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Napoleon and all the rest

by on 15/05/2015

Response to the essay:

where is writen, “….. Napoleon was a criminal against humanity ought to be taught.

To my opinion Napoleon was much more than that. First he was child of the French revolution, and as such he was penetrated by the ideas of the Revolution. French revolution was not only about politics of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and was more than Robespierre, Marat, Fouche and other murderers, it was also about letting new scientific ideas to enter the major stage of the history. Why would Napoleon invade Egypt, if not because of his intellectual interest in antics. The result of his invasion was establishing Egyptology, a whole new science and of course the Rosetta Stone. Also his attitude towards statehood management and military was rational and modern for his time, full of new initiations, courage, charisma and military skill. He was in a way unlucky that the steam power was developed ausgerechnet in Great Britain and not in France. If opposite, most probably he would recognize the great potential of this media and utilize it.
If to characterize Napoleon, he was in first place a military adventurer, who was ready always to risk all, to try to achieve a victory. His victory in Austerlitz has lot to do with his extraordinary skill to have a right perspective of the battle field, but also with luck and incompetence of the old style military leadership.
He changed for ever how wars are fought, what it means military power and how a state should be governed. After Napoleon the statehood couldn’t remain to be a private estate of few aristocrats, who for generations inherited their Plutocratic position, without any contribution to the society. He brought ideology of nationalism, (for good and for bad), as an idea that can recruit people under one flag and as a force to be reckon with. Also it is important to mention that Naploen is after all man of his time, and of eighteen, beginning of nineteen century, and couldn’t resists the temptation of entering the human history on the waves of fairytales.
Europe and consequently the world would be very different without Napoleon. What Napoleon did not know, is that political power corrupts, and absolute political power absolutely corrupts. (or maybe he knew, but felt to be above it).
Napoleons fall started with his coronation by the pope, which was in a way act of his attachment to the history. He in a way saw himself as the modern Charlemagne. Ironically his downfall started with the great victory in Austerlitz. There he started to see himself as a being destined to govern the world. Or maybe it was earlier? Maybe with his coronation? Hard to say. Anyway he had the chance to do it right path but he has chosen the wrong one.
Of course he was as inhumanly criminal as anybody else in his position at that time. And after Austerlitz he thought that nothing can stop him. This is when he lost his right tactical but also strategic vision and made many unfortunate mistakes. His focusing in trying to decimate GB as competing superpower, his invasion to Spain, and finally of course his invasion to Russia were huge mistakes and devastating. Not to speak about selling Luisiana to Jefferson for nuts, and enabling him to fix the slavery as a wide spread economic tool in the southern states of US.
You can say, it is easy to criticize him now from the perspective of 200 years. But i think, if he would be more attentive to the advise from other people, let them freely speak out, like Talleyrand, some of his main strategic mistakes wouldn’t have to happen.
His continuous urge to be involved in new wars, could have been satisfied with a different strategy. For example, if he could focus his efforts in Balkans and freeing the Greeks, the Bulgarians and Serbs from the Ottoman rule. These nation would adore him for it. He could weaken the Ottoman empire, and threaten this way the British, if he had such a big urge to do it. He could even occupy the eastern and northern parts of modern Turkey, (including Constantinople- Byzantine- Istambul), at the time with great Christian Greek and Armenian population. This would probably change the curse of history for better. This could unite Europe. Balkans was at the time, very much as in these days too, sphere of Russian interest. The Russians saw themselves as patrons of the Eastern Christians in their essence. Maybe they would even agree to strake a deal with the Russians to let Poland to be part of Bonapartic European Union, and not part of the Russian Eastern-Byzantine kingdom. Of course all this is only speculation about alternative history. What if. (Wenn das Wörtchen wenn nicht wär wär mein Vater Millionär). Yes, i was swept away with my fantasy. Napoleon could have done the world to a better place, but instead he made it to a worst place. Hitler, Stalin and even the rise of militaristic Islam are all results of his strategic mistakes.

From → History, MENUE

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