French newspaper Le Monde cautioned British allies in an editorial commemorating Napoleon’s 200th year anniversary on June 18, against defying the “familiar temptation of splendid isolation,” saying “The country which cornered Napoleon cannot succumb to Nigel Farage.”
“Brexit could be your Waterloo!” continued the editorial written in English to convey the message to its British allies, Le Monde said.
The editorial began with a painful tad of reality which was not readily accepted to a proud power: Defeat.
“In France, the Napoleonic legend has lost much of its luster,” it said, albeit according to the paper, the French way of celebrating June 18 is not about Napoleon losing to Duke of Wellington, but rather, it is much more on how in 1940, General de Gaulle initiated an appeal to his countrymen to cease the German occupation.
But another line of the sad truth was written: “The image of the revolutionary, of the visionary of modern Europe is now tainted with legacy of nepotism and slavery.”
The editorial narrated what took place on the fateful day of June 18, 1815 — that France “lost an Emperor” and its “dream of hegemony” in the battle of Waterloo.
Yet, while that was so, the French daily cautioned against giving in to self-censorship. Rather, on the bicentenary commemoration, French commentators and historians alike are motivated to look at such strong history with more balance.
“Defeat it was, but a glorious defeat: It took the whole of Europe to break the French army,” the editorial read.
“Who remembers Wellington? It is Napoleon who is celebrated today,” it added.
Waterloo has been significant in ways much more than what it stands for at the present. Le Monde wrote that “Waterloo marked the beginning of an unprecedented era of peace, stability and development in Europe” and signified the conclusion of the “political cycle of the French Revolution” as well as the commencement of Britain’s industrial revolution.
Finally, Le Monde wrote that despite defeat in Waterloo, it nevertheless forged Anglo-French peace for two centuries.
“Never again have we been at war with each other, except on rugby field,” the editorial quipped.