The Young Napoleon Bonaparte
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the young Napoleon Bonaparte from his birth, the French Revolution, his marriage to Josephine, and to his Italian victories in 1797.----more----
Napoleon Bonaparte is born in Corsica to a poor but noble family. His noble blood means that he is sent to a military school. Ellie tells the story of the snowball fight and how it marked him out already as a military strategist. Napoleon is excellent at maths so he joins the artillery where they need mathematicians. However, promotion in the French Royal Army is about nobility not merit. So Napoleon’s progress is slow.
But the French Revolution changes everything. The Bastille is stormed and later the French King is executed. But there is suspicion of Napoleon because of his noble blood. He has the chance to leave France, perhaps to return to Corsica. But he commits to France. Meanwhile the French city of Toulon rebels. People there want the old King’s family back again. British ships sail into the harbour to protect the city. Napoleon is summoned because of his artillery skills. He works to capture hills and then his cannon force the British fleet to withdraw. Toulon is saved.
Later Napoleon finds himself in Paris. While in Paris there is another rebellion by French royalists. The French government are scared and call on Napoleon for help. Napoleon quickly gets cannon into position in the city. As the mob come around the corner Napoleon opens fire. The mob are destroyed. The revolution and the government are saved.
Meanwhile Napoleon starts to make friends in the parties of Paris. He meets a captivating lady called Josephine. She is very funny and has many boyfriends. Napoleon falls in love with her and they are married. But there is not much time for honeymoon. Napoleon is made a General and given a small army and asked to conquer Italy.
Italy is controlled by the powerful Austrians. But their armies are slow and used to fighting a much more sedate type of warfare. Napoleon is fast and aggressive. He throws the Austrians out of Italy. Along the way he peronally storms a bridge and also lays a cannon himself. His army are totally loyal to him. At the end of the episode the French Government look at Napoleon with nervousness. He has won great battles but what will he want to do next?
This is the first in a three part series on Napoleon. Next week we have the zenith of Napoleon’s rule.
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