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Bonapartism & Doubts about Napoleon III

Napoleon III /

Napoleon III /

Bonapartism’ was three things put under one invented name: a political movement, a system of government, and a boxed set of political principles. It supported the descendents of Napoleon Bonaparte, and dated from the election of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as President of the 2nd Republic of France in 1848.

   History tells us that the last named, who became Napoleon III, was the nephew of the Emperor himself. The DNA scientists now inform us that he probably wasn’t, at least on the part of his father. In fact the Bonaparte family have always expressed doubts about the genealogy of Napoleon III. The dilemma is to do with ‘Y’ chromosomes: the Emperor’s are supposedly ‘Corsican/Sardinian’, whereas those of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte are said to be ‘Caucasian’, which negates any consanguinity. This has recently been revealed in the newspaper Le Figaro. Previously, we believed that Napoleon III was a son of Louis Bonaparte, brother of the Emperor and King of Holland. He was married to Hortense de Beauharnais, a daughter from the first marriage of Josephine, who later married the Emperor. I count myself with the group who believe that descendency from the Emperor ceased with the death of his son (consumption or tuberculosis, 1832) at the age of twenty-one. It is recorded that Jerome Bonaparte, youngest brother of the Emperor, once publicly shouted at Napoleon III: “You have nothing of the Emperor in you at all!” (more…)

By | 2014-06-10T16:45:39+00:00 June 10th, 2014|French History, World History|0 Comments

The Czechoslovakian Crisis

The historic meeting at Bad Godesberg /

The historic meeting at Bad Godesberg /

Many years before The Czech Republic and Slovakia freed themselves from the yoke of being simply Czechoslovakia, this crisis evolved from territorial demands made by Adolf Hitler. One of the results of the Treaty of Versailles of unhappy memory was that over three million Germans were living in the Sudetenland, bordering with Germany and Austria. When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, he stated that he wanted the inclusion of these three million in Germany. (more…)

Ferdinand (Fernando) VII of Spain

/ from a painting by Goya

/ from a painting by Goya

Ferdinand (Fernando) VII. With a few notable exceptions Spain, like Britain, has not always been fortunate in its kings. Fernando the Seventh of that name stands out as a particularly bad example. He was no good for the Spanish people, and considered the people no good for him. He was born the eldest son of Charles (Carlos) IV and his queen, María Luisa in 1784. At the age of 33 he was plotting against his parents, and was banished for his sins in 1807. (more…)

By | 2014-05-15T07:19:25+00:00 May 14th, 2014|French History|0 Comments

The end of the Terror and of Robespierre

The end comes for Robespierre /

The end comes for Robespierre /

The end of the Terror and of Robespierre. On 8 Thermidor (26 July) 1794, Robespierre the absolute leader of the French Revolution spoke in an unusually tactless manner to the Convention in Paris. Normally a man of caution, he ‘threw it to the winds’ and verbally assaulted his own colleagues sitting on the Committee of Public Safety (sic). He accused them of ‘conspiring against public liberty’. The outburst caused a sensation, partly because other members knew no Frenchman was safe at all, and that publicliberty was in the France of 1794 as much of an oxymoron as the phrase beautiful tyrant.

Disconcerted, Robespierre’s colleagues asked him to name the men he was accusing, but he refused. This was puzzling, as their leader had spoken of treachery, punishable by death. Members like Carnot and Fouché felt threatened, and decided it was time to eliminate Robespierre. This was an odd couple to plan such a move, as Carnot was known as a moderate, while Fouché was one of the worst of the official Terrorists. (more…)

By | 2014-05-07T15:41:03+00:00 May 7th, 2014|French History, World History|0 Comments

The Consulate

Bonaparte is welcomed as First Consul

Bonaparte is welcomed as First Consul

The Consulate. In this piece I am not writing about consulates – which are offices maintained by countries in other countries, where business is done and, occasionally, the officials manage to help a fellow countryman in trouble. That is the chief difference between embassies and consulates, the ambassador and his staff represent their country at the highest level in the corridors of power of the host state, whereas in the average consulate the consul and vice-consul are there to maintain the best possible relations between their country’s industries and those of the host country. There is another big difference too: an embassy is semi-sacred ground, a tiny piece of real estate belonging to the guest ambassador’s state – which is why refugees sometimes seek asylum there. (more…)

By | 2014-05-05T12:55:12+00:00 May 5th, 2014|French History, World History|0 Comments

The 21 Demands (of Japan)

Yuan Shikai of China /

Yuan Shikai of China /

The 21 Demands (of Japan). In 1915 Japan came up with the odd idea of trying to make the whole of China a protectorate – a protectorate of Japan of course. The Great War started in 1914 and Japan promptly declared war on Germany, in order to take over that country’s leased territory in China. As a part of the so-called ‘Scramble for Possessions’ Japanese soldiers landed at Quindao Port in Shandung province, and soon controlled the important port, plus German mining and railway concessions. Having completed this with their usual efficiency, the Japanese presented China with its ‘Twenty-One Demands’, threatening total war if they were to be rejected.

The Demands included an extension of Japan’s lease of Port Arthur, and the South Manchurian Railway, and the grant of mining, commercial and residential rights in South Manchuria and parts of Mongolia; China must recognise Japan’s dominant position in Shandung province, and promise that she would not make any territorial concessions on her coasts to any other foreign power. China must also accept a huge infringement of her sovereignty, with Japanese political and military ‘advisers’, and the creation of a combined Sino-Japanese police force. The Chinese played for time, with the expectation of help to come from the United States and Britain. All these two major powers did was to protest feebly at the last demand (the mixed police force) – and Japan accepted postponement – but not for long.

In a disgraceful turn of events, both the US and Great Britain were not prepared to antagonise Japan: China was thus forced to agree to the demands, which the Prime Minister did on May 25, 1915. Chinese university students called this ‘The National Humiliation Day’, unsurprisingly, and youthful demonstrations were followed by more serious ones and a boycott of Japanese imports. The United States now showed an increasing worry about expansionism, and strongly suggested Japan should control this instinct, as America would not tolerate any infringement of China’s political and territorial integrity. Britain and France meanwhile looked through the telescope with their blind eye and approved Japanese claims in Shandong in 1917.

George Washington



George Washington was born in the early part of the eighteenth century (1732), a son of a planter in Virginia, he was a Southerner. At 22 he was fighting for the British in both the French and Indian Wars and was present at the taking of Fort Duquesne (later to become Pittsburgh) in 1758 when he was twenty-six. Having completed his duties as a gentleman he resigned from the army and took to planting tobacco. (more…)

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890, of Dutch-American stock. He became a general and the 34th President of the United States. He saw war in a quite different way than another American officer, George Patton (q.v.): ‘I hate war,’ he often said, ‘as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.’ (more…)

The battle of the Marne (September 1914)

The river Marne is a tributary of the Seine, leaving it at a point east of Paris. It was also famed for being the site of the furthest advance of the imperial German army into France during the Great War. Readers will remember that the Schlieffen Plan (q.v.) was designed to knock France out of the game in six weeks, before the mobilization of the enormous Russian army. Germany would advance in strength through Belgium, bypassing French defences along the German border, and then sweep down to surround Paris before attacking French forces in the rear.

The Schlieffen Plan might have worked had von Moltke (chief of staff) not enfeebled it by transferring forces from the German right-wing to East Prussia, which the Russians had already invaded. Still the Germans made swift progress through Belgium and northern France, leaving the French to make useless and expensive attacks on German forces in Lorraine and the Ardennes. (more…)

Revolutions of 1830

 France, Belgium, Poland & Central Italy: The July Revolution in France expelled Charles X and replaced him as King with Louis-Philippe. The Austrian Netherlands belonging to Belgium were united with Holland at the Congress of Vienna (1815), to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. But Roman Catholic Belgians (mostly French-speaking) resented the dominance of the Protestant Dutch (Flemish-speaking) in this new state.

After the expulsion of Charles in the July Revolution, there were riots in Brussels, exacerbated by the sending in of Dutch troops in an attempt to restore order. By September most of Belgium was in a state of revolt and Dutch King William asked the Great Powers for help. As Prussia, Russia and Austria were by their nature opposed to revolution and also fans of the monarchy, they were cautious to the extent of being un-cooperative, because if they sent soldiers to help the Dutch, French pressures would be inclined to compel Louis-Philippe to send aid to the Belgians. (more…)

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