This year at the 20th of March, it was exactly 200 years ago since Vive L’Empereur was shouted in Paris. After a short exile at a beautiful island called Elba the own crowned emperor Napoleon thought he could very well try for another term of office. So Nappy and his 800 merry men returned to France to once again overthrow a bourbon king (who fled to England…again…). Within an amazingly fast period of time Napoleon was able to recruit around 280.000 young soldiers.
Luckily for the allied forces they were having a joined peace convention (which obviously wasn’t successful when they heard the news). So they were able to mobilize around 1,5 million men to march towards Paris. Of course a lot of these men were already stationed in different places in Europe.
Anyways 1,5 million men vs 280.000…that’s a big difference! Of course Napoleon figured the French didn’t had a chance versus such a power. He tried nonetheless by trying to separate the Anglo-Dutch forces from the Prussians with an army of 123.000 men. Afterwards dear ol’ Nappy wouldn’t merely eat his sandwich, but he’d also try to recruit several thousand men in Holland itself before continuing to the German states.
However, several things happened that made the advantage Napoleon had, vanish in moments (his illness, a weird and massive charge of the cavalry and the joining of the Prussians). So within a period of 100 days after his arrival in Paris the French emperor met his Waterloo (literally).
What we can learn from this story is that by faith, knowledge, persistence, acting without hesitation and pressing your luck you can make your mark in history. At the age of 26 Napoleon started his career of general, at 30 he became first consul of France and finally at the age of 35 he became Emperor of France. Probably one of the most fun things is that the little corporal never had a clue what his final goal was.
So remember, great men know what they are capable off and can conquer the world. Excellent men know when they have to stop and to give it to a successor. Napoleon failed in his own words of: “Let the path be open to talent” he didn’t want to step aside when it was necessary.