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Eh! Oh! Hein! Mais euh!

Austerlitz is a bit special and the lack of celebration was quite stunning. I wouldn't care that much to celebrate, say, Bir-Hakeim, and I'm not a fan of the Corsican megalomaniac. But Austerlitz, Holy Crap! Austerlitz is Austerlitz, one of the most brilliant tactical maneuvers in contemporary history!

So, just like the Brits were right to celebrate Trafalgar (and the French Navy had no problem to lend a hand and a couple of ships for the celebrations), celebrating Austerlitz once every 200 years is not indulging in nostalgic, flag waving navel gazing or whitewashing the past. It's merely acknowledging the past, the same way the Rafle du Vel d'hiv is properly commemorated.

It was pretty stunning and shameful to see Chirac and Villepin AWOL on that day.
by Francois in Paris on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 11:38:45 AM EST
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This I don't agree with you on, (from a British point of view).  I am glad the French didn't make a fuss about Austergar. I wish the British hadn't made such a fuss about Traferlitz. Commemorating battles sucks.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 03:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. And I can understand celebrating a victory in a defensive war, but one in an offensive imperialisrt war?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 08:33:33 AM EST
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No, no, no !!! The Third Coalition started it all! Napoleon was just defending himself in a very offensive manner :)

In April 1805, the United Kingdom and Russia signed a treaty to remove the French from Holland and Switzerland. Austria joined the alliance after the annexation of Genoa and the proclamation of Napoleon as King of Italy. The Austrians began the war by invading Bavaria with an army of about 70,000 under Karl Mack von Lieberich, and the French army marched out from Boulogne in late July, 1805 to confront them. At Ulm (September 25 - October 20) Napoleon managed to surround Mack's army by a brilliant envelopment, forcing its surrender without significant losses. With the main Austrian army north of the Alps defeated (another army under Archduke Charles maneuvered inconclusively against André Masséna's French army in Italy), Napoleon occupied Vienna. Far from his supply lines, he was faced with a superior Austro-Russian army under the command of Mikhail Kutuzov, with the Emperor Alexander of Russia personally present. On December 2 Napoleon crushed the joint Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz in Moravia (this is usually considered his greatest victory). He inflicted a total of 25,000 casualties on a numerically superior enemy army while sustaining fewer than 7,000 in his own force. After Austerlitz, Austria signed the Treaty of Pressburg, leaving the coalition. This required the Austrians to give up Venetia to the French dominated Kingdom of Italy and Tyrol to Bavaria.

Now, of course, there is this little detail of France bringing Liberty, Fraternity, Equality and the metric system to the neighbours in the previous years...
by Francois in Paris on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 11:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, no !!! The Third Coalition started it all!

In April 1805, the United Kingdom and Russia signed a treaty to remove the French from Holland and Switzerland. Austria joined the alliance after the annexation of Genoa and the proclamation of Napoleon as King of Italy...

So, who started it? :-)

Now, of course, there is this little detail of France bringing Liberty, Fraternity, Equality and the metric system to the neighbours in the previous years...

...and the French official language and cultural supremacism, setting off the virus of nationalism (in form of the reaction of the subjugated people). Terry Gilliam's recent Grimm had an ironic allusion to this, making use of the very real connection between the Grimm brothers' work and the French expansion under Napoleon.

An interesting what-if scenario would be to imagine if revolutionary France would have refrained from expansion and reverted to supporting foreign revolutionaries instead.

(It is a less-well-known fact that before 1917/8/9 and 1848, there have been two other instances of revolution spreading across Europe - the first in the wake of the French Revolution. If some of you have ever travelled to Budapest by train and arrived at Déli pu. (South Station), the park between it and the walled oldtown is called Vérmező=bloody field, because that's where the Hungarian Jacobins - exposed by the Habsburg secret service - were mass-executed.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:08:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and Russia started to plot first :-)
by Francois in Paris on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:14:11 PM EST
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BTW, who started the Seven Years' War?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a prize question! (No Googling/Wiki!)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, now, you two.

Why did I say commemorating battles sucked?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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