I was doing a bit of research on some French related history and the following made me smile so I thought I would share it.
I don’t often write on French history (except for WW1 or my trips to Paris) because there are people who are so much more knowledgeable than myself. However I thought I would make an exception for a week.
Following his near 10 month exile on the island of Elba, Napoleon was itching to get back to France as the peace treaty known as The Congress of Vienna threatened to bring war and back-stabbing amongst the continental European powers. With many of his former army being released as prisoners by Great Britain and Prussia, Napoleon theorised that he would have a ready-made army ready to flock to his cause.
With the Royal Navy and French royalist guard ships temporarily diverted, Napoleon fled his island prison with just 1,000 men and during his long and largely peaceful march to Paris, his small band of men became an army.
The French newspapers which, in 1815, were subject to the censor, announced the departure of Bonaparte from Elba, his progress through France, and his entry into Paris in the following ever evolving manner:
— 9th March, the Anthropophagus has quitted his den
— 10th, the Corsican Ogre has landed at Cape Juan
— 11th, the Tiger has arrived at Gap
— 12th, the Monster slept at Grenoble
— 13th, the Tyrant has passed through Lyons
— 14th, the Usurper is directing his steps towards Dijon, but the brave and loyal Burgundians have risen en masse and surrounded him on all sides
— 18th, Bonaparte is only sixty leagues from the capital; he has been fortunate enough to escape the hands of his pursuers
— 19th, Bonaparte is advancing with rapid steps, but he will never enter Paris
— 20th, Napoleon will, tomorrow, be under our ramparts
— 21st, the Emperor is at Fontainbleau
— 22nd, His Imperial and Royal Majesty, yesterday evening, arrived at the Tuileries, amidst the joyful acclamations of his devoted and faithful subjects.
Similar reporting have happened through the years. I remember winning a prize in a national newspaper nearly 20 years ago when I wrote a fake headline in the fashion of the Iraqi Information Minister who with the aid of several packets of cigarettes a day, put up a splendid show of epic denial of Allied forces getting ever closer to Baghdad.