An important anniversary

Two hundred and five years ago the fate of the world hung in the balance. Napolean Boneparte, a master tactician but, fortunately, a deeply flawed strategist, had returned from exile, recreated his Army and was threatening to topple Europe, again, and impose his very, very illiberal rule on the continent.

Sir_Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_WellingtonBlücher_(nach_Gebauer)Happily, the Duke Of Wellington was in command of the allied armies, he and the Prussian commander, Field Marshal von Blücher were also brilliant, brave and determined soldiers.

The rest, as they say, is history and Waterloo has entered our language as a synonym for broken dreams.

Waterloo wasn’t one battle, despite what the artists try to show …

Battle_of_Waterloo_1815

… it was several engagements, some of them lasting for hours, that finally ended when Boneparte’s famous “Old Guard” broke and ran in the face of ferociously disciplined British infantry.

The battle itself is far less important than the peace which ushered in four decades of peace for Europe, something of a record, I think, during which there were many and varied liberal political movements that helped to shape European, especially German politics.

The world would have been a much darker place if Boneparte had won. We all owe Wellington and Blücher a huge debt.

 

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