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"Do the British 'Hate and Fear' Napoleon?" Topic

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Whirlwind03 Jan 2012 7:58 p.m. PST

In this thread TMP link the (American) author of a popular set of wargames rules maintains that the 'British still Hate and Fear Napoleon'. My initial reaction is to find this almost hysterically untrue and to show more about the prejudices of the writer than anything else. I just can't find a speck of truth in this, either personally (I quite admire Napoleon, there seem to be plenty of other British people who have done or do) or culturally (I don't think Britain has ever 'feared' Napoleon since being part of his decisive double defeats). However, I may just not be seeing the right things – does this general British hatred and fear of Napoleon exist?


Toaster03 Jan 2012 8:27 p.m. PST

Only among those who believe in the undead perhaps?


M C MonkeyDew03 Jan 2012 8:28 p.m. PST

What? Mothers no longer warn their children not to stray lest Boney get them? :)

Glengarry 203 Jan 2012 8:37 p.m. PST

Why, is he coming back?

Glengarry 203 Jan 2012 8:40 p.m. PST

I don't know if I "hate & fear Napoleon", I just don't understand why so many people worship him as a demi-god.
(In truth I'm not British, I'm Canadain).

M C MonkeyDew03 Jan 2012 8:46 p.m. PST

Glengary 2 asked the key question;

"Why, is he coming back"

Indeed, not only "why" but perhaps more importantly "how,"?

The aforementioned British mothers must have sensed something about him. Boney that is, not Glengarry 2

Chortle Fezian03 Jan 2012 8:47 p.m. PST

Ditto toaster. I nearly dumped my fudge when I read the post title, and thought boney was back for revenge..

>(In truth I'm not British, I'm Canadain)
Canadain, or even Canadian, is close enough.

KTravlos03 Jan 2012 9:04 p.m. PST

Hate and Fear? They were willing to let him rule over half of Europe in 1802. If the Brits fighting him were willing to let him lord over half of Europe I wonder why the moderns would even care a bit.

Whatisitgood4atwork03 Jan 2012 9:12 p.m. PST

I'm terrified and check under my bed for Napoleons every night. And my hatred knows no bounds. I removed the whole 'N' section of my phonebook in a fit of rage. Though I am not British and hate and fear them even more.

Sergeant Paper03 Jan 2012 9:47 p.m. PST

I can't even ENTER a bakery anymore, I'm afraid of the Napoleons…

Lee Brilleaux Fezian03 Jan 2012 10:14 p.m. PST

I do not hate and fear Napoleon, but I would very much prefer to avoid playing 'Napoleon's Battles' ever again.

KTravlos03 Jan 2012 10:15 p.m. PST

Save your selves!



I don't fear him so much as keep a watchful eye in his direction.


I'm not British either, though I have played several on stage.

Jovian103 Jan 2012 11:06 p.m. PST

Of course they do, I'm sure you can find at least a half dozen articles on line which say they do. I'm not British.

Jemima Fawr03 Jan 2012 11:31 p.m. PST

I'm terrified of Napoleon brandy after a particularly bad round of after-dinner drinky-poos…

Sparker04 Jan 2012 12:05 a.m. PST

I think the British do get a little exercised if there is a militarily powerful dictatorial regime with its troops sitting in the Channel ports and Flanders…

Doesn't really matter if they're Northmen, Spaniards, French, German or Soviets….

As far as military Dictators go, I think Napoleon gets quite a good rap in the UK….certainly more likely to have been invited around for tea and cucumber sandwiches than, say, Hitler…..

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 12:13 a.m. PST

I can't even ENTER a bakery anymore, I'm afraid of the Napoleons…

Peter Hofschr÷er will tell you that a Berliner will be able to save you.

Cerdic04 Jan 2012 12:21 a.m. PST

Sparker has it about right.

von Winterfeldt04 Jan 2012 12:26 a.m. PST

why should any?

Niccolo Machiavelli04 Jan 2012 12:32 a.m. PST

Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Want to call that raggedy-ass Napoleon your king?
Crew: No!
Capt. Jack Aubrey: You want your children to sing the "La Marseillaise?"
Crew: NO!

1234567804 Jan 2012 2:57 a.m. PST

As for Hitler coming for tea:
YouTube link

I suspect that a large minority (at the very least) of British people nowadays would struggle to say who Napoleon was, let alone hate and fear him:(.

1234567804 Jan 2012 3:01 a.m. PST

The rules author in question did also state that Wellington only fought one real battle, so I think that we have to distrust both his historical knowledge and his judgement somewhat.

trailape04 Jan 2012 3:47 a.m. PST

What rules are we talking about? (So I know to avoid them unless I wish to game Zombie short French meglomaniacs).
I'm not British BTW,…

1234567804 Jan 2012 4:03 a.m. PST

Napoleons Battles

GarrisonMiniatures04 Jan 2012 4:33 a.m. PST

Of course we hate and fear Napoleon. I mean, the French aren't human. Ask anybody in Hartlepool.

1234567804 Jan 2012 4:48 a.m. PST

lol @ Hartlepool!

Martin Rapier04 Jan 2012 5:28 a.m. PST

It is probably true to say that the British establishment in the late 1700s and early 1800s hated and feared Revolutionary France, and the Corsican Ogre as well.

Whether this is still true in the 21st Century United Kingdom is rather unlikely as Napoleon is long dead, although there is a certain jovial rivalry with our French neighbours.

I went to see Napleons tomb in Paris, what a gloriously over the top monument.

adster04 Jan 2012 5:50 a.m. PST

I can't even ENTER a bakery anymore, I'm afraid of the Napoleons…

Peter Hofschr÷er will tell you that a Berliner will be able to save you.

"Doughnut" is the word that springs to mind when I think of Peter Hofschr÷er…

Enry MItchell04 Jan 2012 6:49 a.m. PST

I Hate and Fear the spreading misuse of capital letters.

arthur181504 Jan 2012 7:17 a.m. PST

No, nowadays we just LOVE Boney! Without him, we would not have so many victories to remember: Trafalgar, Rolica, Vimeiro…Waterloo! Or wargames to play…

Dave Crowell04 Jan 2012 7:21 a.m. PST

Napoleon is coming back? I thought that was Arthur.

M C MonkeyDew04 Jan 2012 7:26 a.m. PST

Boney IS Arthur. Ever see them in the same room? I thought not.

Enry, I see it as a Return of Misuse rather than a "Spreading".

English was more fun before this whole Standardyzed Thinge came into Effect!

No I am not British, neither am I Spartacus.

XV Brigada04 Jan 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

Why bother to raise a thread in reply to one badly informed, xenophobic American?

R Lee S04 Jan 2012 7:31 a.m. PST

just so we are all on the same page are we talking about Napoleon Dynamite or is there another Napoleon out there?

and No, I don't hate Napoleon but I will not vote for Predo

Terrement04 Jan 2012 7:40 a.m. PST


Who asked this joker04 Jan 2012 7:47 a.m. PST

Not sure why he is so scary…


M C MonkeyDew04 Jan 2012 7:55 a.m. PST

Demmed fellah looks like a Carrot Top for the new generation.

Rapscallions always getting up to something. Hurrumph.

ethasgonehome04 Jan 2012 8:36 a.m. PST

I wish to game Zombie short French meglomaniacs

It's a myth that Napoleon was short. He was about average height for the period.

Reasons why you should still fear him: Eureka's forthcoming Napoleon Blownaparte… handy indeed if you wish to game Zombie French megalomanics :-)

TMP link


Edwulf04 Jan 2012 9:36 a.m. PST

How can anyone hate/fear a dead guy. What he wants to some Britons ( and I suspect he really means English) perhaps don't hero worship him. But why would we when he had an army parked over the channel itching to "do a Spain" on us..

Besides hate is usually the losers dish, arrogance and swollen pride are the winners fare.

Edwulf04 Jan 2012 9:56 a.m. PST

Besides, wasnt there a popular movement that almost led to him being pensioned off to a cottage in Herefordshire. Suffice to say, wiser heads prevailed there.

Yes. Interesting reading on that link wasnt aware I hated the French. I mean, I do briefly whenever they beat us ( eliminate us) from a major sport tournament. But then I can say the same for Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Italy, South Africa and god alone knows who else. And really I say "them" but really it's just their sportsmen.

le Grande Quartier General04 Jan 2012 10:29 a.m. PST

In the beginning of David Howarth's book on Waterloo, I recall a description of what a 'gentleman' was, and was not. Wellington 'was' and Napoleon assuredly 'was not'. (I don't have the book at hand, I think that's close).
Something I've never been clear on was if being a 'Gentleman' required behaving as one towards one who was not. It has alwas seemed to me that exile in rural Britian would have been the "gentlemanly" behavior by it's rulers, and that exile in St. Helena was somewhat perfidious in execution upon examination, and not so necessary as it may have seemed at the time. Was this a result of some 'fear'? Certainly now it must deserve some re-examination as the (fear?) is long passed, and we can be less emotional and more intelectually retrospective about the French Emperor and his circumstances. Opinions?

Ligniere Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2012 11:17 a.m. PST

Do the British hate and fear Napoleon – of course not.
DID the British hate and fear Napoleon – as in the days before Trafalgar, when there was a threat of invasion, then: hate, doubtful, unless you'd lost a son or husband in the army or navy, fear, possibly.
As pointed out above, Boney was the bogey man of the day, so many British kids were certainly fearful. But with the imminent threat of invasion lifted, I doubt there was any fear, but possibly more hatred, as the death of soldiers and sailors mounted, in Walcheren, Portugal and Spain.


1234567804 Jan 2012 12:13 p.m. PST

There appears to have been very little, if any, hatred of Napoleon in Britain, even during the wars against him. People were rather more phlegmatic about death in those days and tended to accept it as a fact of life. Battlefield deaths did not generally create hatred of the enemy.

I am currently working on a paper examining the attitudes of different sections of British society towards Napoleon during the period 1802-1815 and the views, as expressed in journals, diaries, newspapers, parliamentary debates, etc are quite revealing.

toofatlardies04 Jan 2012 12:30 p.m. PST

Grand Quartier General – Could it just have been that having given Napoleon his own little island to run in the Med for his first exile they wanted to put him a bit further away the second time? He did have some form as a gaol-breaker by then!

I can assure you that, outside the tiny minority of people with an interest in military history, nobody in Britain gives Napoleon a second thought. Our kids aren't even taught about him at school.

KTravlos04 Jan 2012 12:47 p.m. PST

colinjallen I would like to read that paper

1234567804 Jan 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

toofat, there was also a fear among many in the government and the landed classes that Napoleon was too popular with the general population and having him in Britain might result in a little bit of social unrest that would end with them losing their heads.

Your comment about the lack of knowledge of Napoleon in Britain today is sadly true.

1234567804 Jan 2012 12:50 p.m. PST

KTravlos, I will let you know when it is finished.

le Grande Quartier General04 Jan 2012 12:56 p.m. PST

Could be, TFL!

Mike the Analyst04 Jan 2012 1:26 p.m. PST

Well he certainly drew the crowds at Torbay when held offshore. Curiosity rather than admiration I suspect.

I suspect there was more hate and fear of the Highlanders in the 1745.

Remember Britain has faced many foes over the centuries, fortunately the were all madmen(in the portrayal by the Britsh media and perhaps generally in the minds of the public). A good job none were sane otherwise what might have happened. (please note this last paragraph is intended to be ironic).

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