Napoleon Bonaparte Was Not a Warmongering Conquerer
Debate Rounds (5)
There's numerous images of Napoleon Bonaparte. The megalomaniac conqueror drunk on glory is fixed in the mainstream imagination. Napoleon supposedly sacrificed world peace to his insatiable personal ambition ambition. A bloodthirsty ogre, he bled France white to achieve his ends.
I personally think this is historically inaccurate. I would love to debate this with someone, as I need to get my debating skills sharpened, especially when it comes to a topic I have been studying for the past 4 years, not for college or school but more out of personal interest.
I will let my opponent go first, but I must implore anyone who takes up my challenge to have at least a basic understanding of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era, and can name and detail some of Napoleon's campaigns that wasn't just Waterloo or the invasion of Russia.
Let the debate commence!
I believe that I meet your requirements, as I am an avid history buff myself, and have been recurrently studying the Napoleonic Era for a great many years. I'm quite aware of the politics, mindset and military activity of the area. As a matter of fact, mostly with the military campaigns... heh
Firstly, I would like to take the time to define 'warmongering'. Warmongering literally means, "The activities of a Warmonger."
Warmonger means, "A person who advocates, endorses, or tries to precipitate war."
Now, upon this definition, how could Napoleon not be a warmonger? The fellow blatantly precipitated five wars in the space of thirteen years. This isn't even enough time to let generations, armies, economies or soldiers to recuperate. He began the War of the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Coalitions. And then, after being exiled to Elba, Napoleon once again arises to do what? Raise an army of two hundred and eighty thousand men in order to overthrow the recently restored King of France and invade Belgium! He wished to destroy Coalition Armies before they combined. What kind of peaceful fellow returns from a humble exile only to do what he had done five times before? And then he created a forced draft policy in the hopes of garnering several million French peasants into his armies. He definitely was foolish in believing that he could triumph a last time, and he was also undoubtedly a warmonger.
Now, my opponent describes a 'megalomaniac conqueror drunk on glory' being the clich�, and he is correct. This is not the way Napoleon was, but Napoleon was, indeed, a warmonger and a conqueror.
For this round, I will briefly outline several of my arguments for later:
1. Napoleon never abandoned his efforts to conquer a substantial portion of Europe or exert his authority over them. (this does include his replacing the Monarch of Spain with his own relative).
2. Napoleon enforced the Berlin Decrees and 'Continental' System upon both his allies and vanquished, literally starving them of essential goods and bleeding France to death, especially as other European nations eventually abandoned or freed themselves from his grasp. It is comprehensible that he enforce it upon France, as any other embargo, but to enforce it upon his allies and other European nations?
3. He did not attempt to call a peace with England, even with France's economy in shambles and England's still comfortable. Rather, he aspired to achieve naval dominance (or, at least, draw the Royal Navy away from the Channel) and conquer England (plans abandoned after Trafalgar).
4. After being defeated at Trafalgar, does Napoleon shake hands and gesture peace? No, he moves upon Austria and attempts to exert authority and conquest upon those Asian/European nations that hadn't yet been forced to submit to him. He didn't stop. Swedish Pomerania, Prussia, Italy, Duchy of Warsaw, Spain etc. all fell to him.
5. As of the end of the Third Coalition, Napoleon had not lost a significant battle. Why would he not continue - to his doom?
Since there are five rounds, I shall finish up here and allow my opponent to take the floor with an opening argument.
Been fun. :D
1. When Napoleon came to power in 1799 most of Europe already hated France, determined to restore the ancient regime of the Bourbons. All-out war was bound to happen unless France took back the democracy it had given birth to.
2. The efforts put forth by Napoleon as Consul and later Emperor was based on trying to prevent or avoid those inevitable wars, not on conquering lands.
3. I will explain, war by war from the War of the Second Coalition to the War of the Sixth Coalition, that Napoleon was never the one to declare war. As he later said at St. Helena he was always the one to be attacked, not the other way around. After each of his victories Napoleon offered concessions, often extravagant ones, to the defeated enemy for the sole purpose of avoiding another war.
Before I end and allow my opponent to elaborate on his points I will address a part of his argument:
"And then, after being exiled to Elba, Napoleon once again arises to do what? Raise an army of two hundred and eighty thousand men in order to overthrow the recently restored King of France and invade Belgium! He wished to destroy Coalition Armies before they combined. What kind of peaceful fellow returns from a humble exile..."
I will stop here.
For one, his exile was far from humble. He might have been exiled but that did not mean he maintained a efficient intelligence network. Numerous assassination attempts were plotted against him, which was another reason why he decided to escape from Elba and return to France. Conscious of the political danger of Napoleon's continuing popularity, the Bourbon usurpers weren't consent with just neutralizing the emperor. They became obsessed with is assassination. The Congress of Vienna was already having talks of having Napoleon re-located somewhere further. A candidate was the Azores, but eventually St. Helena was picked.
When Napoleon returned he did not immediately raise an army or march to war. In fact, he informed them that he accepted the Treaty of Paris, thereby indicating he renounced any claim to reconquer the frontiers of 1792 and instead engaged to respect those of 1789. Quite the attitude of a war-mongerer!
The Coalition could not deny that the overwhelming majority of the French people did not want anything to do with the Bourbons any longer. They chose Napoleon and the Empire, and based on his reception when he returned this couldn't have been any more true. In a personal letter Napoleon attempted to convince the sovereigns of Europe that the Ancient Regime no longer suited the French nation:
"The Bourbons no longer wished to associate themselves with French beliefs or manners. France had to separate itself from them. Its voice called for a liberator...Enough glory has already decorated the flags of various nations. Great successes have usually been followed by great reverses. A better arena is open today to sovereigns, and I am the first to enter it."
How did the Coalition respond? By forming a Seventh Coalition in preparation for a massive, 700,000-strong invasion of France.
The illegitimacy of this new war imposed on France agitated the British opposition party. Their spokesman in the Commons declared: "Bonaparte was received in France as a liberator. The Bourbons lost their throne through their own mistakes. It would be a monstrous act to make war on a nation to impose on it the government it did not want."
The Morning Chronicle, a British newspaper, said in a article pointed to Lord Castlereagh, the foreign secretary: "English patriots think that the powers of the continent are unified not so much against Bonaparte as against the spirit of liberty."
Napoleon was aware of this and made a final attempt for peace with the British cabinet, who he told he was prepared to discuss any peace proposal, regardless of what it might be. He received no response.
The Prussian Secretary of the Congress of Vienna openly expressed the reactionary ideology of the Coalition: "the wishes of the French people, even if they were formally expressed, would have no effect and no weight."
Despite the emperor's proclaimed desire to live in peace with its neighbors, Europe mobilized on a hateful anti-French crusade to forcefully shove a puppet government down the throats of the French, a government they detested.
I eagerly await my opponent's response and his elaboration on his points!
-The Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars by Ben Weider and General Michel Franceschi
"3. I will explain, war by war from the War of the Second Coalition to the War of the Sixth Coalition, that Napoleon was never the one to declare war. "
This is undoubtedly the essence of the entire debate. Did Napoleon ever declare war, first? Did he Precipitate the war/s? If he didn't, why was the rest of Europe conquered by him or manipulated by him? And then why was England so fearful of his power as to wage war for sixteen years if we was a peaceful man? These questions need to be answered before a conclusion can be drawn by the reader.
France emerged victorious from the War of the Fifth Coalition and impressed an incredibly harsh treaty upon Austria and Russia (Treaty of Sch�nbrunn and to Austria specifically the Treaty of Pressburg), ceding great portions of land to Napoleon and those whom were subversive to him. It removed Western Galicia from Austria and annexed it to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. This, coupled with Napoleon's uncontested dominance of Europe, caused Russia a great deal of worry. Napoleon now possessed an ideal launching point to invade Russia.
Of course, Russia would feel threatened, so it took diplomatic measures to dissuade Napoleon from further action - it expressed its dissatisfaction, withdrew from the Continental Plan and developed a militaristic strategy, but it did not obviously declare war.
Napoleon states, "In Tilsit, Russia swore eternal alliance in France and war in England. It violates its oaths today. Russia is pulled by its fate; its destinies must be achieved! Does it thus believe us degenerated? Thus let us go ahead; let us pass Neman River, carry the war on its territory!" (http://shoguntotalwar.yuku.com...)
Napoleon is deliberately creating an excuse to crush Russia, who could perhaps threaten his security, even if it hadn't a single army on European soil. This is because he was a warmonger; he couldn't be satisfied with ruling or controlling a grande portion of Europe - rather, he felt threatened and insecure by possible relations between England and Russia and invaded.
Another example would be his 'invasion' of Spain. Napoleon didn't even have to declare war - all he did was transfer enough soldiers to Spain in the pretext of dealing with Portugal that the King of Spain, his former ally, could do nothing in protest or self defense.
It is clear that though there were some occasions where Napoleon didn't actually declare war, he precipitated it. For example, he envisioned an invasion across the Channel, hoping to conquer England as his Norman predecessors had once done. "(The Channel) is a mere ditch, and will be crossed..." (Napoleon, http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com...)
And, as I've aforementioned, Napoleon manipulated European leaders so that he was, if not by way of invasion, supreme commander of most of Europe. Napoleon, after bitter fighting and emerging victorious, managed to appoint his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Naples and Sicily, King of Spain and the Indies and Comte de Survilliers. Hence, he had Spain, Naples and Sicily under his thumb. Bonaparte was not the rightful ruler of any of these nations. How did he get there? His warmongering brother. Napoleon married Marie-Louise, Daughter of the King of Austria, in an effort to have Austria submit to his will. Napoleon placed his brother-in-law Joachim Murat in Joseph's stead at Naples. Bernadotte, one of his marshals, ascended to the throne of Spain. Louis Bonaparte was installed on the throne of the kingdom of Holland formed from the Batavian Republic; Joachim Murat became grand-duke of Berg, Jerome Bonaparte son-in-law to the King of W�rttemberg, and Eug�ne de Beauharnais to the King of Bavaria while St�phanie de Beauharnais married the son of the Grand Duke of Baden.
Napoleon would not tolerate a neutral power. Either a nation was an ally or satellite power of his own, or it was against him. These absolutist views parallel that of a warmonger, do they not?
A man in exile hasn't the right to maintain an intelligence network... unless he aspires to conquer or achieve some controversial goal.
It is true that attempts on Napoleon's life were frequent, but they weren't constrained to those on Elba. Many saw that he had to die in order for peace to once again fall upon Europe. A Prussian lad almost succeeded in stabbing Napoleon, if it weren't for one of the French generals unfortunately standing by and intercepting the boy. There were many attempts of protest against an unruly tyrant. Also, the conquering desire spread to his family and his ministers., some of who plotted against him.
Bernadotte, then ruler of Sweden, declared war upon his kin. Caroline Bonaparte conspired against her brother and her husband.
Napoleon's ethos was worn out. His actions spoke louder than his words. The Seventh Coalition armed themselves, initially, to brace for conflict. Napoleon struck Belgium first, before they could arouse that army of 700,000 and stop him.
This is all, for now. Been fun, cheerio
"France emerged victorious from the War of the Fifth Coalition and impressed an incredibly harsh treaty upon Austria and Russia (Treaty of Sch�nbrunn and to Austria specifically the Treaty of Pressburg), ceding great portions of land to Napoleon and those whom were subversive to him."
Wait a minute. The Treaty of Sch�nbrunn was signed between Austria and France at the end of the Fifth Coalition, not Russia and France, as you may be implying! The The Peace of Pressburg was signed on December 26, 1805 between France and Austria at the aftermath of Austerlitz, after the Third Coalition. I believe you got the treaties mixed up.
Let us review the conditions of the Treaty of Sch�nbrunn:
Austria was to cede Tyrol and Salzburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria, West Galicia to the Duchy of Warsaw, Tarnopol to Russia, and Trieste and Croatia south of the Sava River to France, creating the Illyrian provinces.
The terms were necessarily harsh because Austria had declared war first! In order to remove the threat entirely he should have completely dismantled the Austrian Empire! And why would Napoleon give anything to Russia? Because he did not wish another war. He saw a Franco-Russian alliance vital to the security of Europe and would give him a free hand in dealing with Britain.
"...caused Russia a great deal of worry. Napoleon now possessed an ideal launching point to invade Russia."
Why, exactly, would this have caused "Russia" a great deal of worry? Tsar Alexander, despite the immense pressure of his Francophobe court and French emigres, and his very influential mother, still clung to the hope that he could maintain his friendship with Napoleon, established at the Treaty of Tilsit. Was Napoleon harsh there? To the Russians, no. Alexander was very surprised at Napoleon's conditions. Napoleon asked neither for money nor territory: indeed he had no objection to him annexing Finland.
Prussia, the instigator of the war, received the harsh repercussions: the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw. Normally Napoleon was to make a bigger Duchy out of the Russian parts of Poland, but he chose not to do for the sole reason of trying to create an alliance with Russia and make peace. He was counting on his friendship with Alexander to give Europe a long period of peace.
"Of course, Russia would feel threatened, so it took diplomatic measures to dissuade Napoleon from further action - it expressed its dissatisfaction, withdrew from the Continental Plan and developed a militaristic strategy, but it did not obviously declare war."
Let me elaborate on the statement of "Russia would feel threatened".
In 1811, after the Russian court refused a marriage with Napoleon (which would have cemented the alliance), and after the admittance of a large convoy (which I will discuss later), they viewed with alarm the introduction of the Civil Code to the Duchy of Warsaw. There, on the very threshold of Holy Russia, Jews were given political rights and serfs their freedom. If these egalitarian principles spread, their own serfs, the millions of ill-fed peasants tired in perpetuity to the soil, who changed hands, a thousand at a time, would soon be demanding freedom and land.
The nobles urged Alexander to check these "hostile" principles by re-establishing Poland, with himself as King. At first Alexander resisted the idea. He still wanted a friendship with Napoleon, despite the fact he had admitted the British-protected convoy into his waters. But the nobles charged him with being pro-French and a traitor. As Nicolas Tolstoy put it: "Sire, if you don't change your principles, you will end like your father...strangled!"
Thus Alexander gave in. He made overtures for a treaty to Britain and planned an attack on Warsaw. Napoleon countered by sending in French forces lead by Davout. Alexander then demanded Napoleon to give him a large chunk of the Duchy of Warsaw, with half a million subjects. Napoleon had already given him part of the Austrian province of Galicia in 1809, a generous reward for negligible help from Russia against Austria, and was furious at this new demand.
As for the Continental Blockade, there was indeed another reason why the invasion of Russia happened. Napoleon was conscious of the negative effects of the blockade. He closed his eyes to certain discrepancies in the contract. He knew that the Russian economy, like that of all his allies, suffered by certain aspect by the commercial restrictions imposed. It was for this reason that he tried to alleviate matters. He was prepared to go farther, provided that the matter was carefully discussed. But the scheming aristocracy of Russia saw in the difficulties caused by the blockade the ideal pretext to break with France, which also threatened their antiquated social privileges, in particular serfdom, leading us back to the Napoleonic Code being introduced to the Duchy of Warsaw.
In the fall of 1810, an enormous convoy of 1,200 ships, flying the Swedish, Portuguese, Spanish, or American flags had sailed in the North Sea under the escort f 20 British warships. Filled with British products, they had been denied port calls by all of France's allies, in conformance with their promises. Those these ships were now bound for Russian waters. On 23 October 1810 Napoleon asked the tsar not to admit these vessels: "If Your Majesty admits them, the war will continue. If you deny them and confiscate their cargoes, you will have struck a major blow against England. Your Majesty can thus determine whether we will have peace or continued war."
Alexander not only admitted that convoy but effective 31 December 1810, he opened his ports to all neutrals and doubled his defiance by strongly taxing French goods. All illusions were gone. By breaking the blockade and violating the principal clause of his treaty of alliance with France, the tsar has openly tilted towards the British camp. Thus began an 11-month preparation period of conflict for both sides.
"Did Napoleon ever declare war, first? Did he Precipitate the war/s? If he didn't, why was the rest of Europe conquered by him or manipulated by him? And then why was England so fearful of his power as to wage war for sixteen years if we was a peaceful man?"
These are the questions that I will attempt to answer in the next round. I will also bring up the Invasion of Spain, which necessitates a long discussion to a complicated conflict.
Indeed, Russia, though not a signature of either treaty, was affected tremendously by both of them.
My opponent voiced it exactly. Tsar Alexandre was pressured by his court and influential mother. This, also, and he eventually detested Napoleon once again, due to Napoleon's aggression, "He or I, I or He: we cannot longer reign together!" (Direct quotation Courtesy of Wikipedia)
And his original sentiments were expressed blatantly, "The oppressor of Europe and the disturber of the world's peace." (Courtesy of Wikipedia) Wikipedia also proclaims, "Alexander in fact already believed himself to be fulfilling a divine mission." * Tsar Alexandre thus had great reason to be concerned and begin taking steps to withdraw from Napoleon's warmongering ways.
"Refusing to be cowed by the appearance of a French army on his borders in 1812, Alexander showed remarkable strength of character to refuse to hold talks with his invader even after the capture and burning of Moscow." **
This indicates Napoleon's manipulation of other leaders in provoking them to battle. It is Napoleon, let us not forget, who marched all the way to Moscow despite bitter weather and disease. It was not Alexandre who marched his soldiers onward to Paris, even as they were being plagued by disease, lice etc.
And let us ask why Austria declared War first in the Fifth Coalition. After Pressburg, Napoleon attempted to replace the Austrian throne with Charles, who was brother of Francis II (emperor of Austria after Austerlitz). Francis II obviously objected, but appointed Charles in a supreme position of the military. Also, besides meddling in affairs in Austria, Napoleon created the so called, 'Confederation of the Rhine', a buffer of Germanic Provinces, some of which formerly belonged to Austria and Prussia. They needed victory for the people and the treasury. They needed it for self esteem and they needed it to avenge the indignities inflicted upon them by Napoleon in the Third. To be frank, Napoleon's arrogance and presumptuous actions needed to be halted.
"Prussia, the instigator of the war, received the harsh repercussions: the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw."
One second, the Duchy of Warsaw was formed in 1807, amid the Fourth Coalition. Prussia also started the Fourth. And Alexander was forced to sign the Treaty of Tilsit. What have these repercussions to do with the Third Coalition? But since you have led us to this, let us discuss why Prussia, infatuated by Napoleon's arrogance and disregard to peace, declared war.
Marshal Bernadotte illegally violated the neutrality of Ansbach on their march to face the Austrians and Russians in 1805. Sch�nbrunn was signed, but Napoleon modified the convention promising to give Hannover to Prussia in exchange for Ansbach going over to France's ally, Bavaria. Except that Napoleon had secretly promised Hanover to England during their peace talks. Also, Napoleon formed the Confederation of the Rhine, meddling in affairs regarding German homogeneity without conferring with or receiving the consent of either Austria or Prussia.
"Napoleon did not wholeheartedly call for a peace with England, even with France's economy in shambles and England's still comfortable. Rather, he aspired to achieve naval dominance (or, at least, draw the Royal Navy away from the Channel) and conquer England (plans abandoned after Trafalgar)."
This was my statement from argument one. I will expound upon it in my next argument. In the meantime I look forward to what my opponent has to say about my queries and the invasion of Spain.
LiquidNazgul forfeited this round.
Since I don't have anything to further rebut, I am going to take the round to consolidate and summarize my past arguments and then put forth a new point or two, one of them regarded in the past round.
"2. The efforts put forth by Napoleon as Consul and later Emperor was based on trying to prevent or avoid those inevitable wars, not on conquering lands."
My opponent states that the 'Emperor' of France was attempting to avoid wars, but I have clearly demonstrated that Napoleon was a manipulative figure and attempted to gain control of all of Europe. He did so at the expense of many formerly powerful nations and his country. He killed millions of French soldiers in his conquests and ran the country to ruins due to the fact that he was a warmonger. He precipitated many conflicts and angered many nations by deception, betrayal, lies, secrets and politics that accroached other nations - of which did not concern him.
In a period of thirteen years, Napoleon waged or precipitated five wars. Before this time he was a military commander and eventually deposed all potential candidates for chancellorship or presidency of a beleaguered nation.
He manipulated nations so that his family became leaders of a variety of nations. He interfered in national politics that didn't concern him, such as creating the 'Confederation of the Rhine' and interfering with German unification and homogeneity.
Hence, that is a summary of my arguments and proofs thus far.
Let us now analyze the ruin of France that was caused due to Napoleon's lust for battle and glory.
371,000 French soldiers killed in action.
400,000 French soldiers killed by disease
Total: 1,000,000 French and allies (mostly Germans and Poles) dead in action, disease and missing.
The English suffered slightly over 300,000 casualties, the Austrians 300,000, Prussians, 200,000 and Russians 400,000.
The Wars left France with an extravagant debt, hungry people and severe reduction of power; it lost all territory gained during the wars. France crumbled as a world power - not to be heard from significantly again until the Franco-Prussian Wars. However, England, finally victorious, consolidated its role as chief world power and possessed the greatest Naval Fleet ever to be seen (unchallenged until WWI, when it once again prevailed).
A couple of other incidents that may sway the readers to realize that Napoleon was a tyrant, conqueror and warmonger. He fired upon his own people with cannon on October 1795. "Nobody had really used cannon on the Paris mobs before. He was gonna shoot. He waited 'til he could see the whites of their eyes. Almost in one blast the whole thing was over. He probably killed a hundred people. He was not a very popular man with the rank and file, the man on the street in Paris after that." ( PBS **) with "a whiff of grapeshot" ***.
Napoleon also led the Invasion of Italy, which was just that. Italy hadn't any major armies to fight with and they hadn't provoked France in any way, yet France ordered it invaded. Napoleon gladly (being the warmonger) assumed command of the Army of Italy and subjugated the Papal States. In doing so, he imprisoned the Pope, who condemned him and disagreed with his policies. The Pope was mistreated and exiled.
Napoleon also led the invasion of Egypt. Once again, it was France and Napoleon to ignite the conflict and invade first.
Napoleon also willfully executed the Duke of Enghien after a secret trial. The Duke was formally accused of imparting in an assassination attempt, even though he had taken no part in it. Napoleon executed him primarily to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France, with himself as Emperor.
Another thing, when the Napoleonic Code was formed, it decreed Napoleon the emperor for life - a typical action of one grasping for absolute power. And also rather hypocritical in that the French Revolutions (of which Napoleon gleefully imparted) where designed to eradicate a monarch and initiate a Republic. Rather, the regressed again under his rule to achieve a more tyrannical despot - an emperor.
"The country itself, besides, though flattered by conquests, was tired of self-sacrifice. It had become satiated; "the cry of the mothers rose threateningly" against "the Ogre" and his intolerable imposition of wholesale conscription. The soldiers themselves, discontented after Austerlitz, cried out for peace after Eylau. Finally, amidst profound silence from the press and the Assemblies, a protest was raised against imperial despotism by the literary world, against the excommunicated sovereign by Catholicism, and against the author of the continental blockade by the discontented bourgeoisie, ruined by the crisis of 1811." ****
In essence, even the soldiers were wearied by the imperial conquests and wars. They were wearied by strife and conflict. They protested against Napoleon, yet he did not heed them but brutally squashed their protests. Napoleon conscripted thousands of eligible (and unwilling) men to supplement his armies so that he could wage war and 'conquer' Europe.
"Joseph Fouche, the head of the secret police, extending Emperor Napoleon's reach into every aspect of French society through a vast network of spies.
BERTAUD: You go to a salon, there's a spy. You go a brothel, there is a spy. You go to a restaurant, there is a spy. Everywhere there are spies of the police. Everyone listens to what you say. It's impossible to express yourself unless Napoleon wants you to." ** (same source, several paragraphs down)
Does this not sound like the rule of terror that Robespierre presided over not ten years earlier? Does it not sound like the iron tyrannical hand of Stalin, or cruel rule of Hitler? All of these men warmongers. Including Napoleon.
Thanks for reading. Your show, Nazgul. stay Classy.
PBS **: http://www.pbs.org...
"My opponent states that the 'Emperor' of France"
He was not Emperor of France. He was Emperor of the French. There is a large difference between the two---a emperor of the people is much different than the emperor of a country. In fact, Napoleon was the only legitimate monarch in Europe---none of the other monarchs were voted in by the people, they ruled by the "divine right of God" or other nonsense.
"The Wars left France with an extravagant debt"
No, they did not. Even in 1814, when the Allies invaded France, it had little debt. Thanks to Napoleon's extraordinary efforts on balancing the budget it always remained stable.
"He fired upon his own people with cannon on October 1795."
Those people were Royalists, people unsatisfied with the new government (the Directory), and Napoleon was ordered to defend the Republic. What, exactly, would have happened had that Royalist mob suceeded? They would have destroyed the Constitution, a Constitution freely voted by an overwhelming majority of Frenchmen. He had saved the Republic from crumbling and being ruled by anarchists or, worse, the Bourbons.
"Napoleon also led the Invasion of Italy, which was just that. Italy hadn't any major armies to fight with and they hadn't provoked France in any way, yet France ordered it invaded."
You misunderstand the conflict that erupted there. Since 1791 France had been at war with Austria, mostly because of the Revolution turning France into a republic. Most of northern Italy was under Austrian domination, and they resented that domination. Piedmont, ruled by a Bourbon king, was conspiring to work with the Austrians to overthrow the Republic. When the Army of Italy went through towns and cities, they were hailed as liberators and heroes. When Napoleon entered Milan they threw open their gates and welcomed the French. One might argue that Napoleon eagerly took all treasures and arts from Italy. First off, this was on orders from the government; Napoleon tried to be as respectful as he could to the locals without defying the Directory. Second, how could he take pleasure in looting when he was against it? His punishments for even minor looting was very harsh; one grenadier who took a chandelier without permission was shot. Cruel, but necessary to stomp out any more plundering in his army.
"...and subjugated the Papal States."
Pius VI and his cardinals detested the Republic; despite Napoleon's chastizing swoop the year before, they openly sympathized with Austria and had made Rome a capital of emigre activities. Napoleon received orders from the Directors to march south a second time and punish the Pope.
Once the Papal States were occupied, Napoleon waited for orders. One of the Directors, the hunchback La Revelliere, was an atheist who flew into a fury at the very mention of the Pope's name. He wanted Napoleon to depose Pius VI. When he came to Tolentino to meet the Pope's envoy, Napoleon found himself making a cruel choice. On the one hand was the Directors wish to destroy the Papal government, on the other hand were the facts. Pius VI, 69 years old, was a misguided but harmless old man with the usual papal foibles. Napoleon decided not to depose the Pope. Instead, he would oblige him to close his ports to all hostile navies, and take from him 3 of the Papal States, plus 30 million in gold. He would weaken, not destroy him, and try to win his friendship.
"Napoleon also led the invasion of Egypt. Once again, it was France and Napoleon to ignite the conflict and invade first."
Because Britain was still at war with France. Napoleon was ordered to lead an invasion of England; he instead wished to invade Egypt, as it was less dangerous. When he was in Egypt, the Egyptians, surprised at his knowledge of Islam, was largely friendly to the European occupiers. In his brief 14 months set up there Egypt had been modernized, and modern Egypt's roots can be traced to this event.
"Napoleon also willfully executed the Duke of Enghien after a secret trial. The Duke was formally accused of imparting in an assassination attempt, even though he had taken no part in it"
Really? Is that why he "' had sworn implacable hatred against Bonaparte as well as against the French; he would take every occasion to make war on them"?
D'Enghien during his questioning at the court told them that he was being paid L4,200 per year by England 'in order to combat not France but a government to which his birth had made him hostile.' Further, he stated that 'I asked England if I might serve in her armies, but she replied that that was impossible: I must wait on the Rhine, where I would have a part to play immediately, and I was in fact waiting.'
D'Enghien was found guilty of being in violation of Article 2 of a law of 6 October 1791, to wit, 'Any conspiracy and plot aimed at disturbing the State by civil war, and arming the citizens against one another, or against lawful authority, will be punished by death.' He was executed in the ditch of the fortress of Vincennes.
"And also rather hypocritical in that the French Revolutions (of which Napoleon gleefully imparted) where designed to eradicate a monarch and initiate a Republic. Rather, the regressed again under his rule to achieve a more tyrannical despot - an emperor."
As I said, he was Emperor of the French, and he did not hold absolute power. The Imperial government was a constitutional monarchy, similar to that of Britain. He did not crown himself out of sheer lust for power; on the contrary he was very reluctant to do so. He knew very well that France had executed a king, and when he accepted the advice to do so he put it in a vote; he was overwhelmingly voted Emperor.
"The soldiers themselves, discontented after Austerlitz, cried out for peace after Eylau...even the soldiers were wearied by the imperial conquests and wars...Napoleon conscripted thousands of eligible (and unwilling) men to supplement his armies so that he could wage war and 'conquer' Europe."
This is a rather absurd argument. If they "cried out for peace", why did they always cheer him on the battlefield? Why were the conscripts actually eager to sign up? Why, in 1815, when he returned to France, not a single soldier fired on him and joined him instead? He was immensely popular with the army and continued to be until the very end.
Let me play the devil's advocate and say that Napoleon was a warmongerer. Then one cannot deny his political/administrative achievements
Napoleon's achievements as head of state in France are impressive. The most commonly known is the Civil Code, known as the Code Napoleon, in which France was given its first uniform law code. Others include building harbors, draining swamps, built canals, built three trade roads over the Alps, planted trees along France's roads.
Napoleon concluded no less than 16 treaties in a few short months. Unusual for a "
Napoleon established a government office to protect France's natural resources and established new water and sewer systems in Paris. He also gave Paris a fire department, improved the opera as well as the modern system of street numbers.
He established, not only in France, but in allied and vassal states as well as territories incorporated into France proper freedom of religion, basic human rights, better hospitals, orphanages, and public sanitation.
Napoleon encouraged improvements in French manufacturing and farming and established a firm financial system.
Napoleon concluded a concordat with the Pope and reestablished the Church and he completely revamped France's education system. He also emphasized, and insisted upon, honesty and efficiency in the officials that were appointed. Corruption was rooted out, and Napoleon also conducted a thorough reorganization of the National Gendarmerie when he took power.
-Napoleon: An Intimate Biography by Vincent Cronin
-The Wars Against Napoleon by Ben Weider
Mobs in Paris were frequent during that time; what difference is one Royalist or Jacobin mob from another? It was a Constitution that the people did not wish, as they felt they were oppressed! It was the first time that any ruler would ruthlessly utilize cannon to sort out their own people - many of whom weren't armed with firing weapons. Not only did he utilize cannon, but he used scattershot! He meant to kill or maim as many as he possibly could! 'Saved' is a definite hyperbole. It is unlikely that they would have been able to route Napoleon from Paris.
Also, they had a reason for their livid reaction; the leaders of the Royalists had been blatantly excluded from the Directory (the new French Government).
I did not misunderstand. I was fully aware that Austria's armies had possessed Italy. This has little to do with the dire blatant truth that Napoleon Subjugated the Papal States and affirmed then under his own control, rather than letting them be turned into the Independent nations that once they had been.
My opponent states that Napoleon detested looting, yet there are many acclaimed historians that make such statements as, "...Had never seen such an orgy of looting and plunder since Napoleon." (Max Hastings, Armageddon)
"(French armies on the retreat from Russia) Over 40,000 vehicles of all kinds, loaded with loot instead of supplies..." *
The Pope and his hierarchy were peaceful men, they preach not of war, how could they be a militaristic threat to Napoleon? It is evident that he felt threatened merely by the religious power that the Pope possessed over the people. He was so eager to gain more that he did not hesitate to exile him. Napoleon, being a leader of an atheist Government, had no use for the religious leaders (he was, I should make this clear, religiously tolerant and even emancipated the Jews from persecution), and, being the tyrant that he was, pressured the very head of Catholicism.
My opponent claims that the Imperial Government had a choice or viewpoint available to them, and this was true, provided that it aligned with Napoleon's viewpoint. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the Directory fell due to a series of discrepancies and militaristic disasters. On the 9th of November, 1799, France and the army fell into the hands of Napoleon. A brief Coup d'etat (Napoleon led, such was his lust for power) and "...parliamentary and military power went into the hands of a single man." ** The Consulate was formed and Napoleon voted as the 'First Consul' (man with the most power). Napoleon then went on to eradicate Siey�s and republicans/people who did not wish to see the Power of France fall into the leadership of a lone man ( Moreau and Mass�na being two of these people). He annulled the Assemblies and then interfered with the Senate, making them omnipotent on all Constitutional matters. He created a treatise with the church that benefited himself. He was voted consul for life and then took steps to consolidate power; re-introduced plenipotentiaries, exiled leaders who might challenge his power, demoralized his military commanders, controlled propaganda, expelling his critics and nullifying the Republican Army before replacing it with his own 'Grande Armee'.
Not even being the 'First Consul for Life' satisfied him. No, he had to become 'An enlightened despot' *** He became Emperor of the French and his satellite nations. He aspired to style himself as the famed Roman emperor Augustus Caesar (who, I may also add, initiated many conflicts).
"Why were the conscripts actually eager to sign up? Why, in 1815, when he returned to France, not a single soldier fired on him and joined him instead? He was immensely popular with the army and continued to be until the very end."
this, in itself, is a peculiar statement. Conscripts eager to sign up? Isn't that oxymoronic? Conscripts are forced to sign up; there may be a few who do so willingly, but the majority of them do it so that their families do not get persecuted. Let us compare it to Hitler's armies. He utilize conscription and thousands and millions signed up for the 'Fuhrer' and the 'Reich'. Everybody was pleased to be a German soldier in 1939, 1940 and 1941, when Hitler owned Europe, the Allies torn, Russia invaded and England besieged. It is a like manner that men conditioned by propaganda would sign in Napoleon's armies - for their nation. While the nation expands and is victorious, they can earn medals, eat well, receive payment and treat life as plentiful. When the fighting gets grim, do you really think that these conscripts and soldiers were happy, as you proclaim? Of course not! As I have also mentioned, these men were carefully conditioned by propaganda. They were soldiers of the 'greatest' and most victorious nation of Europe. Why not fight? To their doom.
I have never denied that he was very considerate in his political, administrative and religious achievements. This is true, but it is also irrelevant as to whether or not he was a warmonger. He precipitated and began several conflicts. He ruthlessly consolidated power and manipulated leaders until he controlled a vast portion of Europe - of which very little naturally belonged to him.
"vassal states", as my opponent agrees, are too true. Napoleon created many of which were subjugated by him.
Here are some quotations that the reader may find interesting from the book, "The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon."
"But it was Napoleon, however, and not the Russian ruler who actively prepared for aggression." *
Thus, I have clearly demonstrated that Napoleon, by definition in Round 1, was a warmonger. He certainly advocated every war that he fought in. He endorsed them all and precipitated most of them (such as mobilizing and attacking before Austria even realized that war had been declared in England and France, or marching on Russia while Russia was astonished), even if he only actually declared war for a few of them. I proved that Napoleon grasped power and always attempted to consolidate more of it; such was his greed. He also was paranoid to lose it, as many other famed warmongers have been - Hitler and Stalin foremost among them.
Thanks for a wonderful Debate, Nazgul. I think I'll take you up on that offer. this has been most interesting!
Readers, since I have clearly shown that Napoleon was, no matter how many civil achievements, a warmonger. Vote Con!
"The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon." * http://books.google.ca...
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