Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (28 September 2017, 8 Tishrei, 5778)
Was Napoleon as bad as Hitler?
Napoleon came to power as result of the French Revolution.
Â Prior to the Revolution, the French Monarchy had attempted reforms that were unequal in their application, i.e. they did not better the lot of enough of the people.
Â They did however bear some fruits that after the French Revolution society benefited from.Â
Â The reforms however were insufficient in themselves and too slow in taking effect.
Â The French revolted, killed the monarch, slaughtered or exiled the aristocrats and anyone else who hankered for the old prejudicial class-conscious ways.
Â All of Europe was afraid of French Revolutionary influence. They went to war against her.Â
Â The French beat them back. Instead of an aristocracy they instituted a meritocracy. Napoleon was a foreigner from a low Middle-Class family in Corsica. He joined the French Army and through merit got to the top of it.
Â He then took over the government. He made himself Emperor but in his system Napoleon incorporated all the basic reforms of the French Revolution.
Â Napoleon was prejudiced against Jews and wanted them to assimilate. Nevertheless everywhere Napoleon conquered Jews were emancipated.
Â Every country that Napoleon took over was better for it.
Â Basic human rights were generally respected everywhere.Â
Â Economic progress was made, scientific advancements and attitudes encouraged, legal systems rationalized in all countries of occupation.
Â The slogan of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" was respected in every place.Â
Â Napoleon however overreached himself, under-estimated the British, and failed to come to an accommodation with them.
Â He was too rational for his own good.
Hitler came to power because the Germans wanted order and a respite from the street violence the thugs of Hitler himself were causing.
Â The Germans were also angry for having lost the First World War and blamed the Jews for it.
Â They also wished to kill and plunder the Jews and everyone else around them and reduce as much of the world as possible to servitude.
Â Hitler embodied their wishes.
Â Everywhere Hitler went Jews were demeaned, tormented and exterminated either in that order or all at once.
Â In the world of Hitler the State existed for the sake of organized violence for its own sake to be visited on the vulnerable. Being Jewish was a crime. So too, just being vulnerable and weak was conceptually punishable by death.
Â Hitler overreached himself partly because the internal dynamics of Germanic Frenzy once released could no longer be held back.