Why no Movie?
My entire piece was about how brilliant and essential Metternich was; at no point did I shortchange him as a “well-bred pimp.”
I’m not sure what your second paragraph means. Metternich was opposed to the Revolution and Napoleon from the start and Austria was the motive force on the continent behind the various coalitions.
Napoleon was a creature of the Directory, was sponsored by them, and betrayed them. I explained the Escobar analogy.
I point out in the essay how much Metternich respected Napoleon’s talents, drive, and genius. Napoleon’s aristocracy was just his aping of the actual thing, his crew of gangsters being handed titles for their loyalty to his regime. At no point did the French Empire have balanced budgets; it was a predatory enterprise that funded itself through plunder and kept its war machine going through forced levies of troops from conquered populations. The idea that women did not play an important role in the culture, diplomacy, and intrigues of the day is without support in the literature, primary or secondary.
The Bourbons are still the reigning monarchs in Spain. I make the same point about liberalism etc. in my essay.
When the warlord does come, it will be terrible, more so because their is no Metternich to oppose him. Such a figure, a true aristocrat of the spirit and not a bloody gangster, will have to emerge from the same mists of history as a true king, and may God speed the day.
What I'm getting out of this is that Metternich deserves to have a bunch of those neon RETVRN memes and maybe a Little Dark Edge edit. For real though, good write up for a criminally underrated figure of the Napoleonic age. Even though the eponymous French chud himself is, obviously, pretty important to the time, I think you only appreciate and understand his story and time period itself if you also understand most of the other players, but they all get overlooked because... they aren't flashy enough, I guess.
All sigma beta incel whatever jokes aside, the movie seems like it's going to just be fodder for pop history TEN THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT type things to pick apart for the next fifty years. I don't think I've ever seen a movie's hype deflate as quick or as hard as this one. It's so over for Napofags.
What's the american phrase? "You said a mouthful", is that it?
If you pardon the 'Finnegan's Wake'-ish style:
I sometimes wonder if it's me or if it's a real discrepancy between how americans understand "nationalism" as compared to various europeans - apart from the concept being tainted by the national socialists and that taint weaponised by Moscow-loyal stooges throught the post-war period, "nationalism" has always been a positive thing, natural and borne in the blood. Pretty much the same as with the concept of "Blued und Boden": until it was weaponised in german propaganda, it was so self-evident it didn't really need to be pointed out or at. Land and people is the nation, and cannot be separated: citizenship and -isms and all that is just words the high and mighty use.
I posit the difference in how the term is understood on the emotional, instinctual level is even more marked between americans and slavic peoples, or turkish ones. Soil, people, language, tradition, and faith. Few russians or serbs would fight for a "leader"; virtually all of them would fight for the mother-land if foreign invaders comes a-calling. The ongoing war in Ukraine f.e. The soldiers aren't fighting for Zelensky, but for their nation and people. They know full well Zelensky is corrupt, a gangster and a puppet. Same as the russians re: Putin.
Or it's a "me" thing and I'm the one seeing something that's no longer there. Fully possible, as most people don't think of self-evident things until they are gone and they wonder "What happened?".
Anyways, the one who defeated Napoleon was Napoleon, I'd argue. Also, Kutuzov and Rostopchin. Napoleon should have learned the bitter lesson of Charles XII and the campaign culminating in the swedish defeat at Poltava in 1709. Kutuzov used the same tactics Peter I used against the swedes and their kossack allies, and Napoleon fell for it, hook line and sinker.
Going by your description of his personality as someone with both a sense of grandiosity and an inferiority complex, he surely forgot that most important thing:
Titles, clothes, airs, and so on of the nobility is nothing more than window-dressing. It's not real - soon as any nobility needs to, the lace-fringed gloves come off, as Kutuzov and Rostopchin showed him.
Great write-up, as always. You do spoil your readers, you really do.
I enjoy these history pieces, and I think your stance on Napoleon is right. Many RWers celebrate Napoleon because he played the part of a based strongman nationalist, and established a kind of monarchy, but he never had any intention of reestablishing the old order. I don't know much about Metternich, but it sounds like he was the real deal, and should be better known to us.
Very good piece. I recently read Henry Kissinger's A World Restored - fascinating on the balancing act Metternich managed to pull off over ten years in order to shepherd Austria from a French puppet state, to a neutral friendly country linked to France by that most unbreakable of ties, a marriage alliance (thought Napoleon - lol only a true aristocrat would know how easy it is to discard one of those when necessary), to a mediator acceptable to all parties as Napoleon retreated, to a great power providing the Sixth Coalition with much of its legitimacy. All very 無為, a true sagechad.
(To say nothing of then successfully keeping the Concert of Europe and Holy Alliance intact in the following years despite the various enthusiasms of the Tsar).
Brilliant piece. I hadn't even heard of Metternich before, but I intend to read more about him. What an incredible life.
The first thing that comes to mind about napoleon was that he didn't want his wife to bathe because he liked her B.O...🤣
Could be haram but I remember reading that somewhere ...
So much to digest here. Also, one of the most mature criticisms of Nietzsche that I’ve seen. I didn’t know about Metternich… there’s no doubt that hundreds of thousands of these figures have also been rendered obscure by the media complex that is history. Perhaps these spiritual aristocrats, drowned out by the “algorithms” of their own times, were actually more influential than the Napoleon’s and their handlers. Yet the PR machine forces us into these invisible corners, wondering where all the others are. I believe the origin of folk tales is the telling of the stories of people like Metternich. We are “the folk.”
The Napoleon movie probably would have been fun in some black and white style CGI romp.
I very much appreciate your take on history. I always feel like my worldview is expanded.
Two of your funniest captions and an excellent article
I've been reading about the Habsburgs lately and Metternich came up and I can say he was the real deal.
I give the movie Napoleon 6 out of 10, which is generous. Went and saw it and walked away thinking, WTF did I just watch? After reading Andrew Roberts biography on Napoleon my expectations for Ridley Scott were low. I doubt anyone working on the movie bothered to read the book and would have been well served to have done so.
A well written and fascinating piece of history. We are fortunate indeed.
This dispute over Napoleon's place as world-historical figure and what he represented (Nietzschean superman fuck you collectivist deniers of muh vitalist WILL or avatar of ruinous liberalism) reminds me a little of Marxists debating whether the building of the pyramids was 'HisTORicaLly PRogrESsive' or 'opPreSSiNG tHe felAhEen'. I mean what does it matter now?
Suppose for example that the Nietzschean types were able conclusively to claim him as their own. Would liberals even contest ownership? I don't think they care; they're too intensely focused on consolidating their chokehold on the present. They recognise that they can't make Napoleon into a black woman or a tranny or whatever, so, aside from some petty psychologising, they basically leave him alone. They only fight battles over the past where there's room for doubt, however small (cf. Cheddar Man, Roman legionaries on Hadrian’s Wall, Achilles etc).
It's a bit of a midwit take for sure (I flatter myself that I'm an upper midwit), and I'm not saying that history should be left alone because...it's just one damned thing after another or whatever, but why fight over Napoleon? You point out here that Napoleon was both a chad conqueror and a spreader of LEFism--even if opportunistically and partly for reasons of lineage inferiority.
On the other hand maybe I’m taking it way too seriously and it’s all just for fun I don't know...
Well written but if this is history as opposed to a book review I don’t know if you’re being fair here to Metternich, there was considerably more to him than being a well bred pimp. He would have kept Napoleon in power if Napoleon would have let him, he would not.
The role of Austria in the downfall of Napoleon has always been underrated, it wouldn’t have happened without him.
That the destruction of Napoleon was Metternich’s aim upon meeting him... this is not what I read in his own words.
You are most unfair to Napoleon, he was more a creature of his times who rose to the challenge, when he “found the Crown of France in the gutter” and picked it up with his sword. That gutter was The Directory, think of Stalin being followed directly by Yeltsin and you have the idea. Calling him Pablo Escobar is absurd.
Napoleon saw far more of the horrors of the Jacobins and first hand. Someone had to do what he did and it was him, and it was better. Even with the wars.
Talleyrand helped far more than Josephine, indeed Talleyrand was most impressed with him.
Napoleon’s problems were he did not stop making war, frankly I’m not sure he could. At no point was Europe going to rest with a parvenu on the throne of France, at no point was England going to contemplate a powerful France astride all of Europe.
Napoleon- if you read his diary “The Corsican” was a creature of enormous genius and incredible energy and memory. The energy wasn’t just spent on war but The Napoleonic legal code and may we add instantly balanced budgets, he knew his accounts to the sou.
What would we give for such a man?
The actual RETVRN started under him. Including the return of the Aristocracy. A good source for that entire world is “The Origins of Contemporary France” by Hipplolyte Taine.
He describes a mind nearly unique in history.
You’re also turning the entire matter into a soap opera, sorry.
This is like getting the history of “Rome” from HBO. Marvelous series, in real life the women were not important. Josephine was a stepping stone and then a pit stop between campaigns.
Napoleon’s inferiority complex is ... this is Freudian and anachronistic... no. He correctly judged the intentions of Europe especially England. There was no peace. There’s never peace if England is challenged however indirectly (ask the Germans).
As far as the return of the Bourbons that was over fast by 1830 actually , and by 1848 all over.
The real victor was England, Liberalism, Capitalism and look where that has led us?
I shouldn’t turn up my nose at warlords by the way, what do you think is going to happen here 🇺🇸?
Napoleon? We should be so lucky. We’re going to be ruled by the American Mao (the most fit warlord) and considering the sorting process that will require we’ll be happiest when there’s a winner.