en
Andrew Roberts

Napoleon the Great

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Kutipan

    bblbrxmembuat kutipan5 bulan yang lalu
    Napoleon was thus not some nemesis-doomed monster, a modern exemplar of ancient Greek drama or any of the dozens of historical constructions that have been thrust upon him. Rather, Napoleon’s life and career stand as a rebuke to determinist analyses of history which explain events in terms of vast impersonal forces and minimize the part played by individuals. We should find this uplifting, since, as George Home, that midshipman on board HMS Bellerophon, put it in his memoirs, ‘He showed us what one little human creature like ourselves could accomplish in a span so short.’
    bblbrxmembuat kutipan5 bulan yang lalu
    In 1792, France became a crusading nation, determined to export the values and ideals of the Revolution to the rest of Europe. Europe’s monarchs would have none of it, and formed the first of seven coalitions to resist the encroachments. It was these wars that Napoleon inherited and, through his military capacity, for a time took to a triumphant conclusion. In Britain, which had already had its political revolution 140 years earlier and thus enjoyed many of the benefits that the Revolution brought to France, Napoleon’s threat first to invade and then economically to strangle her into submission ensured that successive governments were unsurprisingly determined to overthrow him. The ruling dynasties of Austria, Prussia and Russia were equally unsurprisingly resistant to his offers of peace on French terms. As a consequence, war was declared on him far more often than he declared it on others: by the Austrians in 1800, by the British in 1803, by the Austrians’ invading his ally Bavaria in 1805, by the Prussians in 1806 and by the Austrians in 1809. The attacks on Portugal and Spain in 1807 and 1808 and Russia in 1812 were indeed initiated by Napoleon to try to enforce the Continental System – although as we have seen, the Tsar was planning an attack on him in 1812 – but the hostilities of 1813, and those of 1814 and 1815, were all declared on him. He made peace offers before all of them; indeed he made no fewer than four separate offers to Britain between the collapse of Amiens in 1803 and 1812. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars cost a total of around three million military and one million civilian deaths, of whom 1.4 million were French (916,000 from the Empire period, of whom fewer than 90,000 were killed in action).
    bblbrxmembuat kutipan5 bulan yang lalu
    In 1804 he was proclaimed ‘Emperor of the French Republic’, apparently a contradiction in terms, but in fact a true characterization of the nature of his rule.

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