Why do people compare Napoleon to Hitler?


  • Note: I am aware that this forum is for everthing “non-political”. I’m not sure if this counts as political, since it’s more historical than anything else. If the mods deem this inappropriate and thinks it might turn into a huge flame war (which I will do everything to make sure it won’t), then by all means padlock it.

    This seriously makes my blood boil everytime someone tells me that Napoleon and Hitler were alike in many, many ways. I think this is a steaming load. Let me quote something from an awesome book, The Campaigns of Napoleon, in lieu of my own ranting.

    Since the 1940s it has been fashionable in some quarters to compared Napoleon with Hitler. Nothing could be more degrading to the former and more flattering to the latter. The comparison is odious. On the whole Napoleon was inspired by a noble dream, wholly dissimilar from Hitler’s vaunted but stillborn “New Order”. Napoleon left great and lasting testimonies to his genius–-in codes of law and national identities which survive to the present day. Adolf Hitler left nothing but destruction. In certain aspects, the two do bear some resemblances. Both climbed to power through the use of opportunity in an unsettled period…both overthrew an older society…but there the resemblance ends. Even though it is difficult to form an objective view of Hitler in our own time, there can be no doubt that he was not case in the same mold as Napoleon.

    Despite flashes of lucky intuition, Hitler was no soldier. Hitler’s most lasting perverted achievement for which he will always be remembered to the end of history was genocide; Napoleon will always be regarded as a commander of genius and the creator of modern Europe…

    Now, I’m a convinced admierer of Napoleon: I believe he never started any of the wars that bear his name (wargamers and a good chunk of historians would drop their monocle at this atrocious statement; Napoleon SURELY was responsible for the Napoleonic Wars! After all, it has his name in it!..), and that he was a positive force in history. The author is right: Napoleon never tried to exterminate people based on their religion or creed (actually, at a time when Jews were prosecuted and forced to live in ghettos in Europe, Napoleon gave them freedom of religion and the freedom to get real jobs), and his dream was to create, in essence, an early European Union. Hitler’s plans were…well, I don’t need to go further.

    So I ask: why do people make these ludicrous comparisons between Napoleon and Hitler, who were two completely different people? One was good (although many might disagree and say that he was at least a “good bad man”, one was evil: one is considered the father of modern Europe, one is considered as the scourge of modern Europe. One gave people a unified legal code and basic human rights, the other almost wiped an entire nationality off the map (Poland). These might seem like broad statements; the author did make some convincing resemblances. Regardless, they are small and irrelevant.


  • I think he gave equal right to only men, but that’s hard to critisize since every other country did the same.

    What exactly do you mean by “Napoleonic Wars,” i.e. when did they start? 1792? 1805?

    If you separate them, I think he started the war of the nth coalition by invading Russia


  • Napoleon and Hitler both suffered because of the Russian winter
    Napoleon and Hitler both wanted to take over Europe
    Both failed to take Britain

    there’s a few more.


  • It was a noble dream to Hitler.

    But yah i get what your saying, I mean he was a product of the enlightenment. If napoleon was the bad guy who were the good guys? The Hapsburg royal family? :lol: doubtful.

    To the point about Napoleon not starting the  wars that bear his name, thats a little hard to defend, after all no one “starts” a war its just that nations have greivences against each other that go back forever.

    From what I have heard and read Napoleon loved battle and was a warmongerer, but i dont think thats nessisarily a mark against him.

    I think Dylan hit it right on the money why people compare the two. Also some would say there both revisionist forces fighting the status quo, although Napoleon has the more lasting, meaningful and positive legacy.


  • Of course this brings the question of is it okay to pre-emptively invade a country to give it a good government system(I’m being nice and saying that’s what Napoleon wanted).

    And yes, invading a country for refusing to ban trade with an enemy is pre-emptive. If not, the US would be justified in invading Every country in the world except Israel and Palau since all disapprove of the US’s blockade of Cuba


  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    Of course this brings the question of is it okay to pre-emptively invade a country to give it a good government system(I’m being nice and saying that’s what Napoleon wanted).

    And yes, invading a country for refusing to ban trade with an enemy is pre-emptive. If not, the US would be justified in invading Every country in the world except Israel and Palau since all disapprove of the US’s blockade of Cuba

    US doing that? Ever heard of NATO


  • Yes, but Napoleon had an alliance with Russia


  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    Yes, but Napoleon had an alliance with Russia

    Hitler did too.


  • @Dylan:

    Napoleon and Hitler both suffered because of the Russian winter
    Napoleon and Hitler both wanted to take over Europe
    Both failed to take Britain

    there’s a few more.

    Napoleon helped created modern Europe. His conquest spread the ideas of the French Revolution. His occupation of Europe caused the spread of nationalism.


  • @ABWorsham:

    @Dylan:

    Napoleon and Hitler both suffered because of the Russian winter
    Napoleon and Hitler both wanted to take over Europe
    Both failed to take Britain

    there’s a few more.

    Napoleon helped created modern Europe. His conquest spread the ideas of the French Revolution. His occupation of Europe caused the spread of nationalism.

    Which ironically led to his downfall as the German states turned against him

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Because the civilized world hated both of these fellows. All of Europe in fact declared war on “napoleon” before the 100 days campaign.

    They both tried to make a continental europe and replace the plutocratic clique with a new order dominated by their own country.

    And most of the same nations were involved. Historians also point out this connection and some make the claim that all the wars from 1798-1945 are really one larger war with periods of rest ( actually a new build up) in-between.


  • @Imperious:

    Because the civilized world hated both of these fellows. All of Europe in fact declared war on “napoleon” before the 100 days campaign.

    They both tried to make a continental europe and replace the plutocratic clique with a new order dominated by their own country.

    And most of the same nations were involved. Historians also point out this connection and some make the claim that all the wars from 1798-1945 are really one larger war with periods of rest ( actually a new build up) in-between.

    What about the ‘war’ from 1945 to 1991?


  • Both of these fellows rose to power to become sole rulers.  Both led their nations in multi-national military conquest campaigns.  And the several other reasons given above.  For my part, it is actually more dificult to define where they were different without getting silly about their accents or the colors of their uniforms.

    Regarding the war from 1945 to 1991, thank goodness the West won that war.


  • @Imperious:

    Because the civilized world hated both of these fellows. All of Europe in fact declared war on “napoleon” before the 100 days campaign.

    They both tried to make a continental europe and replace the plutocratic clique with a new order dominated by their own country.

    And most of the same nations were involved. Historians also point out this connection and some make the claim that all the wars from 1798-1945 are really one larger war with periods of rest ( actually a new build up) in-between.

    Well there were name changes and political issues.

    Prussia became Germany
    Russia became the Soviet Union
    Denmark-Norway split up
    Austria became Austria Hungary, then Serbia pushed in and became Yugoslavia, and Austria and Hungary were two smaller countries
    Italy expanded and got rid of countries like the Naples

    There might be a few more.


  • I read something from phrophet Nostradamus, that there should be 3 anti-Christ’s coming to earth.

    Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin all have one thing common, they were all born in another country.
    Napoleon was born in Corsica, south of France.
    Hitler was born in Austria, south of Germany.
    Stalin was born in Georgia, south of Russia.
    All of them survived plenty of battles and assasination-attempts, and died in mysterious ways, propably by poison.
    They were not humans.


  • They have nothing in common other than they were both stupid to attack Russia

  • '16 '15 '10

    Hitler probably enjoyed being compared to Napoleon….no reason to hold that against Napoleon…

    Both men were short, both men conquered Europe, both men engaged in prolonged war with United Kingdom, and for both men, their greatest error was trying to conquer Russia.


  • @Razor:

    I read something from phrophet Nostradamus, that there should be 3 anti-Christ’s coming to earth.

    Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin all have one thing common, they were all born in another country.
    Napoleon was born in Corsica, south of France.
    Hitler was born in Austria, south of Germany.
    Stalin was born in Georgia, south of Russia.
    All of them survived plenty of battles and assasination-attempts, and died in mysterious ways, propably by poison.
    They were not humans.

    Wasn’t Georgia part of the Soviet Union?


  • Yes, Georgia was part of Sovjet Union, like Corsica was part of the Franch empire and Austria was part of Greater Germany’s the Third Reich.

    Also Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin was basically atheists, but created their own religions in order to gain better control of their populations.

    All three was great conquerers, and also great architects, and they


  • @Zhukov44:

    Hitler probably enjoyed being compared to Napoleon….no reason to hold that against Napoleon…

    Both men were short, both men conquered Europe, both men engaged in prolonged war with United Kingdom, and for both men, their greatest error was trying to conquer Russia.

    Hitler was 5’9. Napoleon was 5’6. =|

    Also, it is very hard to provide any evidence that Hitler was not responsible for WWII, but it can be debated that Napoleon never started any war, even the invasion of Russia. I could debate it here, but that’s not the point; the point is people can argue that Britain started the Napoleonic Wars just as easily as saying Napoleon did (and, to be honest, the evidence is against Britain).


  • To those who might want to see the other side of the coin of Napoleon, instead of being spoonfed that he “loved war” and was a bloodthirsty tyrant, I invite you to read several books, both by a man named Ben Weider who was legendary in his knowledge of Napoleon. He was also one of the strong advocates that Napoleon died of arsenic poisoning (which is true).

    -Napoleon: the Man Who Shaped Europe
    -Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars

    And also this: CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

    All of that was written by Ben Weider (or at least most of it) and you’ll find that yes, he is blatantly positively biased of Napoleon. But that’s only because he’s trying to counter the equally blatant negative bias that Napoleon’s name has constantly been getting even while he was alive, to provide a balance and let people see the other side of the story.


  • @UN:

    @Zhukov44:

    Hitler probably enjoyed being compared to Napoleon….no reason to hold that against Napoleon…

    Both men were short, both men conquered Europe, both men engaged in prolonged war with United Kingdom, and for both men, their greatest error was trying to conquer Russia.

    Hitler was 5’9. Napoleon was 5’6. =|

    Also, it is very hard to provide any evidence that Hitler was not responsible for WWII, but it can be debated that Napoleon never started any war, even the invasion of Russia. I could debate it here, but that’s not the point; the point is people can argue that Britain started the Napoleonic Wars just as easily as saying Napoleon did (and, to be honest, the evidence is against Britain).

    Well, I guess you can argue that Russia started that war since they pulled out from the continental system.

    And you can argue that Hitler wasn’t responsible for WW2: someone on here said that Hitler only invaded Poland; the Brits and French made it a world war by declaring war


  • @UN:

    All of that was written by Ben Weider (or at least most of it) and you’ll find that yes, he is blatantly positively biased of Napoleon. But that’s only because he’s trying to counter the equally blatant negative bias that Napoleon’s name has constantly been getting even while he was alive, to provide a balance and let people see the other side of the story.

    i dont think biased info+biased info = actual info.

    Alot of people say the allies in the first world war planted the seeds for world war 2 with abusive peace treaties. I am not saying I agree with that, but it counters your point that Hitler was the sole cause of WW2.

    I mean I think we can leave it at: 1.Napoleon didnt murder millions of people 2. Napoleon’s ideals were at the very least no more absurd than those of his enemies.

    Otherwise, like Julius Ceaser and many more before them they were both great conquerors though their ambition and confidence got the better of them.


  • @Emperor_Taiki:

    @UN:

    All of that was written by Ben Weider (or at least most of it) and you’ll find that yes, he is blatantly positively biased of Napoleon. But that’s only because he’s trying to counter the equally blatant negative bias that Napoleon’s name has constantly been getting even while he was alive, to provide a balance and let people see the other side of the story.

    i dont think biased info+biased info = actual info.

    Alot of people say the allies in the first world war planted the seeds for world war 2 with abusive peace treaties. I am not saying I agree with that, but it counters your point that Hitler was the sole cause of WW2.

    I mean I think we can leave it at: 1.Napoleon didnt murder millions of people 2. Napoleon’s ideals were at the very least no more absurd than those of his enemies.

    Otherwise, like Julius Ceaser and many more before them they were both great conquerors though their ambition and confidence got the better of them.

    How is the Napoleonic Code (which had equality of all in the eyes of the law, no recognition of privileges of birth [i.e. noble rights inherited from ancestors], freedom of religion, separation of the church and the state, the freedom to work in an occupation of one’s choice, and other basic legal rights) as absurd as the traditionalist, absolute monarchy ideals that most of Europe still went by at that time?

    Well, I guess you can argue that Russia started that war since they pulled out from the continental system.

    It’s a little more complicated than Russia simply pulling from the continental system. I could PM you a little more detailed reason if you’d like.

    Alot of people say the allies in the first world war planted the seeds for world war 2 with abusive peace treaties. I am not saying I agree with that, but it counters your point that Hitler was the sole cause of WW2.

    He was a major reason why it began however. Nazi aggression into Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland might have been influenced from the harsh Treaty of Versailles, but it is not the same as Napoleon fighting a series of defensive coalitions instigated by Britain.


  • Umm, the Napoleonic Code didn’t have equality for women. Yes, it was better that other European countries’ though.

    Yes, I’d like the PM.

    So you agree that the coalitions were DEFENSIVE. What’s wrong with that? Do you prefer them to let their countries get invaded.

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