A Conversation for The Battle of Waterloo, 1815
Varindweion Started conversation Sep 23, 2005
Beautifully written and very well narated. I was actually swept up in the story during the part when the Prussian enter the field.
I also like the fact that you made the link with WOI and II.
McKay The Disorganised Posted Sep 23, 2005
Secretly Not Here Any More Posted Sep 24, 2005
Cheers guys. Glad you enjoyed it.
AgProv2 Posted Sep 26, 2005
Minor (very minor!) quibble: Prussia wouldn't just be "a" state among those that later made up Imperial Germany, the history of the next fifty or so years, prior to France getting its first duffing-over by Germany in 1870, would be one of Prussia taking on its German rivals one by one. Picking off the opposition one at a time, and in places and circumstances of Prussia's own choosing, would ensure that when unification finally came, the driving force and dominant state in a unified Germany would be Prussian and based in Berlin.
It's interesting to speculate on what a united Germany might have looked like, and how subsequent world history might have panned out, if the dominant state had been, say, the slightly less warlike Bavarians, or even if the more louche and laid-back Austrians had come out on top... (or maybe if the British hadn't missed the opportunity to get Hanover in there as a major player, ensuring a Germany less hostile to British interests)
Damn fine article, though.
I forget the author, but there's a really interesting book about the guy, possibly one of the first military modellers and toy soldier collectors, who not long after 1815 devoted his life savings into creating a very large scale model of the Battle of Waterloo, with every participating regiment represented by a scaled-down number of toy soldiers.
He chose to depict the moment where Prussian troops enter the battle, sometime around six in the evening, and his intention was to make money by exhibiting the model around Britain and charging a nominal entry fee. The model still exists - it's about twenty-four feet by eighteen and has about twenty thousand scale miniatures on it, and it is a lovely and staggeringly large work of art. It's on display in London at the National Army Museum.
What scuppered his hopes of making money from his work (he died a pauper)was that Wellington objected to a depiction of the battle that in Wellington's opinion gave undue prominence to the Prussian participation. Wellington, apparently, did not want "his" victory diminished by representation that shared his glory with Blucher, and used all his influence and contacts to rubbish the historical accuracy of the model and cast doubt on the research its creator had put into making it accurate.
The book is called "Wellington's Smallest Victory" and is an interesting insight into vanity and small-mindedness on the part of Wellesey.
Secretly Not Here Any More Posted Sep 27, 2005
I might have a look for that y'know, as vanity and small mindedness aren't qualities Wellington's famed for having!
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