Quotation by Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson

The careers of Napoleon and de Gaulle bear comparison, though it is always unwise to take such imposed similarities too far. But nevertheless, both their careers were born out of social upheaval and military disaster. It is astonishing that Napoleon, a mere youthful artillery officer from despised Corsica, should have pulled together a country reeling from the horrors of revolution; survived the ignominy of defeat in Egypt; created a new France, constitutionally, legally, and organizationally; brought emperors and kings to their knees; allied himself through marriage with one of the proudest European dynasties; fought a series of impeccably planned and devastatingly executed campaigns; had the whole world within his grasp ... and, so very nearly, held it there. It is equally extraordinary that Charles de Gaulle, a brilliant though suspect tank commander, should have snatched from the fall of France a personal triumph. Who else, one wonders, could have continued to assert the position of himself and his country in the face of dislike and mistrust? Who else, like Napoleon returning from Elba, could have emerged from the self-imposed exile of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises to restore France's confidence? Both men were seized with the concept of la gloire. Both took that concept to the ultimate.
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