On this Day in History (12/2/1805): Napoleon Wins at Austerlitz

Napoleon’s Win At Austerlitz – His Greatest Success

 

On December 2, 1805, Napoleon achieved what many consider his greatest success. Outnumbered by the combined armies of the Russian Tsar Alexander I and the Austrian Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, he won a stunning victory at the Battle of Austerlitz.

A Lesson in How to NEVER GIVE UP, despite overwhelming odds!

 

 

August 15, 1769 – 2019 Marks 250 Years Since the Birth of Napoleon — Legal Legacy

Historical Non-Fiction Book of the Month and History Corrected Book Recommendation.

If you just read one book on the Life of Napoleon, read this one.


Most people have no impression of Napoleon other than one of his being short, pompous, exiled, and apt to keep one hand inside his coat. A recent and magnificent biography by Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life, helps to dispel the myths and misinformation, and to edify readers about Napoleon’s brilliance, achievements, and innovations. Many of […]

via August 15, 1769 – 2019 Marks 250 Years Since the Birth of Napoleon — Legal Legacy

Military History: The Waterloo They Remembered

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By Bernard Cornwell

Two hundred years ago, in a shallow valley south of Brussels, three armies fought the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon had returned from exile on Elba to face a coalition of European enemies, who were now determined to oust him a second time. The closest opponents were the Prussian and British-Dutch armies to his north, so he launched a campaign to destroy them both. At Waterloo, on June 18, 1815, he failed.

Two hundred thousand men fought in that shallow valley. By nightfall, a quarter of them were casualties. In Belgium, thousands of re-enactors, dignitaries and soldiers are commemorating the event, while in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London there is a service of remembrance.

But what are we remembering? Few today can say why the battle was fought or what it achieved. The old arguments that drove Europe to a century of war are forgotten, yet there will still be prayers spoken and anthems sung and military bands playing.

No one, at least in the official events, will be so tactless as to suggest that Waterloo was a great victory for the allies and a shocking defeat for Napoleon. Instead the tone will echo the mood of the men and women who survived the day’s carnage, and that tone was somber. Maj. Harry Smith, a vastly experienced British officer who had fought at New Orleans and through some of the hardest battles of the Peninsular War, wrote, “I had never seen anything to compare. At Waterloo the whole field from right to left was a mass of bodies… The sight was sickening.”

The men and women who endured the battle knew they had been present at a turning point in history and, because of that, wrote down their recollections. We have witness accounts of many battles, but nothing matches the sheer volume of writing about Waterloo, and that huge archive gives us privileged glimpses of the day.

John Lewis, a British rifleman, was standing next to a man who was struck by a French musket ball: “He just said, ‘Lewis, I’m done!’ and died.” A half mile away, a French cavalryman, seeing a prostrate British officer stir, exclaimed in surprise, “Tu n’est pas mort, coquin!” and stabbed him with a lance.

Read the Remainder at NY Times

Military History: Napoleon, the First Modern Politican

I have read several Biographies on the military exploits of Napoleon, but this article explores a side of the man rarely discussed: The Political agenda. -SF

Napoleon

David A. Bell, Napoleon: A Concise Biography (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 152 pp., $18.95.

Michael Broers, Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny (New York: Pegasus, 2015), 608 pp., $35.00.

 

The most famous statement from Richard Nixon’s opening to China in the early 1970s emerged from an interaction between Chinese premier Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger. The historically minded Secretary of State asked Zhou for his views on the French Revolution. “It’s too early to tell,” replied Zhou. The answer was taken as evidence of Chinese leaders’ supposed ability to take a long-term perspective on political events and is regularly generalized to serve as a warning against swift interpretations of historical occurrences.

In fact, the diplomat who served as the interpreter for the meeting, Charles Freeman, has revealed that Zhou thought Kissinger was talking about the 1968French uprisings, which occurred just a few years before their discussion, not the events in 1789. “I cannot explain the confusion about Zhou’s comment except in terms of the extent to which it conveniently bolstered a stereotype (as usual with all stereotypes, partly perceptive) about Chinese statesmen as far-sighted individuals who think in longer terms than their Western counterparts,” Freeman said.

But Zhou’s remarks could only be mistaken because he was thought to be speaking about the French Revolution generally. If, instead, it had been reported that he was asked his thoughts on Napoleon Bonaparte and responded with such an ambiguous perspective, few would believe it. Nobody lacks a firm opinion on the man who his soldiers affectionately nicknamed “the little corporal.” The subtitle of one of the most respected books on Napoleon, written by the Dutch scholar Pieter Geyl and translated into English in 1949, isFor And Against—Geyl surveyed a century and a half of opinion on Bonaparte and showed that historians usually lined up like lawyers, either prosecuting or defending the French general-turned-leader. Neutrality and ambivalence were unpopular paths. “Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they mostly fell, all too simplistically, into two camps: supporters and opponents,” writes the Princeton historian David A. Bell in his new book,Napoleon: A Concise Biography. “Despite uncovering great masses of source material, most of the historical works generally spent too much time refighting old battles to provide much genuine illumination.” Those works are astonishingly numerous: it has been said that no other human being has had more books written about him or her, except for Jesus Christ—more than 220,000 books and articles as of 1980 alone. Historian Charles Esdaile has claimed that Napoleon is second only to Christ in appearances in cinema, as well, a testament to his popularity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Read the Remainder at National Interest