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  • Writer's pictureAlpesh Patel

What Napoleon Taught Me In Moscow

My trip to Moscow offered time for reflection on the essence of fighting - whether for victories in business or over other things, including over ones fears.

“Soldiers! Forty centuries behold you!” – Napoleon Bonaparte, July 1798. To his army before the Battle of the Pyramids.

“The moral is to the physical as three to one” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“My business is to succeed, and I’m good at it. I create my Iliad by my actions, create it day by day.” – Napoleon (1804)

“the secret of war lies in the communications” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon to Berthier 11 Nov 1798, Corres., V, no. 3606 p. 128 quoted in – Napoleon on the Art of War

“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon” 15 July 1815. To the captain of HMS Bellerophon.

HMS Bellerophon carried Napoleon from the Ile d’Aix to Plymouth before he was transferred to the HMS Northumberland and taken into exile on St Helena.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“It is better to have a known enemy than a forced ally” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Conscription is the vitality of a nation, the purification of its morality, and the real foundations of all its habits” – Napoleon, “Political Aphorisms” 1848

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“To have good soldiers, a nation must always be at war.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

” The most dangerous moment comes with victory” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“The bayonet has always been the weapon of the brave and the chief tool of victory” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Cavalry is useful before, during, and after the battle” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Without cavalry, battles are without result” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Victory belongs to the most persevering. -Napoleon Bonaparte

I love a brave soldier who has undergone the baptism of fire. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Two armies are two bodies which meet and try to frighten each other. – Napoleon Bonaparte

Soldiers usually win the battles and generals get the credit for them. – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Courage is like love: it must have hope for nourishment.” – Napoleon Bonaparte (“Maxims”)

“Human life is the only thing that takes care of itself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte (on why he left men exposed to the enemy in Russia)

“In war there is but one favorable moment; the great art is to seize it!” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“There are certain things in war of which the commander alone comprehends the importance. Nothing but his superior firmness and ability can subdue and surmount all difficulties.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Strategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less concerned about the latter than the former. Space we can recover, lost time never.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“He that makes war without many mistakes has not made war very long.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“One bad general is worth two good ones.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Made a career of finding, and defeating, inept enemy generals.

“How many things apparently impossible have nevertheless been performed by resolute men who had no alternative but death.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Read over and over again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus, Turenne, Eugene and Frederic. … This is the only way to become a great general and master the secrets of the art of war. …” -Napoleon Bonaparte, “Military Maxims of Napoleon”


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