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“I wanted to design a character of maximum expression with the minimum of lines,” says Yacine Ait Kaci (@elyxyak), a Paris-based director and media artist, describing how he came to create his stick figure Elyx. “He mainly lives in a little notebook, but he totally shares our reality.” Elyx is featured daily — sometimes several times a day — in Yacine’s Instagram posts. “He has the vision of a child, discovering everything as if it was the first time,” says Yacine. “And he is amazed by very simple daily things that we don’t see anymore.” Last year, Elyx truly went global: he became a virtual ambassador for the United Nations to help highlight international observances. “The United Nations just published the new edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Elyx,” says Yacine. “I am very proud of it.”


Color photos of the 12. SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend during its service in Normandy in the summer of 1944.

February 26th, 1815 | Napoléon Bonaparte Escapes from Elba (Part II)

“The goal of the constitutional government is to conserve the republic; the aim of the revolutionary government is to found it… The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the enemies of the people but death… These notions would be enough to explain the origin and the nature of laws that we call revolutionary … If the revolutionary government must be more active in its march and more free in his movements than an ordinary government, is it for that less fair and legitimate? No; it is supported by the most holy of all laws: the salvation of the people.”

It is the end of the 18th Century, and France is making the rest of Europe particularly uncomfortable by deciding that the rich toffs had is far too cushy by half and that they needed to go: the common man deserved and needed way more representation. Of course, in an era of Kings, Queens and Emperors, when family lineages decided the fate of nations over a friendly game of croquet and cucumber sandwiches, the idea of the peasantry deciding anything was not a popular one.

But, peasants or not, revolution or no, at the end of the day humans will be humans, and when you throw off the yolk of tyranny and elect a directory of leaders to “get shit in order,” well it’s only going to be a matter of time before this very same group of guys starts to push and shove against each other.

By 1793, France had managed to whip itself up into a little fervor of revolutionary zeal: attacks and hostility from surrounding countries hell-bent on putting an end to “this revolutionary nonsense” stirred internal pro-France, pro-war sentimentality, which resulted in extraordinary powers being handed to the Directory. Likewise, any level of “um, maybe we shouldn’t go to war,” was met with a resounding “ YOU PACIFIST, ANTI-FRENCH BASTARD!” and – typically – an introduction to the wrong end of a sharp blade.

This entire cooking pot boiled over – and I mean magnificently so – as Frenchmen wanting to distance themselves from looking traitorous, found themselves standing behind – and encouraging – bloodthirsty, warlike individuals, the result of which was The Reign of Terror.

And if you have a period in your history that has the words “Reign of Terror” in it, then you’re probably going to have a bad time.

What did you do during the Terror?
“J'ai vécu” (“I lived”).
~ Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès

The Terror lasted less than a year, but during this time there was violence in France unlike any other period of the revolution. Mass executions of “the enemies of the revolution” saw the end of 16,594 people under the blade of the guillotine alone, and outside of the “National Razor” another 25,000 were butchered across France. And this is just a couple of hundred years ago folks: over 40,000 French men and women, summarily executed the fuck out of under the guise of national safety.

And in amongst all of this upheaval there was a certain Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, a clergyman born from a peasant family; disillusioned by the meteorite rise of nobility within the church – compared to his own, molasses-like rise – he was moved to write a pamphlet with content that inspired, and incited, the common man.

“What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been hitherto in the political order? Nothing. What does it desire to be? Something.”

Sieyès’s pamphlet played a key role in shaping the currents of revolutionary thought that propelled France towards the French Revolution. In his pamphlet, he outlined the desires and frustrations of the alienated class of people that made up the third estate. He attacked the foundations of the French Ancien Régime by arguing the nobility to be a fraudulent institution, preying on an overburdened and despondent bourgeoisie. In other words, he was a Bernie Sanders of his time.

This pamphlet catapulted Sieyès into the political arena, but while he contributed to the bonfire of the revolution, he couldn’t control the flames once it was burning. Sieyès wanted representation for the common man, but he never intended to overthrow the monarchy. So when Frenchmen started having bets on how many heads they could shove onto a pike in a single afternoon, Sieyès found himself somewhat estranged from the Directory, so much so, that he spent some years attempting to garner foreign support and allies, and undermined the authority of the Directory as much as he could.

But the years dragged on, the end of the 18th Century loomed, and Sieyès was no closer to building the France that he dreamed of. And that’s when this guy returned from Egypt to a hero’s welcome:

Napoléon Bonaparte: wooer of women, leader of men, cannon ball juggler, face puncher, and soon-to-be dictator.

Napoléon hadn’t had a hugely successful time in Egypt, but – my god – when he returned to France, the people revered him like he’d taken the entire Med., bent it over roughly, and had given it a jolly good seeing to. And with a man like this on your wide, anything could be accomplished.

Sieyès rubbed his chin thoughtfully, decided that a coup would be entirely possible with a man like Napoléon, and promptly set about gathering allies for coup d'état of the unpopular Directory. What Sieyès did not know, was that Napoléon was likewise rubbing his own chin, and was planning a coup within a coup.

Under the false pretense that the Jacobite faction was planning an uprising in Paris, Napoléon was given control of the local forces and the Directory was convinced – as part of their protection – to resign or flee the city. Within a day – unable to hold a quorum – the Directory was effectively dissolved, and this just left a small matter of getting the two councils of the Ancients and the Five Hundred to acquiesce to a new regime.

They didn’t, of course; in fact they were bloody well upset that a small cadre of political types had wooed over Napoléon and were – clearly – enacting a coup. Napoléon responded in a calm, thoughtful, and collaborative manner: he gathered up his guards and stormed the council halls, and – with his brother waving a sword around and shouting out all sorts of Fox News like bullshit about “they have daggers! Protect Napoléon!” the councils were rousted from their seats, and within 2 short days the entire legislature had effectively been dismantled and the commissions were intimidated into declaring a provisional government; a Consulate of Napoléon, Sieyès, and Ducos.

“The Constitution! You yourselves have destroyed it. You violated it on 18 Fructidor; you violated it on 22 Floreal; you violated it on 30 Prairial. It no longer has the respect of anyone.” ~ Napoléon, addressing the Ancients.

The reaction from the common man on the streets was extremely quiet and muted; if anything, they were kinda chuffed that new blood was in charge. France had gone through many years of upheaval, civil wars, and foreign aggression, and the former ruling body had largely driven the country into debt. Having some new toffs – particularly Sieyès and Napoléon – in charge, could only be a good thing. The French Revolution was over.

The commission drew up the “Constitution of the Year VIII”, the first of the constitutions since the Revolution without a Declaration of Rights, and Sieyès was a happy camper; he had finally shaped the country he had been striving for.

Unfortunately for him, Napoléon re-wrote the new Constitution: his formerly minor role in the three consuls was radically changed; he put himself in as first Consul, relegated the role of the other two Consuls to consultation only, and then appointed a Senate to interpret the constitution. This effectively allowed him – as the First Consul for ten years – to rule by decree, also sidelining the State Council and Tribunat.

And – to ensure that everything was legitimate and upheld by law – the Napoléon version of the Constitution was thus voted upon and accepted with 3,000,000 votes in favor. And … um … 1,567 against.

*breaks out calculator*

That’s … uh … 0.00052% against.

So, he was popular. I guess.

Or the whole thing was rigged to shit.

The coup within a coup was complete: Napoleon was now – effectively – a dictator.

And now we take a breath: the young artillery commander had experienced a whirlwind ride up the ranks, into a commanding position, and now ruled supreme over the country he loved so dearly. So, what do you do next?

War. War is always a good idea.

Looking outward towards the Brits and Austrians, Napoléon decided that it was time to start punching back and to make up for former losses; rich lands could be acquired, and former territories pulled back into the fold. So Napoléon did what any dictator would do: he formed up his armies and start stonking across Europe.

From 1800 to 1802, France threw haymakers at Austria and Britain, eventually beating Austria into submission and securing peace with the British in 1803. Bolstered by how big his balls were growing, he decided that “First Consul” was cool and everything, but “First Consul for Life, yo” was even better.

He drafted up a bill that basically said “Napoléon can do what the fuck he wants, for as long as he wants” and he asked the country to vote on it.

99.8% voted in favor.

So, not rigged at all.

In 1804, with war back on with the Brits after just 1 year of peace, Napoléon learned of a plot against him (because, apparently, not everyone was struck by the dictator-for-life, thing). He crushed this and managed to off one or two people not involved with it at the same time, but one thing it underscored was that doing away with him was something that would undermine everything he had built up. Now, if he had an heir, and if he ruled in such a position that allowed heirs to inherit, then not only would his lineage would be preserved, but also would-be assassins would have little to gain in offing him.

Congratulating himself on a plan well formed, he thusly re-instated the French Monarchy and made himself emperor. But, but you have to be legit on this type of thing, so he again asked the country to vote on this.

99.3% of the country said “yes, buddy, of course you can be Emperor and ensure that your family rules over us, after we just got done FUCKING HAVING A REVOLUTION OVER THIS SHIT.”

On December 2nd, 1804, he was crowned by Pope Pius VII as Napoléon I, and at Milan in May 1805, he was crowned King of Italy. And – to ensure the allegiance of the army – he created eighteen Marshals of the Empire from amongst his top generals.

Everything was now buttoned down nicely: it was time to go and kick every other European leader square in the wedding-tackle.

He had at his disposal 350,000 well-trained, well organized, and well led men. He faced a coalition of British, Austrian, and Russian forces; the Brits having never really abided by the terms of the 1803 peace treaty, and the Austrians and Russians wanting to get revenge for earlier defeats.

In September, 1805, Napoléon started to demonstrate just how bad assed his army was: while all the other nations were plodding around at tortoise-like speeds and with the maneuverability of a World War I pillbox,  the Grande Armée could wheel, maneuver, flank, duck and weave, as a series of smaller units, all capable of supporting each other as needed.

As the Austrians plopped their fat arses in the fortress of Ulm in Swabia, 200,000 French men pretty much just ran around them and cut them off from the rest of Austria. The Ulm Maneuver caught the Austrian General – Mack – with his pants down, and he suddenly realized that he was in a bit of a pickle. After a few skirmish engagements, the Battle of Ulm had the Austrians completely beat and 60,000 of them were captured in exchange for just 2,000 Frenchmen.

Not everything went Napoléon’s way, because around this time, the Duke of Wellington was ass-raping the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, but on land … on land he was proving to have no match.

“You cannot stop me, I spend 30,000 men a month.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Vienna fell in November, and with this a huge bounty of 100,000 captured muskets, 500 cannon, and some handy-dandy bridges across the Danube.

Now it was Tsar Alexander I’s and the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II’s turn. The French were withdrawing and seemed to be weak and perfect for a counter-attack, but what Alexander and Francis did not realize was that Napoléon was completely faking it; he was looking to lure them into a scrap.

And here we have the Battle of Austerlitz. I write up about this one here, but the tl/dr version is simple: Napoléon engaged in a series of bluffs, made his position and zeal for a fight to appear to be a weak one, and completely played his Austrian/Russian opponents, forcing them to do what he wanted, when he wanted. He gambled an entire flank to lure the opposition into weakening their center, and when they did, he utterly crushed them.

Because of the near-perfect execution of a calibrated but dangerous plan, the battle is often seen as a tactical masterpiece of the same stature as Cannae, the celebrated triumph by Hannibal some 2,000 years before.

Austria immediately agreed to an armistice and Russia retreated for the cold embrace of their homeland as quick as their little feet could carry them.

Napoléon now started to arrange Europe as he saw fit, establishing the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806; a collection of German states intended to act as a buffer between France and Eastern Europe. This spelled the end of the Holy Roman Empire and – unsurprisingly – alarmed the shit out of the Prussians, who were immediately “whoah, dude, wtf?”

War fever in Berlin rose to an exploding point, but picture – if you will – an extremely annoyed, boisterous boy throwing himself across the playing ground at the quiet, tall, kung-fu master; shouting, swearing, and ultimately running face-long into the worst pummeling he has ever been on the end of.

Napoléon invaded Prussia with 180,000 men, and – characteristic of the French system – they moved quickly. They swung across the Saale with over-fucking-whelming force, and across the twin battles of Jena and Auersedt, the French utterly and absolutely broke every fucking bone in the Prussian body. Major commanders were killed or incapacitated, leaving the army unable to govern itself; the entire Prussian force just started to disintegrate.

140,000 Prussian soldiers were captured, with over 2,000 cannon and hundreds of ammunition wagons just adding icing to the “duuuude,, you got SCHOOLED!” cake.

“Never has the morale of any army been more completely shattered.” ~ David Chandler, Historian.

Napoléon now set about isolating the British, introducing the Continental System throughout Europe, which basically boiled down to “don’t trade with the limey’s, or I will be somewhat irked.”

Of course, the Russians were not out of the fight yet, and the Prussians – defeated as they were – refused to surrender while the Russians were around. So, to answer this little pickle, Napoléon formed up the Grand Armée, had a couple of scuffles with the Russian forces, and then utterly smashed them to little pieces at the Battle of Friedland.

So complete was this destruction, that Czar Alexander met Napoléon on a raft on the River Niemen, and the first words out of his mouth were “I hate the English as much as you do.” An unexpected alliance was formed.

Napoleons peace treaty with the Russians was somewhat lenient as long as they joined the Continental System. But for the Prussians – who had doubtlessly pissed him off by refusing to surrender despite being beaten - the terms were considerably worse: half of the Prussian territories were wiped off the map, and a new Kingdom of Westphalia was formed.

A form of “peace” and calm fell over Europe:  the Austrians, Russians, and Prussians were now all whipped into obedience and just the English remained. Napoléon returned to France for the first time in 300 days and decided that a little organization of his empire was in order.

The most important item on his agenda was the enforcement of the Continental System against the English, one major transgressor being the Kingdom of Portugal, which had agreed to abide by the trade blockade, but after the English handed it to the French at Trafalgar, King John VI kinda thought “yeah, you French can kiss it, the Brits clearly have this one,” and he quite openly started trading with them again.

Now I’m not sure if John thought he was too far off on the other side of the Iberian Peninsula for Napoléon to do anything about this change of heart, or maybe he thought that the British control of the seas would keep the French occupied, but Napoléon decided that it was time to get this shit under control.

On October 17th, 1807, 24,000 French troops crossed the Pyrenees – with Spanish permission – and headed towards Portugal. This, ultimately, started a SIX YEAR struggle known as “the Peninsular War,” and it would prove to be a constant leech on French strength.

The entire campaign became the antithesis of typical French quick-maneuvers; their agents started to meddle in Spanish royal affairs, blatantly intent on sowing discourse between members of the royal family. Then, on February 16th 1808, Napoléon announced that he was intervening to mediate between rival factions. 120,000 French soldiers under Marshal Murat entered Spain and arrived at Madrid on the 24th of March.

The Spanish – rightfully so – were pissed off; riots erupted, and this only got worse when Napoléon – in a total face-palming moment – appointed his brother as the new King of Spain. I can only imagine that he had completely under estimated the Spanish, but the net result was country-wide revolt and resistance to French occupation.

The French were – shock upon shocks – defeated at the Battle of Bailén, and suddenly the country was not just indignant, but they were fueled with the fires of success.

Napoléon was forced to personally intervene, and after a quick “Russia, we cool? Don’t be doing shit behind my back,” he headed off to Spain with 80,000 troops and promptly jack booted his way through everything remotely Spanish looking, and – just to prove a point – he drove the British to the coast, paused for a moment, and then kicked them into the ocean.

Straightening his jacket and sleeve cuffs, he dusted himself off, turned to his generals, and uttered the famous words “and that, gentlemen, is how you get shit done.” (Completely made up, but doubtlessly true.)

Believing that everything was now “sorted,” he buggered off back to Europe and would never step onto Spanish soil again. The catch was, things were far from secure. The Brits returned, this time under the Duke of Wellington – more of this guy when we cover Waterloo – and the war on the Iberian Peninsula devolved into a series of asymmetric strategic deadlocks with no side getting the upper hand for long. Brutal guerrilla warfare engulfed the countryside and utterly neutralized 300,000 French forces stationed in the region.

Which might be why the Austrians – after 4 years of sitting on the sidelines, but still smarting from earlier defeats – declared war on the French on February 8th, 1809. Reportedly Napoléon, mid-bite on a particularly tasty croissant, spat it out when hearing the news, and exclaimed “those sneaky little twats, haven’t they learned anything?” (Also completely not true.)

The Austrian attack on the morning of April 10th was sudden and completely unexpected. By the time Napoléon arrived at Donauwörth to see what the fuck was going on, the Grande Armée was in a tenuous position, with flanks 75 miles apart, and a thin center of Bavarian troops.

Again, characteristic for Napoléon and the French forces, he conceived of a quick, nimble maneuver, in which he realigned his army and marched his soldiers towards the town of Eckmühl, gaining an important victory on the way and forcing Austrian forces to withdraw over the Danube.

Vienna once again fell to the French – the second time in 4 years – but the Austrian army, under Charles, was still intact and ready to mix it up. Charles positioned himself several miles from the Danube, waiting to see where the French attempted to cross, and then determined to meet them with absolutely superior forces.

The crossing was on 21st of May and resulted in the Battle of Aspern-Essling, where the Austrians enjoyed a superiority of  numbers to the tune of 110,000 against 31,000 French. The battle raged  from village to village as the French attempted to secure a crossing, and it spread into a second day as an additional 39,000 French soldiers arrived. It was a vicious back-and-forth struggle, but in the end it was the French who retreated under a withering Austrian cannon bombardment; each side had lost 23,000 casualties.

Europe looked on: Napoléon could be defeated.

The French rebounded in June of the same year, this time with 180,000 troops. Charles once again met them, and with 150,000 Austrian forces, the ensuing Battle of Wagram was the largest battle of Napoleons career at the time.

It was a bloody, two-day affair, with the French finally thrusting through the Austrian center and sending them to rout, but the French too exhausted to pursue.

40,000 Austrians were lost at Wagram and it was clear that their fate was going to be down to a matter of time. And here the British stepped in with a “hold on me old mucker, we’ll be there in a jiffy!” second front in the Kingdom of Holland, but by the time they landed the Austrians were all but defeated. Austria looked on cautiously … could the limey’s save the day?

Yeah … nope!

The Walcheren Campaign was a beautiful exercise in incompetency, and the British lost 4,000 men in very little fighting, eventually being chased back home. The net result of their glorious “second front,” had accomplished nothing but to delay the political settlement of Austrians and French.

The Treaty of Schönbrunn in October of 1809 had “Napoléon is one pissed off little camper” written all over it. Hereditary lands were left as part of the Hapsburg realm, but France received Carinthia, Carniola, and the Adriatic ports, while Galicia was given to the Poles and the Salzburg area of the Tyrol went to the Bavarians. Austria lost over three million subjects, or 20% of her total population.

The War of the Fifth Coalition had been a bust and was the last major conflict in Europe for three years.

Napoléon once again turned his attention to domestic affairs and matters of his own personal lineage; Empress Joséphine had failed to give him an heir, so he did what any bloke would do, he gave her the short shrift and started looking for another bit of totty. Hoping to cement the recent alliance with Austria through a family connection, Napoleon married the Archduchess Marie Louise, who was 18 years old at the time. And this proved to be a great move, because not only was she smoking hot, but apparently she was a fertile little minx, and in  March, 1811, Marie gave birth to a baby boy. Napoléon instantly made him heir apparent – of course – and bestowed the title King of Rome.

His son would never rule the Empire.

And now there was peace. PFFT! Of course there wasn’t!

Napoléon didn’t know it at the time, but here on out, things were going to be pretty shitty.

The alliance with Russia had held firm for four years, and the two leaders were even somewhat friendly, but Alexander was under a great deal of pressure from Russian nobility to break off the alliance. He resisted at first, but cracks started to show as the Russians abandoned the Continental System, thus forcing Napoléon to threaten them with serious consequences.

By 1812, Alexander’s advisers started to suggest a possible invasion of French and the recapture of Poland, news of which started to trickle in to Napoléon. One of these guys was going to kick it off first, and Napoléon was determined for it to be him.

Naturally, Russia is a vast swathe of “fuck you in the ass,” and no one in the right mind would invade it with any hope of winning. I mean, it’s big. No, no, like really big. Bigger than you think. Much bigger. And it gets hellishly cold during the winter; the type of cold that destroys entire armies. Just ask Hitler.

Napoléon thought differently.

He expanded his Grande Armée to 450,000 men (and that’s an impressive size), and started to prepare for “Operation Fist up Russkie Butt.”

On June 23rd, 1812, the invasion began.

Now, doubtlessly Napoléon never intended to take all of Russia as his own; he was a quick-in, decisive victory, destroy the willingness of the enemy to fight, negotiate peace, quick out, type of guy. But shit went wrong right from the get go.

The Russians avoided all decisive engagements and just kept retreating deeper and deeper into Russia. Brief fights here and there – such as at Smolensk – would see them defeated, but they just kept marching backwards, deeper and deeper, scorching all of the earth around them.

Napoléon’s 450,000 men were now becoming a liability and food was increasingly difficult to forage for.

Then, just outside of Moscow, the Russians stood firm and battle was given at Borodino. 44,000 Russians died, alongside 35,000 Frenchmen; it was a bloody, bloody slaughter. The French won the day, but the Russians had accepted and withstood the French, and the battle had not been the crushing blow Napoléon had been looking for.

“The most terrible of all my battles was the one before Moscow. The French showed themselves to be worthy of victory, but the Russians showed themselves worthy of being invincible.” ~ Napoléon

Again the Russians withdrew, and here Napoléon believed that he had victory: Moscow was his; with its capture surely they would capitulate and agree to terms.



And that’s freaking hardcore.

It was now early November, and the Russian winter loomed like a steel mallet dipped in tar, encrusted with broken glass, set on fire, and wielded by a bare-chested Vladimir Putin riding a rabid bear.

Unrest in France started to spell the possibility of the loss of Paris itself, and Napoléon was forced to march his army, knee-deep in snow, back westward. In the space of ONE NIGHT, he lost 10,000 men and horses.

Let that sink in for a moment. He isn’t out of the Russian arm-bar yet, and his “Grande Armée” is disintegrating around him at a hellish pace.

The retreat out of Russia was RUINOUS. The Grande Armée had started with over 400,000 frontline troops, but in the end fewer than 40,000 crossed the Berezina River in November 1812. Look around you; now imagine 9 in 10 people being dead. That’s pretty murderous.

But aside from the sheer loss of life and materials, there was the loss of experience and skill: trained horses, experienced cavalrymen, infantry with years of frontline service … in Russia, France lost it all. Napoléon had no choice but to start pulling troops out of the Iberian Peninsula, ultimately starting a slippery slope towards losing that area altogether to the allies.

Unsurprisingly, both Russia and France needed a little time to rebuild lost troops and over the winter of 1812-1813, there was a lull in the fighting. But this didn’t stop the buzzards from circling. With this disastrous defeat, Prussia again saw its chance to give France a bloody good kicking, and they joined forces with Austria, Sweden, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal. And if you weren’t counting there, that’s seven countries against just France.

Despite France fighting valiantly, the numbers were just hopelessly stacked against her. She won at Dresden, but ended up pinned down against an army twice her size at Leipzig; 225,000 Frenchmen squared off against 380,000 coalition forces …. The numbers were ridiculous and it was by far the largest battle of the Napoleonic wars. The French lost 60,000 dead, wounded and captured here, while the coalition forces lost 54,000. It was a bloody brawl, but one that France could not keep bouncing back from.

And now it was time for the allies to offer terms to France: surrender, reduce your borders to their natural state, and stop being a dick. That was it: he could even carry on being Emperor and all of that shit.

The terms were exceptionally good, and while France would have had to have given up a lot of conquered territory, she would likewise get to keep a great deal as well. But Napoléon dilly-dallied around and lost the opportunity; by the end of 1813, the allies had pulled the offer off the table.

When – in 1814 – he did wish to open up these negotiations, the allies were all “yeah, that ship has sailed, buddy.” The terms now were much harsher: now France had to retreat to her 1791 boundaries. Napoléon could remain Emperor. For now.

Napoléon refused.

He had just 70,000 men in his army, and pretty much no cavalry. The allies were so, so much greater in numbers, and – surrounding him on all sides – the leaders of Paris thought “this guy is crazy” and they surrendered.

And it’s about this point where Napoléon ended up with no friends at home. Alexander addressed the Sénat conservateur, and pretty much said “listen dudes, we have no beef with France; it’s that dick Napoléon we can’t handle. You have to remove him from power, and if you do, we’ll be all sweet by you.”

The Sénat tended to agree, and the following day they passed the Acte de déchéance de l'Empereur (“Emperor’s Demise Act”), which declared Napoleon deposed.

Napoléon’s response when he heard? “Let’s take the capital!”

Thankfully, his generals were pretty much “yeah … NO!” Napoléon had to bow to the inevitable, and on April 4th he abdicated in favor of his son. This didn’t go over well with the allies, so after a few more arm twists he eventually abdicated unconditionally.

The Allied Powers having declared that Emperor Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the restoration of peace in Europe, Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he renounces, for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, even that of his life, which he is not ready to do in the interests of France.

Napoléon was exiled to Elba; a Mediterranean  island  jut off the Tuscan coast and sporting just 12,000 inhabitants. They gave him sovereignty over the island and allowed him to keep his title, but as he gazed out over the idyllic view and pondered over his wife and son in Austria, he figured that he could do so, so much better.

In the first few months on Elba Napoleon created a small navy and army, developed the iron mines, and issued decrees on modern agricultural methods.

Napoléon was far from done. Napoléon had ideas …

Part III Coming Next …

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