“My lord Brother. Beautiful, magical Moscow exists no more. How could you consign to destruction the loveliest city in the world, a city that has taken hundreds of years to build?” - Napoleon to the czar, 1812
This is a story that my grandfather liked to tell. It’s kind of long, and I can’t say if it’s true, but it seems to fit the very old and cantankerous guy I knew, who never, ever let a grudge go. I mean, in the 1980s and 90s, he would sometimes go and yell at Democratic candidates for office, because Woodrow Wilson had made him fight in WW1.
The story actually starts with that, kind of. You see, Grampa immigrated to the US early enough that the first election he could vote in, he voted for Teddy Roosevelt. Wilson won, though, and then he ran for reelection under the slogan “He Kept Us Out of the War.” Which seemed like a good platform, so my grandfather voted for Wilson. Few months after that, he got us into the war, and a few months after that, my grandfather was in the trenches somewhere in France.