October 11, 2007 cameron

#29 – The First Abdication

As 1814 begins, Napoleon is surrounded by problems following the Battle of Leipzig, but he still has some fight left in him. In this nearly two hour long episode, David takes us through the failed peace talks, The Six Day War, the betrayal of Murat, Ney and the surrender of Paris, Napoleon being a mere four hours too late to save his city from being turned over to the enemy by his brother Joseph.

This image is from the personal collection of J. David Markham:

 Adieu de Fontainebleau

This show is based on David’s book “Napoleon For Dummies”. Click on the image below to purchase a copy!





Comments (17)

  1. Laugh!!
    I nearly shat myself!
    I open the latest Napoleon Podcast to check it out and I see the running time. Just short of 2 HOURS!!! You guys are unbelievable:-)
    And the recommended time all the podcasting gurus are saying that a Podcast should run is 5 to 20 minutes, Ha! What would they know! There are no rules here.

    Good on you for following the dream, just love it and what was the number of listeners last month again Cameron?

  2. Well 2 hours flew by – it hardly seemed any longer than the earlier podcasts.

    This was great stuff. The anatomy of how the regime fell apart was gripping. There was really no hope for Napoleon by 1814 but boy did he put up a fight.

    I’d be interested to know what he got up to on Elba. I can’t see someone of his energy and ability just sitting around in the sun waiting for a Dhakari.

    Also, I live in a place to the south of England called Petworth. Petworth is dominated by a huge stately home called Petworth House. This is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. On one of the walls is a big oil painting dating from 1814 showing a huge number of heads of state having a conference. Is this a significant feature of Napoleonic history? Or does it not register in all the great events of the time?

  3. Cameron

    Colin, I can’t wait to do the Elba episode! I keep telling David I think Elba is one of the best parts of the story!

    The painting sounds like it could be one of the Chatillon conference we mentioned in the show?

  4. It seems to me that JDM is too hard an the allies.

    They offer the natural borders of France. Napoleon refuses and continues to fight. He realizes he is losing, so *then* he says, okay, I’ll take the natural borders. OF COURSE they aren’t going to agree to that– they already put it on the table and had it refused. They offer the 1792 boundries, and Napoleon refuses and continues to fight. He realizes he is still losing, so *then* he say, okay, I’ll take the 1792 border. Too late buddy, you already rejected that and kept fighting! Now it’s abdication.

    It’s like the theoretical soldier who stays on the machine gun, killing the enemy, until they are at his position and then tries to surrender. The time for surrender is over, and of course he will be killed rather than taken prisoner.

  5. Dirk

    Hey Cameron & JDM,

    I’m from Brisbane, Australia, just wanted to say thanks for doing such a great show. Thoroughly enjoy each and every one. I’ve just finished your survey and eagerly anticipate new shows on Caesar and Alexander…

  6. Thomas Normoyle

    I cant express how much I’ve been entertained by your podcasts, and i’m totally of the same opinion of Napoleon as you are.

    “VIVA LA EMPEREUR” (and as we say in Ireland) “F*** THE BEGRUDGERS ”
    p.s. You might consider future podcasts on Napoleon’s Marshals.

  7. Mike,

    Thanks for the links. Fascinating stuff. That is the picture I was referring to. I will see if I can get a better image of go and photograph it myself, and send it to David and Cameron. They might find identifying the people in the picture interesting.

    I hadn’t realised until I read your second link that the bust on the Leconfield Hall in the centre of town is of William of Orange. I will be visiting the hall tonight as we have a meeting to plan putting up the Xmas lights in the town. I might suggest that the band plays Lilibolero in his honour now I know who he is. (Sorry if non-UK residents don’t get the reference there – it would probably take a two hour podcast to explain).

    It got me thinking that William of Orange is an interesting comparison with Napoleon. He was willing to take risks when necessary, but was generally much more cautious. To my mind of the two, William is the more to be admired.

  8. Simon Foster

    Great show guys, it pains me every time I look on Itunes and see that there isn’t another Nap101 show downloading. I’m on my third listen of the entire series at the moment and dread the end of this podcast. Do you think that after this show has finished you could do a show of listeners questions about Napoleon just for even more insight.

    P.S Cameron where did you get those awesome shades are they vintage

  9. Nick

    Wow, I think this might have been your best episode yet!

    It never occured to me that Napoleon could have abdicated in favor of his son – but with the Hapsburg Marie Louisa as regent, Prof. Markham makes it seem like such a tantalizing possibility.

    and my God, what a traitor Talleyrand was! He deserves a special place in Dante’s final circle of Hell.

    can’t wait for the next episode,
    – Nick

  10. Nick,

    Thanks for the kind comment, and I certainly agree with your idea of where to put Talleyrand! I’m not sure the final circle is enough, though. Maybe that, plus having to listen to my podcast!! Simon, thanks also. Yes, we dread the end as well, and I like your idea of responding to questions. Of course, we try to incorporate some questions into what we do anyway.

    We are scheduled to do another podcast in 10 minutes or so. Hmmm, must be time to go get my meds!


  11. Another terrific, terrific show, as always.

    I am catching up after relistening from Episode One, and was thrilled to hear a mention of Randy Pausch’s lecture. As Cameron mentioned, it is a thrilling, life affirming lesson that everyone should hear.

    The link to it is here:http://www.etc.cmu.edu/global_news/?q=node/42

    I advise EVERYONE to give it a try. You will find it is worth your time.

  12. Eric Thorn

    I have to agree completely with Andy. This is the prosecution of a war, and like the prosecution of a criminal, offers are made on a basis of the situation. It is completely absurd to expect the allies to maintain the same offer they had previously offered once the tide has turned so much.

    Mr. Markham says that the allies are trying to forget 20 years of history… perhaps, in a glib way, that’s true. But you seem to be willing to forget several months of extremely important history as well if you think that an offered agreement should remain static when one side gains an undeniable advantage over the other. I hope you don’t employ that strategy at yard sales…

    Anyway, thanks for the podcast (it’s really interesting to come on to this later and thus be able to listen to one or two every day)

  13. Wow !, been to the Hotel des Invalids many times, however didn’t know there was a napoleon podcast or a dummies guide. Certainly fancy buying the book :). Would make a great treat for my dad, who is a keen bonapartist (is this the correct term for someone who likes to read about the emperor’s exploits ?)

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