Napoleon Bonaparte Quotations

Napoleon Bonaparte

A general-in-chief should ask himself frequently in the day, What should I do if the enemy's army appeared now in my front, or on my right, or on my left? If he has any difficulty answering these questions he is ill posted, and should seek to remedy it.

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.

If I must have an opponent, let it be a coalition.

Imagination rules the world.

It is axiomatic in the art of war that the side which remains behind its fortified line is always defeated.

It is not by whining that one carries out the job of king.

It requires more courage to suffer than to die.

Machiavelli is right: one always must live with one's friends with the idea that they may turn into one's enemies. He should have said, with everyone.

Men take only their needs into consideration -- never their abilities.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

The only one who is wiser than anyone is everyone.

There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.

The same consequences which have uniformly attended long discussions and councils of war will follow at all times. They will terminate in the adoption of the worst course, which in war is always the most timid, or, if you will, the most prudent. The only true wisdom in a general is determined courage.

Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far... I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me.

War consists of nothing but accidents, and a commander should never overlook anything that might enable him to exploit these accidents. The vulgar would call this luck, but in fact it is the characteristic of genius.

What, sir! You would make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her decks? I pray you excuse me. I have no time to listen to such nonsense. (to Robert Fulton)