My Belief in the Virilising of Europe. We owe it to Napoleon (and not at all to the French Revolution, which had in view the "fraternity" of the nations, and the florid interchange of good graces among people generally) that several warlike centuries, which have not had their like in past history, may now follow one another - in short, that we have entered upon the classical age of war, war at the same time scientific and popular, on the grandest scale (as regards means, talents and discipline), to which all coming millenniums will look back with envy and awe as a work of perfection: - for the national movement out of which this martial glory springs, is only the counter-shock against Napoleon, and would not have existed without him. To him, consequently, one will one day be able to attribute the fact that man in Europe has again got the upper hand of the merchant and the Philistine; perhaps even of "woman" also, who has become pampered owing to Christianity and the extravagant spirit of the eighteenth century, and still more owing to "modern ideas." Napoleon, who saw in modern ideas, and accordingly in civilisation, something like a personal enemy, has by this hostility proved himself one of the greatest continuators of the Renaissance: he has brought to the surface a whole block of the ancient character, the decisive block perhaps, the block of granite. And who knows but that this block of ancient character will in the end get the upper hand of the national movement, and will have to make itself in a positive sense the heir and continuator of Napoleon: - who, as one knows, wanted one Europe, which was to be mistress of the world.

Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science
Book V - Aphorism # 362

« Prev - Random - Next »