John T.

asked • 02/19/15

Why is it often states that the dictatorship of Napoleon was a preview of the modern type dictatorship seen in the 20th century in Italy and Germany?

 This is a question I have for an Extra Credit question and It would really bring up my grade. 
This is about Napoleon III and how his dictatorship is similar to the ones of unified Germany and Italy.

1 Expert Answer

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Davis P. answered • 03/15/16

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John T.

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Might want to read the question fully in the future. "This is about Napoleon III and how his dictatorship is similar to the ones of unified Germany and Italy" (which weren't unified during Napoleon I) It's about Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte who held power after the Revolutions of 1848. On the surface, taking power out of turmoil would seem to be an obvious place to start the comparison between Napoleon III and the dictatorships of Germany and Italy. Germany's chaos post Great War are fairly well known and easy to find--economic strife, hatred towards the Versailles Treaty (1919) and a stab-in-the-back theory. Italy was denied some territory it was promised for its participation on the Allied side by Woodrow Wilson and Britain and France did not try to honor the secret deals made. Considering the costs of the war, especially in casualties, Italy also could be considered a hotbed of discontent. However, a closer look at the 1848 revolutions and how they affected France in particular shows that only superficially were conditions similar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=782P0YcOOOQ&t=25s The 1848 revolutions were liberal in character against an older order and the established order, the 'towers', prevailed with might over the 'squares' (the networks), which did not happen in Germany or Italy. After a few years, Napoleon III took more and more power and became more and more conservative. In this way, there is a clear similarity. Napoleon III was expansionist, played up the history of France and launched public works programs (like the famous Haussmann boulevards of Paris) all of which is in common with both Hitler and Mussolini. Ultimately Napoleon III lost his power when his country took a massive, decisive loss in a war which can be said for the other regimes in question as well. All in all, except on the surface, the case of Napoleon III, not surprisingly, is very different from Italy and Germany--two different countries in a world not only later in time, but after an as yet inestimable catastrophic historical event.
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