Compare And Contrast The Two Main Figures Of The European History Of The 19th Century: Napoleon Iii And Bismarck

2294 words - 10 pages

"Napoleon's tragedy was that his ambitions surpassed his capacities; Bismarck's tragedy was that his capacities exceeded his society's ability to absorb them. The legacy Napoleon left for France was strategic paralysis; the legacy the Bismarck left for Germany was unassimilable greatness"(statement made by Henry Kissinger) is in my opinion a correct statement. This statement can actually be separated into two parts. The first parts relates with the capacities, ambitions and successes of Bismarck and Napoleon. The second part is about the final result of their reign and how their reigns could be taken over after such changing of Europe.Bismarck main objective was to bring together the Ger ...view middle of the document...

He developed the efficiency and income of France's economy by encouraging new investment banks and focusing on the expansion of the railroad. He rebuilds the old Paris by replacing little narrow streets with large avenues and building parks and public and social buildings. This had two main purposes, first to make Paris a more modern city that could satisfy his people to life and to get social cares. These replacements of the old little narrow streets by large avenues made revolts and rebellions more difficult. Before that blocking a street or a block of houses was very easy, large avenues are more difficult to block and easier to clear. Napoleon restored universal male suffrage, and illegally dismissed the National Assembly. With all those positive changes Napoleon gained astonishing support from the French population that were expressed on several occasions: "92 percent voted for to make him president for ten years. A year later, 97 percent in a plebiscite made him hereditary emperor; for the third time and by the greatest margin yet, authoritarian Louis Napoleon was overwhelmingly elected to lead the French nation."(P.824 McKay).Napoleon preferred to deal with foreign affaires than with domestic affaires. Foreign affaires weren't his cup of tea. He was obsessed by details, for example "Napoleon's next big worry [after being recognized Emperor] was whether the other monarchs would address him the appellation 'brother'" (P106 Kissinger). This really shows the level of worries Napoleon had. Napoleon had a very mercurial nature and didn't know or prepare concretely what he wanted: "What most suited Napoleon's style was a European Congress to redraw the map of Europe, for there he might shine at minimum risk. Nor did Napoleon have any clear idea of just how he wanted the borders altered."(P.108 Kissinger). "He possessed his uncle ambition but not his nerve, genius..., raw power."(P107 Kissinger). This really express the position in which Napoleon had settled himself, he wanted to do too much things at the same time and wasn't capable of doing it. Napoleon couldn't foresee events correctly. He wanted to create division in Europe, therefore he created crisis here and there, but couldn't control the outcomes afterwards! "Time and again, he would encourage a crisis - now in Italy, now in Poland, later in Germany - only to recoil before its ultimate consequence" (P.107 Kissinger) or "Napoleon made himself the prisoner of crisis he had himself engineered" (P.107 Kissinger). Those crises would finally result in Italy and Germany as Unification and new difficulties for Napoleon to cope with. His foreign affaires always came out to be failures and to finally work against him.Napoleon destroyed by many ways all the other alliances that were made between France and other great powers, by supporting conflicts that wouldn't even benefit France. He supported the Italians in the war against Austria, this laid to Italian Unification which made one more power...


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