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Posts Tagged ‘waterloo’

Napoleon Bonaparte who assumed the title of the emperor of France, showed by a series of victories he was worthy to be included among the immortals such as Alexander and Julius Caesar. His brilliant victories created such a condition he could not have sat idle with such a powerful army battle hardened and disciplined under his command. Thus he was caught in the crest of a wave that took him to his Russian campaign. Disaster was the result. What went wrong? Winter had only one strategy to which his brilliance in warfare did not work. Add to it what happened at Waterloo. His prominence owed to his artillery, a taste of it was shown at the Siege of Toulon(1793)*. It was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon. In every battle his strategy relied on his mastery of this science. On the crucial day where battle was to be joined he had to delay because of unseasonal rains that made artillery ineffective. This delay was to cost him precious hour and it allowed the Allied Armies to regroup while his own divisions were in disarray. So several reasons combined together, to say the least.
We see again the weather playing a crucial role in a crucial battle. I shall quote from Live Science:

Napoleon’s historic defeat at Waterloo may have been spurred by a volcano that erupted two months earlier, and nearly 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) away.

During the decisive battle on June 18, 1815, in what is now Belgium, mucky, wet conditions mired Napoleon’s armies and lent a strategic advantage to his foes. But the heavy rainfall that flooded Europe during May and June that year may have resulted from a significant atmospheric disturbance in April, when an Indonesian volcano named Mount Tambora erupted, according to a new study.

Erupting volcanoes can spew towering ash plumes into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere, which extends to 32 miles (50 km) above the surface of Earth. Over time, gases from the eruption can create aerosols — air particles — that diffuse solar radiation, which can temporarily affect global climate. But exceptionally powerful eruptions can also generate electrical forces that propel ash particles even higher — into the cloud-forming ionosphere, from 50 to 600 miles (80 to 1,000 km) above the Earth’s surface, Matthew Genge, a senior lecturer in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at the Imperial College London in the U.K., reported in the study, which was published online Aug. 21 in the journal Geology.
Electrically charged, levitating ash following Tambora’s 1815 eruption thus might have affected weather in Europe within weeks, long before ash particles in the stratosphere darkened European skies during the summer of 1816, according to the study.
Man and nations do not settle the matters to their satisfaction because of their wealth, brains or by numbers. There is One who shall step in where the pride of men needs cut to size. It happened to Napoleon and shall happen again. Man may imagine God is a Bogey, so for skeptics weather is something they can understand and it shall certainly play its part.
*Note:
It was the dictum of Napoleon,’Inspiration in war is appropriate only to the commander-in-chief, and his lieutenants must confine themselves to executing orders.’ On the fateful day before battle at Waterloo was to be joined Napoleon’s inspiration was obviously at low since there were thunderstorms and shower the night before and the great artillery expert, Comte Antoine Drouot advised him to let the ground dry out till mid-day when twelve-pounder batteries could get into position. ‘Had the action begun two hours earlier, it would have been finished by four o’clock’ in favor of Napoleon. Naturally Napoleon who built his fame on the artillery found it prudent to delay and it cost him dearly. Was hubris laughing in her sleeve for all the circumstances given to this Corsican? (selected from my essay:child of circumstances/history- Sept.13, 2010)
Benny

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In the previous post we discussed about no-man’s land where old rivalries and unfinished business of history are filed away. For anyone who studies history it shall become apparent no war has ever finished with a clean cut. A battle would require some ten thousand little skirmishes which may not catch the headlines. In the ignominious defeat of France in June.1940 lay the devil-seeds of the unsettled business of 1793-94 coming to fruition. The nation that set out to bury the Bourbon dynasty will grovel themselves before imperialist ambitions of Napoleons. Having lost the moral compass what do such genuflections mean? Some glory! some shameless antics!

Napoleon had lost the battle of Waterloo even before it was waged. Napoleon Bonaparte who assumed the title of the emperor of France showed by a series of victories he was worthy to be included among the immortals such as Alexander and Julius Caesar. His brilliant victories created such a condition he could not have sat idle with such a powerful army battle hardened and disciplined under his command. Thus he was caught in the crest of a wave that took him to his Russian campaign. Disaster was the result. What went wrong? Napoleon was weighed in the balance of humanity and was found wanting. Like the king in the book of Daniel.

Morality of man is not without reason compared to a compass. It covers the entire spectrum of man’s conduct through time and place. When Napoleon’s humanity,- and it can only be judged in his interaction with others, there was a serious problem. His ambition did not see people as people but as means to aggrandize himself. (Same mentality can be seen in the manner the French Army threw Captain Dreyfus to ignominy in order to protect its avaunted ‘gloire.’) This moral fault is worse than blindness. Your soul is affected. Physical blindness robs you of vision but leaves the harmony of celestial spheres in tact. It paints in fact colors that the world with its lurid colors can never match. Moral blindness is terrible. It makes you miss your place in the moral compass. You look at it and whatever you see there is anything other than your own humanity. It is almost a hell you have created even before you gave up your ghost, to use the expression in the Bible.

Each of us is like man with one foot in the sticky mess of morass of our own making. On a moral plane our culpability is that of being part of humanity. ‘No man is an island’ as Donne said it famously. This is collateral damages we need accept on a moral plane. In terms of Christian theology we need see it also refers to our fallen state.

benny

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