Military Review

Napoleonic "legend". Real events and unrealistic intentions

41
Napoleonic "legend". Real events and unrealistic intentions

Napoleon on the island of St. Helena. Sandmann (XIX century)


The emergence of the "legend"


The Legend dates back to the Italian campaign of 1796-1797. The great victories won by Napoleon glorified his name throughout Europe. Bonaparte, being an attentive and quick-witted man, understood the future benefits and success of his own propaganda. On July 20, 1797, he founded two newspapers: "Courier of the Italian Army" и "View of France from Italy"... Napoleon did not have to think about financing the newspaper, since they were entirely supported by war booty.

The aforementioned newspapers glorified the exploits of Bonaparte, made him a true defender of the conquests of the revolution, bringing freedom to enslaved peoples. Napoleon tried to ensure that the newspaper was seen by the maximum number of people, so he often handed out newspapers for free.

It was these newspapers that became the starting point in creating the image of the hero. For example, one of the issues of the newspaper said: "Hannibal sleeps in Capua, but active Bonaparte does not sleep in Mantua." Or a newspaper "Courier of the Italian Army" narrates: “Bonaparte is swift like lightning and overtakes like a thunderclap. He is omniscient and omnipresent ... " . "View of France from Italy" narrated:

Looking into his soul, we will see an ordinary person willingly parting in a family circle with the attributes of his greatness. His brain is usually weighed down with some great thought, which often robs him of sleep and appetite. With confidential dignity, he can turn to someone who enjoys his favor: “Before me the kings trembled, fifty million could be stored in my chests, I could claim anything, but I am a citizen of France, I am the first general of the Great Nations, and I know that future generations will give me what I deserve!


18 Brumaire


When Napoleon became the first consul, having carried out a coup d'état, he was faced with the task of convincing the people that his power was legitimate. In this regard, he is improving his "legend" by introducing new installations into it. Bonaparte explains that the coup was a forced measure that saved France. He said that the country was mired in corruption, deceit, intrigue, fighting between factions, etc. The only way to preserve the gains of the revolution is to change the regime.

Napoleon set out to show the French people that his power ensures peace and happiness for all classes of society. Bonaparte argued that he did not express the will of any particular class. By the way, the whole domestic and foreign policy of Napoleon was as follows: you need to please both groups of the third estate - the peasantry and the bourgeoisie. It was much easier with the peasants than with the bourgeoisie. To ensure the support of the peasantry, it was necessary to give them a guarantee of the inviolability of their possessions, which they acquired during the revolution. The support of the bourgeoisie had to be earned in more complicated ways. During the Italian campaign, Bonaparte realized that the bourgeoisie yearned for peace, which he soon achieved, although the Directory was against this, since the continuation of the war is a guarantee of the Directory's stay in power. Financial reform, the Bank of France, the Civil Code, the continental blockade, wars - all these gestures were aimed at the bourgeoisie in order to get their support.

Propaganda glorified Napoleon, focusing on the following achievements: the elimination of banditry, the end of the civil war in the Vendée, success in the fight against corruption.

Consulate


After Napoleon established himself in his place and ceased to fear for his power, he began to spread his propaganda in areas such as painting, theater, literature, architecture, music, etc. For example, Bonaparte orders the best artists in France to paint battle canvases on plots of the Napoleonic wars. The great contribution to the development of the "legend" in the field of painting was made by the brilliant artist Antoine Gros. It was he who wrote the masterpiece "Napoleon on the Arkol Bridge", which marked the beginning of a series of paintings glorifying Bonaparte. This painting depicts the moment of the battle at Arcola, when Napoleon snatches out the banner and drags the soldiers along. This attack, launched on the first day of the battle, was drowned out.


Antoine Jean Gros. Napoleon Bonaparte on the Arkolsky bridge (1796-1797)

The painting contributed to the development of the "legend" "Napoleon at the Plague Hospital in Jaffa", written by the same Antoine Gros. At first, the artist wanted to depict Bonaparte embracing a patient, but this version was rejected, as it was too implausible. As a result, the painting depicted a real brave man who collected all the best human qualities in himself, touching the patient's tumor. In reality, Napoleon did not touch the sick and kept a considerable distance.


Napoleon visits the plague patients in Jaffa. Gro (1804)

The image of Napoleon was also thought out to the smallest detail. Unlike his marshals and generals, who wore a truly luxurious uniform, he was dressed in a simple gray frock coat and a small hat. All this created the appearance of Bonaparte's "nationality". He even wore his famous cocked hat a little differently from all other senior officers: he wore it at an angle, revealing his face.

Propaganda claimed that Napoleon was a genius, and in everything. Under the full influence of this aspect of the "legend", Merezhkovsky's famous book "Napoleon" was written. It turns out that Napoleon's genius is absolute, it is much broader than his military gifts or personal fearlessness. For example, he is a genius of movement, a genius not only of memory, but also of imagination, that is, a poet whose hero is an ineffable silence, into which he listens attentively at decisive moments of life. Even the philistine in him, according to Merezhkovsky, is brilliant.

Empire


Propaganda during this period tried to emphasize that vassal countries receive some benefits and advantages from cooperation with France. An image of cohesion was created between the countries, which together move towards a common goal. The following were cited as advantages: the establishment of freedom of religion, the elimination of feudalism, the introduction of the Civil Code, the establishment of universal equality before the law, the abolition of internal customs barriers, the reorganization of the administrative system, the improvement of finances, etc.

Napoleon was also given the image of peacefulness. According to the "legend", Napoleon always longed for peace and did everything to make it happen. This business has always been spoiled by the sinister England, which constantly financed and formed new coalitions against France. It is noteworthy that always in his wars Napoleon tried to give them the appearance of "liberation". Thus, for example, in his appeal to the Saxons, he said:

Saxons, Prussia has taken over your land. I'm going to set you free. … Will you not make the right choice between those who want to enslave you and those who want to protect you? My success will ensure the existence and independence of your nation.

During the period of the empire, Napoleon was first presented as the viceroy of God on earth. In the new catechism, obligatory for all Catholics, the emperor became like God: "The Lord, - said in the VII Instruction," made it so that he was our ruler, earthly likeness and the executor of His will. To honor and love our emperor is the same as to honor and love God. "

Hundred days


After Napoleon's abdication in 1814, foreign powers placed Louis XVIII, a representative of the Bourbon dynasty, on the throne of France. Napoleon, being on the island of Elba, saw perfectly well that the Bourbons were unable to calm all classes of French society. The people were not pleased with their king, they again wanted an emperor. The ex-emperor in France had his own network of agents, headed by Cipriani, who supplied him with all the necessary information about the state of affairs in the country. After waiting for the right moment, Napoleon fled from the island of Elba, landing on March 1, 1815 in France.

Napoleon needed a reason to return to France. As such, he named the bad rule of the Bourbons. Napoleon said:

Imperceptibly the old laws, the old injustice and feudal order would have been restored ... A terrible reaction was preparing. The indignant and tired people would want to throw off the yoke of the Bourbons, and in less than a year most of you gentlemen would have been hanged, yes, hanged! When I realized this, I decided to return to France, to save this glorious people who do not deserve to be humiliated.

During the year of the reign of Louis XVIII, Napoleon appeared as a usurper, tyrant and despot who did not have the slightest right to rule. Napoleon again had to prove his rights to the throne. While proving his legitimacy, Napoleon at the same time sought to instill the idea of ​​the illegality of the Bourbon rule and of their incompatibility with post-revolutionary France.

Napoleon decided to become a constitutional monarch and go on a course of liberalization. Then the question arises: why did Napoleon not become a constitutional monarch before, if he always adhered to liberal views?

In his conversation with the liberal Benjamin Constant, Napoleon explained:

The nation has been taking a break from political unrest for twelve years; it has been taking a break from wars for a year. This double rest returned her need for activity. She wants, or thinks she wants, to have a rostrum and an assembly. She didn't always want them. She threw herself at my feet when I came to power. You must remember this, you tried to be in opposition. Where was your support, your strength? Nowhere. … I wanted to build a world empire, and in order to achieve this, I needed unlimited power. For the rule of France alone, perhaps a constitution is better. … See what you think is possible. Give me your ideas. Public debate, free elections, responsible ministers, freedom of speech - I agree to all of this. … I am a man of the people; and if the people really want freedom, I will give it to them.



Karl Steiben. "The Return of Napoleon from the Island of Elba" (1834)

Saint Helena


After the Battle of Waterloo and the abdication, Napoleon unexpectedly decided to leave his future fate to the British. The fact is that the ex-emperor deliberately subjected himself to inconvenience and torment in Saint Helena in order to immortalize himself forever and appear as a martyr in the eyes of mankind.

From this point of view, the incessant complaints of the emperor about the bad climate of the island and about the mistreatment of the governor of the Hudson Lowe become more understandable: Napoleon viewed his sufferings not only as trials through which he was destined to go, but also as a necessary element for creating his own “legend ”And the most effective way to root it in the minds of the masses.

Conclusion


Undoubtedly, the Bonapartist "legend" gained widespread influence on the masses. For decades Napoleon shaped his image, shaped the way he wanted to see himself in the eyes of his descendants. Undoubtedly, he did it. To be fair, I want to note that not all statements of the "legend" are myths. The Napoleonic "legend" is real events, but unrealistic intentions are attributed to them.

List of used literature

1. Dzhivelegov A.K. Alexander I and Napoleon. M.: "Zakharov", 2018 p.
2. Sterlikov A.A. The emergence of the Napoleonic "legend".
3. Sterlikov A.A. One Hundred Days of Napoleon and the Bonapartist "Legend".
4. Undalov A.M. On some methods of influence of Napoleonic propaganda on public opinion.
5. Kuznetsova E.I. The image and image of Napoleon.
6. Tolmachev V.M. Merezhkovsky and Napoleon.
Author:
Photos used:
en.wikipedia.org
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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 20 September 2020 15: 29
    +6
    Three hundred years have passed, and little has changed.
    The entire media resource, including the newly-minted radio and TV, is constantly pouring into the consciousness that without a leader, a country is not a country, a people is not a people. So, an ordinary citizen, if you please vote, reset and wear a T-shirt with a portrait of the sun.
    1. parusnik
      parusnik 20 September 2020 15: 37
      11
      Napoleon did not have time to think of T-shirts with his image and badges. smile And so nothing changes ...
      1. Ilya-spb
        Ilya-spb 20 September 2020 16: 15
        +7
        In short, Bonaparte was one of the first to understand the importance of PR. Well done!
      2. Reviews
        Reviews 20 September 2020 17: 18
        +5
        Quote: parusnik
        Napoleon did not have time to think of T-shirts with his image and badges. smile


        1. parusnik
          parusnik 20 September 2020 17: 38
          +5
          And what is the denomination?
          1. Lexus
            Lexus 20 September 2020 17: 54
            +7
            And what is the denomination?

            Alex, welcome! hi Naturally standard. bully

            1. parusnik
              parusnik 20 September 2020 18: 22
              +4
              Similarly. hi Not Polish? laughing
              1. Lexus
                Lexus 20 September 2020 18: 30
                +8
                The demon knows him ... Them, Napoleons, taperich in bulk. Especially in clinics. lol
                1. parusnik
                  parusnik 20 September 2020 18: 51
                  +3
                  Them, Napoleons, taperich in bulk, especially in clinics.
                  You are mistaken, but released smile You need to choose someone ... laughing
                  1. Lexus
                    Lexus 20 September 2020 18: 58
                    +4
                    "Freedom and glasnost" applies only to the "special contingent". laughing
                2. Pilot
                  Pilot 20 September 2020 19: 44
                  +3
                  Quote: lexus
                  The demon knows him ... Them, Napoleons, taperich in bulk. Especially in clinics. lol
                  Come on, only in clinics, so they got to the helm ... they are also fond of international drafts, giveaway and very successfully ... Talents !!!))) belay wassat
                3. aleksejkabanets
                  aleksejkabanets 20 September 2020 23: 55
                  -1
                  Quote: lexus
                  Them, Napoleons, taperich in bulk. Especially in clinics.

                  Unfortunately, not only in clinics. Apparently the next optimization of psychiatric institutions is bearing fruit.
                  1. Lexus
                    Lexus 21 September 2020 00: 13
                    +3
                    "Sometimes they come back." (C) When it is beneficial. However, not only them. wink

              2. The leader of the Redskins
                The leader of the Redskins 20 September 2020 22: 05
                -2
                Not. I drank Polish in January. The bottle label and shape is different. Moreover, the Poles do not have cognac, but brandy. But, too, nothing, although 36 degrees. He drank pleasantly.
          2. Reviews
            Reviews 20 September 2020 18: 09
            +1
            Quote: parusnik
            And what is the denomination?

            Various. As with any coinage system. I'm not a numismatist. Enter "Napoleon".
      3. Catfish
        Catfish 20 September 2020 18: 48
        +4
        Has already. As they say - better late than never.

        The respected O. Bender with his famous tattoo "Napoleon with a beer mug." smile
    2. KVU-NSVD
      KVU-NSVD 20 September 2020 15: 41
      +3
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Three hundred years have passed

      two hundred
      Any ruler (even a hereditary monarch in one degree or another) sculpts his image "for widespread use" - ce la vie .. shortcomings, everyday life and oversights of rulers are not for relevance, but for descendants and historians, when implementing politics here and now it is most often only a hindrance and a source of "clues" for opponents. So Bonaparte did nothing extraordinary.
    3. Alf
      Alf 20 September 2020 21: 29
      +2
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      So, an ordinary citizen, if you please vote, reset and wear a T-shirt with a portrait of the sun.

  2. parusnik
    parusnik 20 September 2020 15: 32
    +6
    Jacques-Louis David "Bonaparte at the Saint-Bernard Pass", 1801-1805.

    and Paul Delaroche "Napoleon's Crossing the Alps". 1848-1850

    As it really was.
    1. Snail N9
      Snail N9 20 September 2020 17: 25
      10
      As it really was ... Well ... As it was, you can only imagine. Vaughn now known here "Chairman of SNT" presented his theory that there was no Patriotic War of 1812, but there was ... there was a joint campaign by Bounaparte and the Muscovites led by the Romanovs against Tartaria. laughing How do you like that ... wassat
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 20 September 2020 17: 40
        +6
        How do you like it
        ... No way smile the man of paper clips swallowed .. smile
        1. Lexus
          Lexus 20 September 2020 20: 51
          +5
          Those consuming "nonsense" always follow the "increasing" ... zaborosti. lol
        2. Lexus
          Lexus 20 September 2020 21: 03
          +1
          Braces are also different. As they say, "for every taste" (C). laughing

  3. nnm
    nnm 20 September 2020 15: 38
    0
    Thanks to the author.
    Tell me, please, was there any propaganda of the fact that in the period before the empire, Napoleon came to power by elective means (we will omit the details with the guards in the hall), and did not inherit power?
    And how was it then played out during the period of the empire?
    1. Artem Lavrentiev
      20 September 2020 16: 31
      +8
      Good afternoon.

      Napoleon tried in every possible way to prove his legitimacy. The coup of the 18th Brumaire was presented as absolutely necessary measure, as a result of which all the gains of the revolution were preserved.

      Indeed, Napoleon tried to appeal to the "nationality" of the new regime. Bonaparte claimed that he was the representative of the entire French people. Calls to sacrifice their party interests in the name of "the simple title of a French citizen" were very characteristic of the Napoleonic propaganda of this period. Napoleon really appeared to the people as a man who brought them peace and stopped factional struggle. The slogan was put forward: "No red caps, no red heels", that is, no Jacobins, no aristocrats.

      Napoleon clearly understood that he did not possess the traditional, "grace of God", the legitimacy of kings. The most important source of his power was the belief of the French people in the charisma of Napoleon the commander, which largely depended on his victories.
      1. nnm
        nnm 20 September 2020 16: 36
        0
        This is exactly what I asked. After May 18, how was the previous propaganda about the absence of division by heels and caps played out? Or just the emphasis shifted to the fact that only the most worthy go up?
        1. Artem Lavrentiev
          20 September 2020 17: 26
          +6
          Hello again!

          Let's start with what excuse Napoleon came up with when he declared himself emperor. In 1803, a conspiracy was being prepared against Napoleon, financed by England. The conspiracy of prominent figures involved the leader of the Chouans Cadudal and General Moreau. According to rumors, the conspirators wanted to put on the throne the Duke of Enghien, who belonged to the younger branch of the Bourbons. The Third Estate was frankly tired of the constant attempts to restore the Bourbons. Among the big bourgeoisie, among the people who at one time bought up the lands confiscated from the church and from emigrants, the desire to consolidate the power and the regime created by Napoleon, to firmly protect themselves and their property from the assassination of the old aristocratic masters, grew more and more. Napoleon took advantage of this.

          So, the bourgeoisie fully supported Napoleon's political course. It was important for the peasants that their lands were not confiscated, and Napoleon was a kind of guarantor of this. True republicans actively opposed the new title of Napoleon. They have not forgotten the goals of the revolution, their curses towards the crowned masters. Paul-Louis Courier wrote: "To be Bonaparte and then become emperor! What a demotion!"... The fact that the Pope himself blessed his reign and approved the new title of Napoleon was actively used as an argument for legitimacy.

          Indeed, Napoleon soon began to destroy the revolution. His Code finally strangled her. But again, the emperor relied on the third estate, especially on the bourgeoisie, whose interests he completely satisfied.

          Napoleonic propaganda argued that everyone can rise up, the main thing is that there is talent. This was partly true. People with talents and abilities did become prominent figures. There was no so-called "nepotism" in the Empire either.
          1. nnm
            nnm 20 September 2020 17: 37
            0
            Thanks for answers.
          2. nnm
            nnm 20 September 2020 17: 37
            0
            Thanks for answers.
          3. Okolotochny
            Okolotochny 21 September 2020 13: 39
            -1
            There was no so-called "nepotism" in the Empire either.

            And Murat? He seemed to be married to Napoleon's sister?
            1. Tavrik
              Tavrik 27 September 2020 21: 24
              0
              Yes, the whole family was well accommodated there. But at the same time, really, active, talented, courageous people from various strata of the population could climb the social elevators even in the army, even in the civil service.
          4. Polymer
            Polymer 24 September 2020 08: 41
            0
            Quote: Artem Lavrentiev
            Napoleonic propaganda argued that everyone can rise up, the main thing is that there is talent.

            Nothing has changed since then. Now propaganda claims the same, but this is far from reality.
            Quote: Artem Lavrentiev
            This was partly true.

            That's right, that's only partly. In fact, only in a short post-revolutionary period are active movements up the social ladder possible. Then, after the redistribution of property, the newly formed system grows stiff and the possibilities of such movements become severely limited, regardless of any talents.
            Quote: Artem Lavrentiev
            Indeed, Napoleon soon began to destroy the revolution. His Code finally strangled her.
      2. kalibr
        kalibr 20 September 2020 17: 38
        +2
        Dear Artem! I liked the material very much. I read it with particular interest, my specialty is just OL
        1. depressant
          depressant 21 September 2020 14: 25
          +1
          So we switched to the Aesopian language)))
          Is it time?
  4. The popuas
    The popuas 20 September 2020 15: 45
    0
    He reminds me of someone from the current amphora seekers recourse
    1. Kronos
      Kronos 20 September 2020 16: 27
      +4
      The amphora seeker relies entirely on PR without real merit, Napoleon's talents were backed up by PR.
  5. Selevc
    Selevc 21 September 2020 11: 02
    0
    Historians often misrepresent the Napoleonic era - and it is this time that needs to be covered solely on the basis of the Anglo-French confrontation. The era of Napoleon the 1st is the peak-peak-culmination of the struggle of the two superpowers that lasted the entire 2th century !!! Many events presented in this vein look completely different - for example, the so-called Great French Revolution is nothing more than a blow from the outside - inflicted by the British special services on France !!! This blow plunged France into chaos and halted the construction of a huge French fleet, as well as prevented the conclusion of anti-English coalitions on the continent.
    1. Selevc
      Selevc 21 September 2020 11: 42
      +1
      The article is generally utter nonsense - it is enough to cross the English Channel and we will see exactly the same propaganda - exactly the same pictures with the heroic deeds of British kings and queens, dukes and duchesses !!! ... The Duke of Marlborough - why not the hyped Bonaparte of his era ?? ?

      Napoleon was so progressive for his time that in that era he seems to be a real person from the future !!! I believe that a man of genius is worthy of glory even through propaganda - because there are always too many propagandized mediocrities around !!!

      By the way, the murder of the Duke of Enghien and the coronation of Napoleon are spitting in the face of the European tribal elites of that time !!! The great Corsican mocked the titles and their bearers pretty much !!!
  6. Tavrik
    Tavrik 27 September 2020 21: 20
    0
    He said that the country was mired in corruption, deception, intrigue, fighting between factions, etc. The only way to preserve the gains of the revolution is to change the regime.
    Napoleon set out to show the French people that his power ensures peace and happiness for all classes of society. Bonaparte argued that he did not express the will of any particular class.

    Yes, it was. The mess in a country in which power was seized by the big bourgeoisie, who had become rich on various state procurements, was impressive. Huge inflation, banditry, lack of rule of law, unemployment and war. It was necessary to restore order ...

    Unlike his marshals and generals, who wore a truly luxurious uniform, he was dressed in a simple gray frock coat and a small hat. All this created the appearance of Bonaparte's "nationality". He even wore his famous cocked hat a little differently from all other senior officers: he wore it at an angle, revealing his face.

    In his paintings, Gro painted Napoleon in what he saw him in. On the Arkolsky bridge, Napoleon in an absolutely accurately drawn general's uniform. He wore a gray coat much later and by no means always. Wearing a three-quarter hat, slightly obliquely, was widespread.

    An image of cohesion was created between the countries, which together move towards a common goal. The following were cited as advantages: the establishment of freedom of religion, the elimination of feudalism, the introduction of the Civil Code, the establishment of universal equality before the law, the abolition of internal customs barriers, the reorganization of the administrative system, improvement of finances, etc.

    Well, in general, yes. This is a variant of the European Union, but the locomotive instead of Germany is France.

    According to the "legend", Napoleon always longed for peace and did everything to make it happen. This business has always been spoiled by the sinister England, which constantly financed and formed new coalitions against France.

    It is also true ... And England had loyal followers on the continent. The bourgeoisie fought for markets.
  7. Tavrik
    Tavrik 27 September 2020 21: 39
    0
    Quote: Polymer
    That's right, that's only partly. In fact, only in a short post-revolutionary period are active movements up the social ladder possible.

    Not only in the post-revolutionary period. Origin of junior officers (up to and including captain) of the French army in 1814:
    Noble: over 5%
    From families of landowners: about 20%
    From bourgeois families (merchants, rentiers, manufacturers): about 25%
    From families of officials: about 10%
    From military families: about 7%
    From families of artisans: about 10%
    From peasant families: about 14%
    From families of workers and day laborers: less than 1%
    Of course, after the catastrophe of 1812, it was urgently necessary to make up for the loss in officers, but here are the data on the generals of the revolution and the empire of non-noble origin:
    From families of merchants and bourgeois: 371 people
    From families of officials: 230
    From military families: 167
    From families of lawyers: 115
    From peasant families: 90
    From families of artisans and workers: 87
    Freelance families: 79
    There were about 2000 generals in total. Those interested can find similar statistics for the Russian or English armies of that period.
    Data from the "Army of Napoleon" OV Sokolov.
  8. Tavrik
    Tavrik 27 September 2020 21: 48
    0
    Quote: Artem Lavrentiev
    Indeed, Napoleon soon began to destroy the revolution. His Code finally strangled her. But again, the emperor relied on the third estate, especially on the bourgeoisie, whose interests he completely satisfied.

    How could he destroy what died before him?
    The code defined human and civil rights. So that there is no infringement of the interests of different classes. And the third estate is the overwhelming majority of the country's population. The bourgeoisie, manufacturers, bankers, peasants, landowners, artisans, cultural workers, industrialists, doctors, teachers, lawyers. Those. very wide and varied segments of the population. And who else could he describe himself, being himself a native of the small provincial nobility? The nobles, those of the "old order", either emigrated or were executed. A smaller part joined the "new life", but there are not many of them against the general background. The priests went into the background. There remains the third estate, which includes those who create the economic basis of the country.