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  3. Waterloo still taboo for the French years on - The Local
  4. Waterloo still taboo for the French 200 years on
  5. Waterloo (ABBA song)

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This is a key argument, because it suggests that Napoleon emerged from 18 June with one victory and one defeat. Almost the only piece missing from his empire-building puzzle was Britain. Britain was almost the only European country that Napoleon never managed to invade. All of which explains the perversely twisted arguments that Bonapartist historians have given to diminish the Anglo-Prussian victory of June , ever since Napoleon did so in his post-battle report.

One of their classic arguments is that Wellington cheated.


Waterloo still taboo for the French years on - The Local

A year earlier, he had predicted that the open farmland south of Brussels might be the site of a standoff between British and French forces in the region, and had found the ridge where he would align his soldiers on 17 June Some might argue that reconnoitering for higher ground in a strategic location was intelligent military planning — to Bonapartists, though, it was cheating.

That fruity picnic has haunted his family name ever since. In the early 19th century, generals led their troops from the front, and stayed almost permanently in the firing line. Others had betrayed him during the political upheavals in France in , when Napoleon was deposed for the first time. Rain poured out of the Belgian sky all night before the battle, forcing the French soldiers to sleep in puddles and preventing Napoleon from manoeuvring his cannons — his favourite weapon — into place.

A few raindrops more or less felled Napoleon. It was a change in the direction of the universe.

Waterloo still taboo for the French 200 years on

No, because of God. Napoleon was also troubled by his health.

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Riding a horse on the battlefield was bound to be agony. The Bonapartists point to a crucial moment towards the end of the battle. As the French retreated, one group of men did so without breaking ranks — this was a battalion of the Garde, led by General Pierre Cambronne.

Waterloo (ABBA song)

Hearing this insulting rebuff, the British artillery opened fire from point-blank range and wiped out almost all of the , who instantly became martyrs — and in some French eyes, victors. Unleashing deadly lightning with such a word counts as victory. It is true that, even as early as the s, impoverished France almost relished the fact that it was being left behind by the British-led industrial revolution, and began to concentrate on its traditional industries such as the production of unique regional cheeses and wines, the distillation of perfumes from its native plants and hand-made high-quality clothes.

Villepin suggests that the global importance of these French industries today are victories that sprung directly from Waterloo.

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Until the order was given to exile Napoleon to Saint Helena, he seriously believed that he could retire as a celebrity in England. His supporters point to the fact that his tomb in Paris is bigger, and more frequently visited by tourists, than that of any king of France.