Most of us don’t know how many of the things we take for granted in everyday life were introduced by Napoleon.
“In the beginning was Napoleon!” Even though not everybody may want to support the founding myth of present day Europe, this saying among historians show the extent of Napoleon’s political and creative power. And it also intimates that this man still has great relevance today. Most of us just don’t know how many things we take for granted in everyday life were introduced by Napoleon. The metric system, telegraphy, general conscription, marriage outside one’s rank, divorce, the roots of modern European legislation – just to name a few. Napoleon’s achievements changed lives then. For the first time, the Emperor’s rise and fall is shown exclusively from the point of view of the citizens of his time. We examine what life was like in Europe from 1799 until 1815, from the end of the French Revolution until Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig 1813 and Waterloo 1815, while keeping a global perspective in mind. The core of each episode are first hand accounts of Napoleon’s contemporaries: soldiers, farmers, merchants and housewives, everyday people. Our sources are authentic historical material, with often surprising anecdotes, telling of big and small events that happened under Napoleon’s reign. We also found diaries, letters and court documents. These don’t speak of politics and alliances but about blood and tears, tyranny and hunger, about joy and freedom – and so does “Life under Napoleon”.
Bettina Offermann | firstname.lastname@example.org
A co-production by
LOOKSfilm, MDR, WDR, Arte
Elmar Bartlmae, Steffen Schneider