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Old November 20th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Another zombie thread?
Is there no more recent discussion on our favorite universal conqueror wannabe?

Must confess I missed the last posts addressed to yours truly here

Those of our AK7 (and who would imagine, our Jero too) are indeed full with (regularly duly apolgetic) misconceptions, but for any reason my guess is that they are not holding their breath while waiting for my insight after so many months.

On the other hand this is a different story: QUOTE=Larrey;1263205]What was at stake was what kind of society at least France would be from that point onwards.

No Napoleon fighting all those wars with as much success, and odds are good the kind of new society that emerged would have been aborted early. It bought something like 15 years of the new kind of French society to establish itself, and then the changes couldn't be undone by the reactionaries on their return.

Worth it? Depends entirely on viewpoint. It's one of these emergent situations where the bloodshed, sacrifice and suffering in peoples' minds have to translate into something worth it all.

And a challenge is still that for all the death and destruction, and Napoleon's eventual defeat, Europe still spent decades putting on revolutionary repeat performances, not to get Napoleonesque bouts of conquering, but to get societies that would work different from the traditional ones.
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but at the risk of overstating the obvious again (and again and again) Monsieur Buonaparte didn't attempt Universal conquest for the social welfare of France or any other population.

Au contraire, he attempted such Universal conquest knowingly against any elementary welfare (and life expectancy) of any such population.

His motives couldn't have more evidently been just his own personal never-ending and ostensibly pathological ambition and hunger of power.[/QUOTE]
You're then making the evaluation of the entire period, the social and political stakes involved, prior, under and afterwards, a matter of Napoleon's specific intentions for doing what he did?

So it seems at least to me? You don't think that's over-simplifying the situation and its evaluation a bit?
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Old November 20th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #72

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but at the risk of overstating the obvious again (and again and again) Monsieur Buonaparte didn't attempt Universal conquest for the social welfare of France or any other population.

Au contraire, he attempted such Universal conquest knowingly against any elementary welfare (and life expectancy) of any such population.

His motives couldn't have more evidently been just his own personal never-ending and ostensibly pathological ambition and hunger of power.
You do realize that Austria, Russia, and Prussia all fought to further their own ambitions right?

Poland was once a large state in eastern Europe covering a fairly large area of territory. It's government was weak in comparison to its Prussian, Austrian, and Russian neighbors, but for years it held out, partially by working with Lithuania. However, by 1795, Austria, Prussia, and Russia had succesfully removed Poland from the map of Europe...

Yet in 1807 Napoleon recreated Poland... the Duchy of Warsaw. And what happened after Napoleon's defeat? Poland was erased from the map of Europe again, and in each case, Polish rights were commonly stripped, especially in areas the Russians ruled.

You want to say Napoleon was ambtious, I would agree, as many men are ambitious, but to blame the Napoleonic Wars solely on Napoleon's ambition is nothing more then attempts to demonize Napoleon and make the leaders of Prussia, Austria, and Russia, all of which were autocratic monarchies with a heavy reliance on their armies for power, look like victiminzed democracies... which Austria, Prussia, and Russia weren't.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #73

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.....at this stage he refuses multiple peace treaties by war-weary opponents that would involve a managed loss, and one very generous one at an equally late stage which Aleksander only approved since he was certain Napoleon would refuse (do note that Aleksander at this point, thouroughly divorced from his earlier friendship and share in Napoleon's glory, believes himself to be carrying out God's plan).

Perhaps the best thing he did was unintentional, the bonds he forced his enemies to forge and the agreements made in the Congress of Vienna ushered in the first openly conscious international balance of power that would last for sixty years; and far more successful than its first successor, the League of Nations, though relying more heavily on bilateral bonds and informal ties.

Anyway, the book I'm heavily paraphrasing i 'Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815' by Charles Esdaile.

Judge for yourself.
i agree with the most part of what you said, especially on Napoleon's problem in not treating defeated people fairly and often humiliatingly which only made a prolonged peace even harder to ever attain. yet the above point on his refuel of peace treaties i will address. this area is a bit messy and far from how some like to present it of Napoleon refusing fair concessions solely because of pride. the first peace agreement which was after the battles of Lutzen and Bautzen was only agreed to because Napoleon recognised his cavalry needed a serious refit as they had been sorely lacking in the last battles because of the losses in russia. the coalition used this time to regroup and reorganise which they did very well. at Prague where the negotiations for a long standing peace were supposed to be held france showed the only serious attempt as they sent an actual diplomat (i'm working from memory here but i can look more into the names and such if you wish) while the others sent only men who had not even the power to negotiate and make agreements with the result that talks got nowhere. most of the argument was on Austria and on whether it would join and which side. Austria offered a heavy price to Napoleon that it would stay neutral if he made a number of concessions like giving back former territories and such, at first Napoleon was against it yet as time went on and deadline was neared he gave the order that he would agree to this yet it was too late by then and austria declared war restarting the 1813 campaign and all that latter followed.

the next negotiation was what was called the Frankfort proposals which came just after the end of the 1813 campaign and Napoleon's defeat at leipzig. they offered peace in exchange for france retreating to what was called its natural borders. this at the time was under negotiation and it was reasonable as it allowed france to keep some of it conquests which would make any peace more tolerable for all sides. yet when the british representative (can't recall his name, Catleright or something of that sort) the demands were then changed to one of france retreating to its historic borders which were those before 1792. this meant the last 20 years fighting would have been for nothing and Napoleon felt the french people would not be able to accept that. i feel considering what latter happened he should have accepted them yet you really can't blame him for not stomiching such demands. in any case the coalition, mostly Tsar Alexander, were hoping that he would refuse anyway so if whether they really ever expected him to accept it or if they would even have agreed had he said yes its doubtful.

my principal sources here are Adam Zamoyski book 'Rites of Peace' which offers a brilliant look at what was happening off the battlefield through this latter period of the wars.
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Let me point out Napoleon's invasions of Egypt, Haiti, Spain, and Russia as counter-examples.
at the risk of sounding like a napoleonic apologist i will just say that:

french actions were not all that bad in egypt and over time the people began to even favor their rule to the disphotic one of the Mamluks. that's not to say killings didn't happen yet i would say ones like that were unavoidable in any conquest, they were mostly rebel villages or when dealing with the Cairo rebellion. yet those massacres at the storming of Jaffa were quite bad yet not exceptional as a besieging force which takes a city by storm always turnings into a bloodbath, it happened as well one or twice as well when the british stormed forts during the peninsula campaign.

spain was a mess from the start with one atrocity leading to the other up to a point where both sides forgot who really started it. to be fair it was the spanish civilians which attacked the french garrison at Madrid hideously killing many of them leading to the heavy french suppression which then lead to a snowball effect of more atrocities by both sides

russia was the same as spain in large regard yet the russian civilians were often pointlessly cruel with captured french prisoners, used as revenge for past questions.
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Originally Posted by Larrey View Post
What was at stake was what kind of society at least France would be from that point onwards.

No Napoleon fighting all those wars with as much success, and odds are good the kind of new society that emerged would have been aborted early. It bought something like 15 years of the new kind of French society to establish itself, and then the changes couldn't be undone by the reactionaries on their return.
you know i've never thought of it that way before and i feel inclined to agree. had the early republic or empire been cashed early on the social changes may have been reversed and the status Que returned yet because they held for as long as they did and were latter implemented in conquered territories by Napoleon they became too established by the time the wars were over much to the eer of the many Monarchs.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:07 PM   #74
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You do realize that Austria, Russia, and Prussia all fought to further their own ambitions right?

Poland was once a large state in eastern Europe covering a fairly large area of territory. It's government was weak in comparison to its Prussian, Austrian, and Russian neighbors, but for years it held out, partially by working with Lithuania. However, by 1795, Austria, Prussia, and Russia had succesfully removed Poland from the map of Europe...

Yet in 1807 Napoleon recreated Poland... the Duchy of Warsaw. And what happened after Napoleon's defeat? Poland was erased from the map of Europe again, and in each case, Polish rights were commonly stripped, especially in areas the Russians ruled.

You want to say Napoleon was ambtious, I would agree, as many men are ambitious, but to blame the Napoleonic Wars solely on Napoleon's ambition is nothing more then attempts to demonize Napoleon and make the leaders of Prussia, Austria, and Russia, all of which were autocratic monarchies with a heavy reliance on their armies for power, look like victiminzed democracies... which Austria, Prussia, and Russia weren't.
And Monsieur Buonaparte eagerly manipulated the naive Polish patriots to do his own dirty job and to die fighting against remote populations under the Napoleonic yoke who had never ever done anything against the Poles...
... BTW without ever giving them eveb an inch of any real freedom.


What exactly do you find so good about such shameless manipulation?
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:10 PM   #75
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Not to rain on anyone's parade, but at the risk of overstating the obvious again (and again and again) Monsieur Buonaparte didn't attempt Universal conquest for the social welfare of France or any other population.

Au contraire, he attempted such Universal conquest knowingly against any elementary welfare (and life expectancy) of any such population.

His motives couldn't have more evidently been just his own personal never-ending and ostensibly pathological ambition and hunger of power.
You're then making the evaluation of the entire period, the social and political stakes involved, prior, under and afterwards, a matter of Napoleon's specific intentions for doing what he did?

So it seems at least to me? You don't think that's over-simplifying the situation and its evaluation a bit?[/QUOTE] Yup, because the motives of this tyrant were so incredibly difficult to discern.

An apologetic oversimplification?
That's a nice description of your last post.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #76
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You're then making the evaluation of the entire period, the social and political stakes involved, prior, under and afterwards, a matter of Napoleon's specific intentions for doing what he did?

So it seems at least to me? You don't think that's over-simplifying the situation and its evaluation a bit?
Yup, because the motives of this tyrant were so incredibly difficult to discern

Any other apologetic oversimplification?
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:42 PM   #77

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And Monsieur Buonaparte eagerly manipulated the naive Polish patriots to do his own dirty job and to die fighting against remote populations under the Napoleonic yoke who had never ever done anything against the Poles...
... BTW without ever giving them eveb an inch of any real freedom.

What exactly do you find so good about such shameless manipulation?
I wouldn't really count the Prussians, Austrians, and Russians as truly being under the "Napoleonic Yoke." Prussia and Austria shifted under Napoleonic control following Austerlitz and Jena respectively, but you'll notice that the Hapsburgs were not made to leave the Austrian throne (only the claim to the Holy Roman Imperial throne, which by 1806 was farce to begin with). Neither were the Hohenzollerns forced to quit being the Kings of Prussia. And Russia was never conquered, so obviously, Tsar AlexanderI was never forced to abdicate.

In addition, the sources I have would indicate that much of Napoleon's actions where leaders were replaced was intended to carry many of the political reforms of the French Revolution (up to the Consulate period), and the removal of the old leader and replacing them with members of his family was because the locals proved incapable of implimenting the reforms without corruption.

And sources on Wikipedia with the Duchy of Warsaw make the impication that Napoleon's action was supported by Polish exiles in France from the earlier partitions of Poland, and that the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw is still seen as "good" thing in Poland today with the modern Polish state and the French 5th Republic holding joint military parades to honor the event.

Napoleon also had an affair with Marie Walewska from a Polish noble family. Which supposedly was to get Napoleon involved in freeing Poland from Austria, Prussia, and Russia.

So, what do you find so good about Austria, Prussia, and Russia, three autocratic states that were not only highly militaristic but every bit as oppressive as you accuse Napoleon of being?
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:48 PM   #78

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More land around Canada, modern day Washington, Oregon, though these were hardly immediate concerns.
You of course, have a source for this
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Old November 20th, 2012, 12:51 PM   #79
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Yup, because the motives of this tyrant were so incredibly difficult to discern

Any other apologetic oversimplification?
I'm kind of interested in the revolutionary aspects of the politics involved.

And that's making excuses for Napoleon?

I think you've gotten a bit argumentatively speed-blind at this point.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #80
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I'm kind of interested in the revolutionary aspects of the politics involved.

And that's making excuses for Napoleon?

I think you've gotten a bit argumentatively speed-blind at this point.
"Revolutionary aspects"???

That's a good joke

Monsieur Buonaparte actually betrayed and destroyed the French Revolution.

What could have been any less "revolutionary" than returning to an old-fashioned absolutist monarchy?
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