February 24, 2008 cameron

The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #37 – Fouche’s Machiavellian Machinations

Somehow we managed to get another entire episode just out of Joseph Fouche, Minister of Police, Duke of Otranto, and his machinations after Napoleon’s abdication to try to ensure his own position of power in post-Napoleonic France. We also talk about what’s happening during this period of instability with Marshals Ney, Davout and Murat. Napoleon, although the topic of much discussion, is, in this episode, almost a minor character.

Joseph Fouche

This show is based on David’s book “Napoleon For Dummies”.


Comments (7)

  1. Marc Denjean

    Thanks a million for everything. This has been a very educating and entertaining experience.

    As a Frenchman living in London, I have to endure Trafalgar square and Waterloo station but you will be pleased to know that the Eurostar has now moved to Kings Cross station. I also easily console myself thinking about all the streets in Paris dedicated to the marechaux (around paris) and his victories (around the arc de triomphe). FYI there is no Rue Napoleon in Paris as it was renamed Rue de la Paix, but there is a rue Bonaparte.

    Two further points:
    – I have not caught up yet despite some frantic listening during my ski holidays and it seems that you have tried to do an episode describing some of the major characters like the marechaux in this one but, maybe, you could do something describing exactly what the armies of this time where? What’s a cuirassier vs. hussard vs. chasseur a cheval, what were the different types of soldiers, tactics and organisations etc.

    – In one of the early episodes, Cameron mentionned that George III dropped the title of Roi de France and wondered where it came from. Once again, apologies if this has been addressed by previous bloggers but here is the answer:
    It does not come from Guillaume the Conqueror at all. He was a Normand Duke (I think) but never held the crown of France
    It comes from the 100-yr war.
    Philippe IV le Bel dies in 1314 living 3 sons and a daughter (Isabelle). She is married to the heir of the English throne. The 3 sons will die relatively soon leaving no male heirs. Hence the claim of Isabelle’s son (Edward III) will claim the Crown of France as a descendant from Philippe IV through his mother while the French will invoque the Salic Law for the first time and rule that women cannot rule and therefore crown has to go to Philippe’s brother Charles.

    More detailed on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years'_War

    More entertaining reading in the 7 tome saga THe Accursed Kings / Les Rois Maudits by Maurice Druon – It details the run up to the war from the eradication of the Templar Knights and their cursing of Philippe to the first defeats at the start of the 100yr war. Very entertaining for those who can find it in English (easy to find in French).


  2. Nick

    Wow, I’m the first person to post! That’s a surprise.
    well, great show again and I’m looking forward to listening to the new Biography Podcast – but only one show on Alexander the Great! I know that you’re much bigger fans of Napoleon, but I’m sure you guys could have easily do 5 to 10 shows on Alexander. David, did Cameron prevent you from talking or something? but I digress.
    oh, and in answer to David’s question regarding Hammurabi’s Code, I’m happy to say it’s safe and sound at the Louvre. Maybe you two can check it out when you’re in Paris.

    I do have a few follow-up questions to the show.
    Do you know of any other 19th century generals/ marshals who were executed simply for serving their countries? And what was Napoleon’s reaction when he heard of the ignoble deaths of poor Ney and Murat?

    Although I hate Fouche, I have to admit he did a hell of a job rising to the top spot in all of France. I just wish there was a nice, loyal Bonapartist around to “accidentally” push him out a window.



  3. Cameron

    Nick, I seem to recall when N was informed of their executions he said something to the effect of “I told you so”. 🙂

  4. Hello David, hello Cameron,

    listening to the current episode right now, regarding the Code of Hammurabi, just as Nick has pointed out above, it’s at the Louvre (I saw it there last year).

  5. Nick,

    If Cameron could find a way to prevent me from talking, he could patent it and make a fortune! My wife alone would pay an Emperor’s ransom.

    We just decided to do a series of ‘one shot’ shows on a wide variety of historical people. That way we could give brief overviews that might inspire folks to dig a bit deeper. Of course, Alexander deserved (and got) more than the half hour (he got about 90 minutes). Even Hammurabi got about 45 minutes! These are not designed to satisfy specialists who are looking for great depth. We hope to reach people who love history and would like to know just a little about folks whose names are familiar but about whom they know relatively little.

    As to longer shows, the next one we plan to do is Julius Caesar. After that, we might do Alexander, or the French Revolution, or some other topics.

    As always, thanks to all our listeners!


  6. Andrew

    David and Cameron,
    I’m afraid I have a serious compliant. I only discovered your podcasts a month ago and have downloaded all of them in one go. I am now working my way through them. It is taking up every spare moment I have. As a result I am almost permanently walking around listening to them, going to bed listening to them and waking up listening to them. I have not read a book or spoken to my wife or children properly for some time now. My youngest, who is only 5, thinks the ear plugs are a permanent part of me now. Also I may have to buy my wife a decent present to make up for my complete lack of attention. I’ll send you the bill if thats alright. I always thought if I got divorced it would be over another women or money not a podcast, surely that can’t be admissable in a divorce court can it?
    Imagine my horror when at episode 28 and nearing the end I discover you are continuing your addictive education, where will it all end?
    Also as someone who always thought of himself as a history buff you have embarressingly highlighted to me just how much I do not know, but then history tends to do that to you anyway.

    Keep up the good work and thanks,

  7. Tim

    hey Cameron

    Just about finished listening to Napoleon, is it going to get past 41 episodes? could be possible.

    I don’t know anyone else I can think of that are real history buffs, like you & David. You could do a show about Roman history, & it would be just as Fantastic as with Napoleon & the Biography Show.

    Just another query, what is the introduction music for episodes 1, 2. 3 & 4 with NAPOLEON?


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