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Adam Zamoyski's Napoleon: A Life

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  • #46
    Originally posted by jf42 View Post
    I am curious. How would you define 'grab'; we know about the tripartite partiton of Poland; but elsewhere?



    Austria "grabbed" much of northern Italy.
    Austria sought to grab more german land, but that was more difficult.
    It also took some territory from the Ottoman Empire in 1790. Austria also "grabbed" back Italy after Napoleon's fall.

    All of the major powers (save perhaps England) were always looking to expand their borders.
    I am not being critical of Austria, just pointing out that they were not innocent bystanders
    Avatar is General Gerard, courtesy of Zouave.

    Churchill to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Gooner View Post

      Austria was more sinned against than a sinner when it came to State land grabbing in the 18th Century I think.
      France was the usual suspect from the middle of the 17th Century as regards expansion, especially of Imperial lands. In that respect the Kings of France were actually more successful than Napoleon.
      France wasn't innocent of expansionist desires at any time. I would never make that claim.
      And you could be right that Austria was more sinned against, but it was still a "sinner" just like Napoleonic France.

      Avatar is General Gerard, courtesy of Zouave.

      Churchill to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Cambronnne View Post




        Austria "grabbed" much of northern Italy.
        Austria sought to grab more german land, but that was more difficult.
        It also took some territory from the Ottoman Empire in 1790. Austria also "grabbed" back Italy after Napoleon's fall.

        All of the major powers (save perhaps England) were always looking to expand their borders.
        I am not being critical of Austria, just pointing out that they were not innocent bystanders
        Simply repeating what is, I think you'll agree, an imprecise term, doesnt help answer my question. By 'grab, ' do you mean illegitimately and by force?

        Gooner is quite right in saying that in general the Hapsburgs had aquired their lands by treaty and dynastic marriage, and their authority in Germany, fading as it might have been, was by virtue of the title of 'Holy Roman Emperor.' My understanding is that the Hapsburg possessions in north Italy were acquired legitimately in the C18th. As far as the Ottomans were concerned, they had been the aggressors since the late C15th and, following their conquest of Hungary in 1526 Hapsburg princes, as successors to the Crown of Hungary, led the fight against Ottoman expansion in the Danube borderlands throughout the C16th & C17th and spearheaded the push to recover Ottoman-held lands at the start ot the C18th. The Turks repeatedly attempted to regain territory and usually ended up losing more. I don't think this can be presented as Hapsburgs 'grabbing' Ottoman territory, in the way you suggest.
        Last edited by jf42; 25 Oct 18, 11:50.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by jf42 View Post

          Simply repeating what is, I think you'll agree, an imprecise term, doesnt help answer my question. By 'grab, ' do you mean illegitimately and by force?

          Gooner is quite right in saying that in general the Hapsburgs had aquired their lands by treaty and dynastic marriage, and their authority in Germany, fading as it might have been, was by virtue of the title of 'Holy Roman Emperor.' My understanding is that the Hapsburg possessions in north Italy were acquired legitimately in the C18th. As far as the Ottomans were concerned, they had been the aggressors since the late C15th and, following their conquest of Hungary in 1526 Hapsburg princes, as successors to the Crown of Hungary, led the fight against Ottoman expansion in the Danube borderlands throughout the C16th & C17th and spearheaded the push to recover Ottoman-held lands at the start ot the C18th. The Turks repeatedly attempted to regain territory and usually ended up losing more. I don't think this can be presented as Hapsburgs 'grabbing' Ottoman territory, in the way you suggest.


          So the Ottomans declared war on Austria and the Austrians win.
          As a result, the Austrians take territory from the Ottomans and that is legitimate.
          But Napoleon does exactly the same thing and it is not?
          Again, I am not being critical of Austria's actions, just pointing out it is the same behavior that Napoleon engaged in.

          The "legitimacy" of taking land is always a matter of perspective.
          In this situation, I don't think we can say one nation's land acquisition by conquest is "legitimate" while another's is not given that the residents of those lands were never involved in the decision.

          Avatar is General Gerard, courtesy of Zouave.

          Churchill to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by Cambronnne View Post



            So the Ottomans declared war on Austria and the Austrians win.
            As a result, the Austrians take territory from the Ottomans and that is legitimate.
            But Napoleon does exactly the same thing and it is not?
            Again, I am not being critical of Austria's actions, just pointing out it is the same behavior that Napoleon engaged in.

            The "legitimacy" of taking land is always a matter of perspective.
            In this situation, I don't think we can say one nation's land acquisition by conquest is "legitimate" while another's is not given that the residents of those lands were never involved in the decision.
            Your use of 'exactly' is interesting when deployed in an argument that is seems to me to be far from precise.

            We can discuss Napolon grabbing land if you like, but it was not my intention to make such comparisons. You made a comment in relation to the Hapsburgs or 'Austria' grabbing territories, and I questioned the accuracy of such a statement, especially given the vagueness of that generalised remark.

            As it is, your comparisons are greatly oversimplified. One fact you continue to overlook is that the Hapsburg-led armies were in the process of recovering lands conquered by the Ottoman emperors (without, I suspect, the courtesy of declaring war); lands to which, in great part, the Hapsburgs had legitimate title. So, this was hardly the aquisition of "one nation's land...by conquest" (In any case, at that date very few territorial boundaries were defined by 'national' identity and certainly not in the Danube plains, or Italy for that matter).

            So your comparison does not bear out at all. I should be interested if you can find any thing close to an exact parallel in Napoleon's aquisitions, annexations, or what-have-you.

            Legitimacy in these matters was fairly clear. The consequences may not have been universally popular, happy or of longstanding, but aquisition of land by treaty or through dynastic connection was an entirely legitimate process in international relations, although of course, as we know, there could be challenges and disputes.

            As far as the views of residents were concerned, that was for a later age.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by jf42 View Post

              Your use of 'exactly' is interesting when deployed in an argument that is seems to me to be far from precise.

              We can discuss Napolon grabbing land if you like, but it was not my intention to make such comparisons. You made a comment in relation to the Hapsburgs or 'Austria' grabbing territories, and I questioned the accuracy of such a statement, especially given the vagueness of that generalised remark.

              As it is, your comparisons are greatly oversimplified. One fact you continue to overlook is that the Hapsburg-led armies were in the process of recovering lands conquered by the Ottoman emperors (without, I suspect, the courtesy of declaring war); lands to which, in great part, the Hapsburgs had legitimate title. So, this was hardly the aquisition of "one nation's land...by conquest" (In any case, at that date very few territorial boundaries were defined by 'national' identity and certainly not in the Danube plains, or Italy for that matter).

              So your comparison does not bear out at all. I should be interested if you can find any thing close to an exact parallel in Napoleon's aquisitions, annexations, or what-have-you.

              Legitimacy in these matters was fairly clear. The consequences may not have been universally popular, happy or of longstanding, but aquisition of land by treaty or through dynastic connection was an entirely legitimate process in international relations, although of course, as we know, there could be challenges and disputes.

              As far as the views of residents were concerned, that was for a later age.

              My entire point has been to make comparisons. Napoleon grabbed land, but so did all of the other European powers. There was nothing unique about Napoleon doing so, he was just better at it.

              The legitimacy of the "recovery" is entirely a subjective conclusion.
              In either case, the victorious nation took ("grabbed" ) land. Calling it legitimate or a recovery isn't really relevant and seems to be an effort to justify the act rather than admit that it remains "exactly" the same thing.
              Italy was not Austrian and yet, the Austrians happily "grabbed" or "recovered" Italian lands.

              Napoleon also acquired land by treaty. He always had a treaty. Why would his doing so following a successful war be illegitimate, but legitimate when the Austrians do it?
              They are both the same thing.
              Avatar is General Gerard, courtesy of Zouave.

              Churchill to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.

              Comment


              • #52
                It is certainly easier not to let mere detail obstruct opinions. The observations you make are now so vague and reductive as to make further discussion fruitless but, on my way to the exit, I feel it is worth pointing out that at this juncture in history, the national units you refer to did not exist: Italy was not Austrian but neither was it Italian, Germany was not German and France was barely French. Austria was, by contrast, a good deal more than Austrian. You perspective seems to be that of the "Risk' game board. The situation was somewhat more complex and nuanced.

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