, 22 May 2015

Why we'd be better off if Napoleon never lost at Waterloo

An interesting little article in the Smithsonian today - see "Why we'd be better off if Napoleon never lost at Waterloo"


It's an issue that could be endlessly debated of course, though I lean towards this position myself... Figuring out the complexities and psychologies of 200 years ago is a challenge of course. Nice to have this counterpoint to all the boring old anglophile accounts at any rate.


I also listened to the Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast last year, which takes a similar positive view. Over 100 hours of listening there! Great to have these things to listen to while painting.


7 comments:

  1. Interesting article! Thanks for sharing that. History can be debated endlessly if one wills, but I must say that I'm inclined to agree with the writer as well. The anglocentric viewpoint of Brits saving the day are getting a bit old, especially considering it wasn't even British troops that managed to turn back the Guard etc...

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  2. I'll look into this. I've long been something of a fan of Napoleon - it is my belief the world badly needs a Napoleon Bonaparte right now. Mind you, like Marius, he might not be so easily persuaded to give up 'office' once he served his purpose...

    Incidentally, I was reading J.F.C. Fuller's 'Decisive Battles' the other day, and found this. In 1848, France was shaken be a revolt and insurrection to the point that the Duke of Wellington wrote: "France needs a Napoleon! I cannot yet see him.... Where is he?"

    Well, he was soon to emerge ... literally...

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  3. Read the article. It's a point of view! You might be interested in Fred Kagan's dense and detailed account of Napoleon's career. Bit of an eye opener, particularly on the politics. I didn't realise how close Prussia came to an alliance with France in 1805...

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  4. So, Napoleon had 'No more territorial ambitions in Europe'.?

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  5. Thanks for posting that link Mark. It's further inspiration as we prepare to change history, again and again, should we need it!

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  6. Rob, AKA "Naploleon" in our 100 days Campaign-in-a Day, penned a nice fictional retrospective from Malamison 10+ years later, detailing how after defeating the allies in June 1815, he went on to do the same to Austria and Prussia in the functional Rhine campaign, and that resulted in a lasting peace... and Marshal's batons for Gerard, Vandamme, D'Erlon, Reynier, Kellermann, and Nansouty! It is certainly a "what if" that could be debated endlessly. Certainly the Bourbon rule did little for France thereafter!

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  7. Great comments, thanks all!

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