Thursday, June 11, 2015

Waterloo Bicentennial: 1815-2015

The Battle of Waterloo: June 18th, 1815. Napoleon's last throw of the Hundred Days -- between his periods of exile on the islands of Elba and St. Helena. More than 60,000 casualties in one day of fighting. In addition, the Battle of Ligny fought two days earlier - Napoleon's final battlefield victory -- had resulted in excess of another 30,000 casualties. 
Waterloo ended the Napoleonic Wars, but contrary to self-serving British claims, it did not result in a hundred years of peace among the European powers  -- nor anywhere else in the world. True, in 1914 "The Great War" began, but between 1815 and 1914 there were untold numbers of imperial overseas colonial wars, while even just in and around Europe, there were many significant conflicts, such as: the Caucasian War; the Greek War of Independence; the Portuguese Civil War; the Russo-Turkish War; the 1848 revolutions;  the First Schleswig War; the Crimean War;  the Spanish–Moroccan War; the Franco-Austrian War; the Second Schleswig War; the Austro-Prussian War; the Glorious Revolution in Spain; the Franco-Prussian War; the Third Carlist War in Spain; various Ottoman Empire uprisings; the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878; the Greco-Turkish War; the Spanish-American War; the Russo-Japanese War; the Italo-Turkish War; and the First and Second Balkan War.
The Waterloo battlefield is well worth seeing in person. If you're ever in Belgium . . . go for it.
Waterloo: here come the Prussians (in red) under Generalfeldmarschall Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742-1819). Even if Napoleon had been victorious at Waterloo, a long war of attrition would then have been directed at his empire, with probably the same ultimate result. That's another thing that few interested parties seem to want to think about.  

Today's Rune: Wholeness. 


t said...

i don't understand these things but i'm learning. remind me: what were the wars about? just human nature to organise bloodbaths ever so often?
maybe one day, i'll get into local history, like Yoruba wars of the last two or three hundred years. like i said, i know/understand little.

Johnny Yen said...

I find it fascinating when great historical battles end up occurring in places that have little strategic or military value. Gettysburg also comes to mind.

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember a quote by Napoleon that has always stayed with me: "You cannot stop me. I spend thirty thousand men a month." If that doesn't show you the horrors of tyrants, nothing will.

the walking man said...

Old Nappy must have been the template for our civil war generals. I can't find more than a decade total in world history of the past 4000 years where there is no report of a war. We are not by nature peaceful, we try to kill off that portion of our being as early as possible it would seem.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I remember learning about this battle, but evidently I didn't remember a thing I was taught. Pretty shocking to learn (relearn?) about the casualties.

jodi said...

Erik-how ridiculous is it that my knowledge of Waterloo is mainly from the song by the same name? Nuts, heh?