March 8, 2013

Napoleon On The Virtues of The Soldier

 Napoleon On His Legacy.

From, "The Mind of Napoleon: A Selection from His Written and Spoken Words," edited and translated by J. Christopher Herold. Columbia University Press: New York. 1955. Pg. 210-212.
[Conseil d'Etat, 1806] The only kind of fanaticism that is good for anything is military fanaticism: it is needed if men are to let themselves be killed.

[Dictation, Saint Helena] Hardship, blood, and death create enthusiasts and martyrs and give birth to bold and desperate resolutions.

[Proclamation, 1799] The chief virtues of a soldier are constancy and discipline. Valor comes only in second place.

[Letter to General Clarke, 1809] Whoever prefers death to ignominy will save his life and live in honor, but he who prefers life will die and cover himself with disgrace.

[Conversation, 1800s] Conscription forms citizen armies. Voluntary enlistment forms armies of vagrants and good-for-nothings. The former are guided by honor; mere discipline controls the latter.