Napoleon Bonaparte's Struggle for Identity and Rise to Power

TLDR Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican, flees to France to avoid being killed and quickly rises through the ranks of the French army, distinguishing himself with his strategic thinking and work ethic. He solidifies his position as the military governor of Paris, forms a relationship with Josephine, and plans a two-pronged attack on Austria.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Napoleon Bonaparte's relationship with Josephine and his struggle to reconcile his Corsican identity with his commitment to France are explored in this episode.
05:12 Napoleon Bonaparte is arrested in Corsica and realizes that he and his family must flee the island to avoid being killed, ultimately setting sail for France.
09:26 Napoleon Bonaparte, upon arriving in France from Corsica, publishes a Jacobin tract and becomes associated with the army sent to recapture Toulon, where he is promoted to replace the wounded artillery officer in charge.
13:55 Napoleon distinguishes himself at Toulon by recognizing the strategic importance of seizing the forts and sourcing large quantities of artillery, and impresses his superior officers with his charisma, attention to detail, and work ethic.
18:19 Napoleon distinguishes himself at Toulon and leads his men to victory, but is shocked and revolted by the atrocities committed by the Revolutionary Armies, and narrowly avoids being executed during the turn against the extremists on the Committee of Public Safety.
22:43 Napoleon loses a potential patron in Augustin Robespierre and spends time in the south of France, where he gets engaged to Eugène Desiree Clary, while Barras becomes a key figure in the corrupt Directory regime in Paris.
26:52 Napoleon is initially unsure of his future and spends time writing a novel and contemplating going to Constantinople or India, but fate intervenes when he is called upon by Paul Barras to help suppress a revolt in Paris.
31:15 Napoleon suppresses the mob in Paris using cannons and Grape Shot, effectively ending their role in French politics and solidifying his position as the military governor of Paris.
35:29 Napoleon positions his cronies in new roles, establishes himself as a celebrity, and enforces a monopoly of violence in Paris, while also forming a relationship with Josephine, a woman with a tumultuous past.
39:53 Napoleon becomes obsessed with Josephine, despite her initial disinterest, and plans a two-pronged attack on Austria through Germany and Italy.
44:13 Napoleon and Josephine attempt to get married, but the ceremony is invalid, and they lie about their ages; however, Napoleon gives Josephine a wedding gift and changes the spelling of his name to Bonaparte, signifying his commitment to France and his role as a war hero.
Categories: History

Browse more History