Why We’d Be Better Off if Napoleon Never Lost at Waterloo

There was no denying that the Battle of Waterloo had been catastrophic. Except for the Battle of Borodino, which Napoleon had fought in Russia in his disastrous 1812 campaign, this was the costliest single day of the 23 years of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Between 25,000 and 31,000 Frenchmen were killed or wounded, and vast numbers more were captured. Of Napoleon’s 64 most senior generals, no fewer than 26 were casualties. The losses for the Allies were severe, too—Wellington lost 17,200 men, the Prussian commander Marshal Gebhard von Blücher a further 7,000. Within a month, the disaster cost Napoleon his throne.

Walking the battlefield today, it’s all too easy to understand why he lost. From the 140-foot-high Lion’s Mound, which was built in the 1820s on top of Wellington’s front line, one can see what Napoleon could not: the woods to the east from which 50,000 Prussians started to emerge at 1 p.m. to stave in the French right flank, plus the two stone farmhouses of La Haie Sainte and Hougoumont, which disrupted and funneled the French attack for most of the day.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

2 Responses to Bonaparte

  1. ionb52 says:

    Cred ca citatul de mai jos se potriveste mai b9ine cu titlul:

    „If Napoleon had remained emperor of France for the six years remaining in his natural life, European civilization would have benefited inestimably. The reactionary Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria would not have been able to crush liberal constitutionalist movements in Spain, Greece, Eastern Europe and elsewhere; pressure to join France in abolishing slavery in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean would have grown; the benefits of meritocracy over feudalism would have had time to become more widely appreciated; Jews would not have been forced back into their ghettos in the Papal States and made to wear the yellow star again; encouragement of the arts and sciences would have been better understood and copied; and the plans to rebuild Paris would have been implemented, making it the most gorgeous city in the world.

    Napoleon deserved to lose Waterloo, and Wellington to win it, but the essential point in this bicentenary year is that the epic battle did not need to be fought—and the world would have been better off if it hadn’t been.”

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