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Thread: What do Europeans think of Napoleon nowadays ?

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    Post What do Europeans think of Napoleon nowadays ?



    Having a debate in my History class on Napolean I and his relation to the French Revolution. I am on the pro-Napoleon side, which I think he did good for France. I just want to see how the true Europeans would rate him. Thank you.

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    Thumbs up

    Thank you for posting your opinion, but I would like to hear what others think.

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    I think polish scientist and astronomist - Mikolaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus) - he has discovered, that the earth is spinning around the sun, not in the opposite way.

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    Napoleon was a greedy egomaniac. I strongly refuse to see him as the greatest european.

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    Tesla, obviously.
    Last edited by Sprinkles; 30-01-10 at 01:38.

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    I'll go with the guys who invented capitalism, second is the guy who invented shower.

    Copernicus was polish/german. Polish father, german mother, raised by german uncle, and lived in Poland.

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    Napoleon and Hitler. Gradually, they helped the United States to become the superpower.
    These wars (Napoleons wars, world war 2) have weakened Europe, at the same time they reinforced USA.

    Napoleon did more for USA.

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    Not appropriate to have just one "greatest European".

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    This thread is not about who is the greatest European ever. Please read R1k2's question. He wants to know what people think of Napoleon. I will rename the thread to avoid confusion.

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    I think he's a typical EUropean despot!, Thankfully we saved Europe from him. We need to do the same with the EU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellington View Post
    I think he's a typical EUropean despot!, Thankfully we saved Europe from him. We need to do the same with the EU.
    Do you mean getting rid of all monarchies in the EU ?

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    Much to admire in Napoleon. It's the revolution I resent, if anything, not the man who rose from it.

    Has anyone else here paid visit to his tomb?

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    Napoleon was a clever opportunist. He saw the power vacuum in post-revolutionary France and filled it efficiently and ruthlessly. He was in the same mould as Louis XIV, an autocratic, imperialist despot. He was quite successful militarily for a very short period of time but left a legacy that took the French nation a century-and-a-half to recover from.

    I agree with those who say he was a better friend to the US than to Europe. I'd also add that he was a great friend to Britain as his ultimate military failure left them free to dominate the 19th century as the almost undisputed world superpower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    I agree with those who say he was a better friend to the US than to Europe. I'd also add that he was a great friend to Britain as his ultimate military failure left them free to dominate the 19th century as the almost undisputed world superpower.
    That's true. Many people forget that it's because Napoleon annexed the Netherlands that Dutch colonies were taken over by Britain. Without Napoleon's intervention South Africa, Sri Lanka and Malaysia would have remained Dutch, and Singapore wouldn't exist. Singaporeans indirectly owe their city/country's existence to Napoleon's ambitions.

    Similarly, the Spanish colonies in the Americas were able to become independent because Spain was conquered by Napoleon. In the absence of an independent Spanish government and military the colonies were free to break off (starting from 1810). Spain was too weakened after French rule to recover its colonies and was forced to recognise their independence (most of them around 1820).

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    Nobody has mentioned yet that Napoléon started Imperialism in Europe. Before him there was only one European emperor, the Holy Roman Emperor. After everything country tried to become an empire : Britain, Austro-Hungary, Germany...

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    Napoleon wanted to unite all of Europe. If he had won, united Europe would have been 200 years old. Unfortunately not everyone then understood and even now understands his good intentions. Right hand traffic is his only legacy. And not even in the UK.

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    Right hand traffic is his only legacy. Right. Anyways, I wondered this myself, if he had won, would he have been considered to be the founding father of modern Europe? But with his Napoleonic Code and its effects on France and Europe, the argument could still be made, though I am not sure it is as strong as would be the former, had it been realized.

    Anyways, curiosities about Napoleon are what led me to this forum. In fact, during my recent stay in Versailles, what impressed or fascinating me the most was the imagery of Napoleon that I saw presented in the statues and paintings of Napoleon from his own era. I try to post a picture, but it will not let me link to it as I do not have enough contributions to this forum, but a Google Image search of Imperial Napoleon will lead to to images of the Emperor with Robe, Laurel Crown and Staff. Rather impressive looking by any standards.
    I had no idea this kind of imagery existed of Napoleon, it completely rocked all of my assumptions about who he was and what he did.

    Being an American with very little knowledge about the Napoleon beyond his role in the Louisiana Purchase and his efforts at "domination over Europe", I am, of course, very curious about his story now, and wonder if anyone could recommend to me a good book or two that present an objective synthesis, or at the very least provide multiple viewpoints on this great figure in relatively modern history.

    Cheers.

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