Foreword by Ben Weider
PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL NAPOLEONIC SOCIETY
Ben Weider, President of the
International Napoleonic Society
“For what could I be attacked that a historian cannot defend me on?… The facts speak for themselves. They shine like the sun…” Napoleon on Saint Helena
Napoleon’s reputation has fluctuated between a “golden myth” and a “black legend” in the past two centuries. In other words, Napoleonic historiography has been based more on passion than reason.
Today, the “black legend” is making an insidious comeback in the form of abundant, falsely objective historical literature.
Writers claiming to be historians too often confuse cause with effect and mix up the past with the present, yielding to their personal aversion to Napoleon when writing about him. Peremptory assertions are passed off as fact, foregone conclusions replace intellectual rigor and malicious prejudice is presented as revealed truth.
Making their living on this profitable stock-in-trade, a few full-of-themselves “mandarins”cleverly impose their impressive erudition on us, which, brilliant as it is, does not deserve to be called History. But, by copying so much from one another and repeatedly bombarding us with their pernicious fantasies, these mentors and theirimitators are forging a sort of unreal History that is in the process of becoming official.
The primary purpose of the International Napoleonic Society is to correct the lies and slanders contaminating Napoleon’s history and staining his memory.
With the “Duke of Enghien Affair”, General Michel Franceschi (ret.), an active member of our society, inaugurates a series of chronicles to achieve just that. The INS is going to publish them in print form or on its website. The choice of this first article is not random. The usual depiction of the Duke of Enghien’s death as a summary execution is the most perverse attack on Napoleon, for it has to do with the very depths of his conscience.
General Franceschi’s thorough investigation and convincing demonstration at last puts this odious falsification of history to rest.
If Napoleon were alive he would no doubt affectionately pinch his ear.
General Michel Franceschi (ret.)
Born in Corsica in 1930, General Franceschi began his military career at the Saint-Cyr Officers’ Academy in 1951 and retired in 1990 with the rank of lieutenant general (four stars).
He graduated from the École d’État-Major (General Staff School) and the École Supérieure de Guerre (War Academy), and served mainly with the Marine Parachute Troops (one component of formerly colonial troops), most of the time far from general staffs and offices.
General Franceschi spent most of his career as a commanding officer with field duties, in particular:
. The commanding officer of a parachute company operating in Algeria from 1958 to 1960.
. The commanding officer of the 1st Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, a special forces unit, from 1976 to 1978.
. The Superior Commander of the Armed Forces in New Caledonia from 1984 to 1988, during the events that shook the territory.
General Franceschi was long deployed outside France. He spent two years in Algeria, three in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), five in Senegal, three in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) and four in the Pacific.
His interest in Napoleon stems from his Corsican roots. Later, his study of military history at the General Staff School and War Academy further fueled his fascination.
General Franceschi’s many years of research have taught him that bad historians, in particular French ones, have falsified Napoleon’s history. Since retiring, he has spent his spare time trying to rehabilitate Napoleon’s memory. His writings, including a forthcoming book, are the fruit of long years of research and deep thought.
General Franceschi occupies the functions of Special Historical Consultant and Member of the Literary Committee of the International Napoleonic Society (INS). Included on his Web Site is the column «Napoleonic Chronicles», which the INS prints regularly.
General Franceschi has arranged to have appear two essays in the «Éditions Pygmalion - Gérard Watelet».
- in 1998: «La Démocratie Massacrée - Nouvelle Calédonie Témoignage».
- in 2001: «Corse, la voix de la majorité silencieuse».