Napoleon's genocide 'on a par with Hitler'I believe there are two very different interpretations of both Napoleon and of the French Revolution that preceded him: One is the traditional French/continental version, in which the French Revolution is seen in a positive light, and Napoleon is viewed as a great, albeit megalomaniac, French leader. The other is the Anglo-American version, in which the French Revolution is viewed as leading directly into chaos and terror, and later to the rise of an authoritarian warmonger: Napoleon. In this interpretation, the French Revolution leads to the Totalitarian and Utopian ideologies of 20th century Europe, and Napoleon is an early version of Lenin or even Hitler. The British propaganda was, however, false on some points: The "diminutive" French general wasn't very short at all. Napoleon was about average height, perhaps slightly above, for men of his time:
Napoleon's genocide 'on a par with Hitler'
A French historian has caused uproar by claiming Napoleon provided the model for Hitler's Final Solution with the slaughter of more than 100,000 Caribbean slaves. In The Crime of Napoleon, Claude Ribbe accuses the emperor of genocide, gassing rebellious blacks more than a century before the Nazis' extermination of the Jews. His accusations refer to the extreme methods used to put down a ferocious uprising in Haiti at the start of the 19th century. Then known as San Domingo, the colony was considered a jewel of the French empire and to save it troops launched a campaign to kill all blacks aged over 12. "In simple terms, Napoleon ordered the killing of as many blacks as possible in Haiti and Guadeloupe to be replaced by new, docile slaves from Africa," Ribbe said yesterday. He said he had found accounts from officers who refused to take part in the massacres, especially the use of sulphur dioxide to kill slaves held in ships' holds. His book is already provoking controversy prior to its publication on Thursday. The newspaper France Soir juxtaposed images of Napoleon and Hitler yesterday before asking: "Did Napoleon invent the Final Solution?"
Napoleon Fans to Re-Enact 1805 Triumph
France's defense minister met with Czech leaders Friday while in the Czech Republic to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's battle of Austerlitz. "We live in the present, but we always return to the roots of our history," French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said after meeting her Czech counterpart, Karel Kuehnl, in Prague. "It is a celebration of the strategy and tactics of the armies that fought there," she said. "It also is a celebration of the wisdom of nations that succeeded in overcoming problems that were dividing them." Later Friday, Alliot-Marie traveled to Austerlitz, the site of the battle in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Russian and Austrian armies in 1805. She laid a wreath at the Zuran Hill from which Napoleon directed the battle. "We gathered here to remember the event that was both tragic and fascinating in the history of Europe," Alliot-Marie said. She said that the reconstruction of the battle connected thousands of people who had come from around the world "not to celebrate a war, but to commemorate those who died ... for their countries." Napoleon enthusiasts planned to re-enact the famous battle Saturday at its original site near Slavkov, known in history books by its German name Austerlitz and located near the Moravian capital of Brno, about 150 miles southeast of Prague.
Napoleon was poisoned: toxicological study
Napoleon Bonaparte was murdered by arsenic poisoning and did not die naturally of a stomach cancer, according to a new toxicological study which attempts to end long running historical controversy. "The latest analysis suggests a criminal intent," said Dr Pascal Kintz, a toxicologist who regularly gives expert evidence in court cases, and who conducted a new study on Napoleon's hair. For International Napoleonic Society (INS) spokesman Jean-Claude Damamme the new study by Dr Kintz has produced "the definitive proof of the criminal poisoning of Napoleon". Napoleon died aged 51 in 1821, on the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic, where he had been banished after his military defeat by British and Prussian forces at Waterloo. The toxic form of arsenic, used for centuries as rat poison, was found in Napoleon's hair samples at 37 to 42 times above the normal level in the new study.
Battle of Trafalgar Anniversary Sunk by Political Correctness
Admiral Horatio Nelson may have guided the British naval fleet to a famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, but he faces a far tougher foe during celebrations to mark its 200th anniversary -- the massed forces of political correctness. According to a newspaper report on Sunday, organisers of a re-enactment of the sea battle next month have decided to bill it as between a "Red Fleet" and a "Blue Fleet", rather than Britain and its French and Spanish adversaries. This is being done to avoid the embarrassment of assembled French dignitaries at the event feeling humiliated by watching their nation routed again, The Sunday Times said. Official literature for the planned event next month will also be toned down, describing the extravaganza as a re-enactment not of Trafalgar but of "an early 19th century sea battle". Trafalgar, in which the British Royal Navy saw off a combined Franco-Spanish fleet off the southern coast of Spain, marked a crucial defeat for Napoleon's sea power. Nelson himself fell during the battle, mortally wounded by a French sharpshooter.