Napoleon Fanboys and Hitler Fanboys: Eerily Similar

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,211
Welsh Marches
Hey, mate, that's not the impression one gets when you read some Historum posts, this weird topic thread attests to that....:rolleyes:

That said, I don't know the British people, and you certainly know them much better than I do.
Moreover you mentioned a source which supports your statements, therefore it is logical to admit that I must have been wrong on this point and that the Brits are not, on the whole, obssessed by Nappy only a few erudites are at least if we believe this strange debate on the subject in which we see Adam Zamoyski explain that Napoleon "led only a few battles" and British wonder if Napoleon can be considered as "great":


It's strange to see British people asking questions like that about a foreign historical figure.
We do not see Greeks wondering if Cromwell should be considered like this or that or Italians asking themselves this kind of question about Tsar Nicholas?
After all, why not? Let's be cool.

That said, too, dude, Napoleon's international fame in the world seems very important and we see it regularly mentioned and caricatured in the press.
https://www.thelocal.fr/20131216/napoleon-second-most-important-person-in-history

That's why, buddy, I'm having trouble relating a deep disinterest of the British people shown in the poll quoted and that kind of thing...


This kind of cliché seems very common in the international press :
https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/jun/04/didier-deschamps-france-world-cup-class-russia
Any reasonable educated person in Britian will know something about Napoleon. That debate was mounted and under that title held because Andrew Roberts (who has something of an obsession with 'great men') wrote a eulogistic book about Napoleon called 'Napoleon the Great', and someone had the idea that it might be fun to put him head to head with Adam Zamoyski, who is the author of very fine books on Napoleon's invasion of Russia and the Congress of Vienna, and has just written a life of Napoleon which presents a more disabused image of him. In the debate the extremely suave Zamoyski engages in some very amusing trolling of Roberts' admiring simplicities, the whole thing is a riot but hardly a very serious historical discussion. Roberts is extremely English, incidentally, while the 'anti-Napoleonic' Zamoyski is a first generation British citizen who holds joint Polish nationality and has devoted himself to Continental history. I haven't read his book on Napoleon, but his view of him is really more nuanced than that debate would suggest. In reviewing somwone else's book on him, he starts: "Writing about Napoleon is a risky business. It exposes the author to the brickbats of the blind worshippers for whom he is a numinous hero and the equally challenged detractors who see in him only the petty tyrant. By the same token, most historians find themselves negotiating a slippery path between approval and censure of this most contorversial and somehow still very relevant figure".

As regards modern attitudes to Napoleon in England, I find that people in England like to make fun of the Napoleon cult propagated by those 'blind worshippers', which is much in evidence in this forum and has its British adherents too, but are not in the grip of any earnest black legend which serves as some sort of foundation for national identity. :lol:
 
Last edited:
Sep 2015
11
Romania
I claimed the above.
The reasoning is this.
Napoleon “fan boys” claim he liberated Jews. He didn’t. He tried to crush them, not in a violent sense but in a bid to force them to be less Jewish and more French. He also put restrictions on them. He gave them some rights... but he also wasn’t “fair”to them. They resented him, as he basically declared all the money people had legally borrowed from them was not to be paid back. Dressing it up as some equal rights nonsense is pap.

No one claims Wellington was a great humanist. He was an old Anglo-Irish aristocrat, a snob... he cared for his soldiers, but otherwise had quite typical Tory attitudes to class and lower orders. But since Wellingtons reputation lies purely on his military career .... what does it matter. He could have been a rabid anti- Semite... but since no one claims he was an emancipator of jews. It doesn’t matter.
So, 1. It is not ok to give rights to Jews if you do not give them ALL the rights , but
2. It is ok if one is anti-semit as long as one does not claim to be pro-Jews.

the 2 nd part is slightly illogical and pretty ridiculous.

Last, it all starts with a false statement that Napoleon was a persecutor of jews. Ahm...he was not.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,616
Ontario, Canada
I claimed the above.
The reasoning is this.
Napoleon “fan boys” claim he liberated Jews. He didn’t. He tried to crush them, not in a violent sense but in a bid to force them to be less Jewish and more French. He also put restrictions on them. He gave them some rights... but he also wasn’t “fair”to them. They resented him, as he basically declared all the money people had legally borrowed from them was not to be paid back. Dressing it up as some equal rights nonsense is pap.
French administrative policy is more complex than that. Napoleon did liberate Jews from ghettos and allowed them to live within society. That in itself puts him ahead of the majority of 1700's policy makers. The French government on a local level chose to put various restrictions on Jews and this was not carried out universally. Money lending policies were not limited only to Jews. Terminating debt was a good policy which benefited the populace at large.

Generally Napoleon did not intervene on local governance unless it was a case of national importance. Napoleon's policy was to integrate Jews into French culture and society and there is nothing wrong with that. He did that with various peoples and generally in much less draconian ways than the other states. If anything I would criticize Napoleon for being too lenient with all of these minority groups within France's borders.

Many resented him and many others did not, ultimately they benefited from his rule. Just because they didn't benefit in every way doesn't really mean anything and they were still better off than the previous thousand years. Really if they hated it so much why didn't they go somewhere else? We could ask the Jewish community the same thing about any US President. By that logic anyone from Teddy to Trump are rabid anti-Semites which have destroyed the Jewish community, depending on who you ask. Napoleon did have a following among the Jews as sources can attest.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,525
What policy specifically?

Even if it did so what? Was said policy undone?
So What? really are you that blind with hero worship you have no respect at all for historical accuracy ?


Really so Napoleon deserves credit for Evey last thing done before he came to power? The Abolition of Guilds was before the revolution. Does Napoeon deserve any credit?

So the Bourbons restored deserve credit for anything Napoploen did that they did not undo?
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,616
Ontario, Canada
So What? really are you that blind with hero worship you have no respect at all for historical accuracy ?


Really so Napoleon deserves credit for Evey last thing done before he came to power? The Abolition of Guilds was before the revolution. Does Napoeon deserve any credit?

So the Bourbons restored deserve credit for anything Napoploen did that they did not undo?
What???
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,525
Napoleon is often portrayed as the enlightenment of Horseback and given credit for a whole bunch of reforms. However many predate his rule. Many make factually incorrect claims about Napoleon's reforms.

The facts matter. Your casual; dismissal of any concern to actually get the facts right is worrying.

Why should any claims that Napoleon deserves credit for liberating the Jews form the Ghettos if the policy predates his rule. That Hews were accepted as citizens I'm pretty sure it was before Napoleon. certainly the abolition of the Guild system pre dates the French revolution let alone Napoleon but his fans often give Napoleon credit for that reform.

Neither of these reforms were abolished by the reestablished Bourbons. Does that make them some champions of liberal enlightenment? The Idea that Because Napoleon did not immediately rescind the lifting of restrictions on Jews represents some sort of liberal position by Napoleon is pretty lightweight.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,525
I
By contrast didn't Wellington oppose Jewish emancipation though??? How come the people who made the above claim about Napoleon not factor this into their reasoning about Wellington? Not that it should tarnish Wellington's reputation but it seems a huge inconsistency.
No one ever called Wellington the enlightenment on Horseback. Many claims are made about Napoleon's enlightened reforms. So critical examination of those claims is quite appropriate , Wellington as a politician people don;t make such claims and generally regarded as reactionary and conservative.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,616
Ontario, Canada
No one ever called Wellington the enlightenment on Horseback. Many claims are made about Napoleon's enlightened reforms. So critical examination of those claims is quite appropriate , Wellington as a politician people don;t make such claims and generally regarded as reactionary and conservative.
So if no one had said that about Napoleon but he still tolerated the Jews would your opinion of Napoleon change? I don't really get your point here, you dislike Napoleon because someone said something about him that wasn't true. So what? Why is Napoleon at fault for that? But Wellington opposes Jewry and no one cares because no one claimed that he was pro-Jew. Honestly this stance makes no sense.

Napoleon is often portrayed as the enlightenment of Horseback and given credit for a whole bunch of reforms. However many predate his rule. Many make factually incorrect claims about Napoleon's reforms.
Obviously Napoleon was the product of the Revolution. Again, so what? He didn't reverse these policies and in many cases expanded on them.

The facts matter. Your casual; dismissal of any concern to actually get the facts right is worrying.
When did I ever do this? Provide examples.

Why should any claims that Napoleon deserves credit for liberating the Jews form the Ghettos if the policy predates his rule. That Hews were accepted as citizens I'm pretty sure it was before Napoleon. certainly the abolition of the Guild system pre dates the French revolution let alone Napoleon but his fans often give Napoleon credit for that reform.
Not in Italy, where he did it.

Jews were not popular in France or Europe at large. The Revolutionaries spent much of 1789 debating this and controversially gave Jews citizenship in 1790. Many people tried to undo this and the Jews still lived within ghettos in many communities. Napoleon was tolerant but rather laissez faire on the whole thing. He did abolish the system of ghettos (after Revolutionaries failed) and allow them to form a representative body (something practically unheard of). Their level of equality was relative but that is just the reality of how these things work. Now I should stress that Jews were never a priority for Napoleon, and generally no one cared about this subject save for a few enlightenment ideologues. The majority of the population was opposed to Jewish emancipation. There was no reason to elevate a foreign minority to the same status as the French. But all of this was largely subject to local attitudes since regional administration took precedent. Like I said before the majority of people resented these new policies towards the Jews.

In fact the claims that Napoleon was unfair to the Jews comes entirely from his debt annulment policy which benefited the majority of French people and the economy at large. His declaring that French people do not owe significant sums of money to Jews is where the backlash comes from. His goal was to assimilate them as secular French people and that is a fair policy.

Neither of these reforms were abolished by the reestablished Bourbons. Does that make them some champions of liberal enlightenment? The Idea that Because Napoleon did not immediately rescind the lifting of restrictions on Jews represents some sort of liberal position by Napoleon is pretty lightweight.
If Louis XVIII's regime tolerates these things it does essentially mean he is promoting them. Maybe he is not for them personally but who cares. The fact that he did not rescind certain policies was the reason why so many were willing to take part in the Bourbon Restoration. Not only that but his ultimate successor Louis Philippe embraced these policies.

Napoleon was not a Liberal in the modern sense. He was barely a Liberal in the contemporary sense (almost no one in France was). What he did push were the rights to private property, gun ownership, reopening the church and the family as an entity, something which most of the Revolutionaries were not in favour of due to their very radical Jacobinism.