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Friday, March 15, 2013

Napoleon Bonaparte: Beginning the Russian campaign

Napoleon's speech to his soldiers before his invasion of Russia.

Soldiers: The second war of Poland has begun. The first war terminated at Friedland and Tilsit. At Tilsit Russia swore eternal alliance with France and war with England. She has openly violated her oath, and refuses to offer any explanation of her strange conduct till the Frencheagle shall have passed the Rhine, and consequently shall have left herallies at her discretion. Russia is impelled onward by fatality. Her destiny is about to be accomplished. Does she believe that we have degenerated-that we are no longer the soldiers of Austerlitz? She has placed us between dishonor and war. The choice cannot for an instant be doubtful.
Let us march forward, then, and, crossing the Niemen, carry the war into her territories. The second war of Poland will be to the French army as glorious as the first. But our next peace must carry with it its own guaranty and put an end to that arrogant influence which for the last fifty years Russia has exercised over the affairs of Europe.

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