Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' and UKIP

Leo Tolstoy - UKIP supporter?
Ahead of BBC Radio 4's whole New Year's Day adaptation of 'War and Peace' tomorrow, it is worth reminding ourselves that Leo Tolstoy was passionately opposed to Napoleon's 'European Project', as he made clear in Book Ten, chapter 38 of 'War and Peace' where Napoleon writes:

'The Russian war should have been the most popular war of modern
times: it was a war of good sense, for real interests, for the
tranquillity and security of all; it was purely pacific and
It was a war for a great cause, the end of uncertainties and the
beginning of security. A new horizon and new labors were opening
out, full of well-being and prosperity for all. The European system
was already founded; all that remained was to organize it.
Satisfied on these great points and with tranquility everywhere, I
too should have had my Congress and my Holy Alliance. Those ideas were
stolen from me. In that reunion of great sovereigns we should have
discussed our interests like one family, and have rendered account
to the peoples as clerk to master.
Europe would in this way soon have been, in fact, but one people,
and anyone who traveled anywhere would have found himself always in
the common fatherland. I should have demanded the freedom of all
navigable rivers for everybody, that the seas should be common to all,
and that the great standing armies should be reduced henceforth to
mere guards for the sovereigns.
On returning to France, to the bosom of the great, strong,
magnificent, peaceful, and glorious fatherland, I should have
proclaimed her frontiers immutable; all future wars purely
defensive, all aggrandizement antinational. I should have associated
my son in the Empire; my dictatorship would have been finished, and
his constitutional reign would have begun.'  and so on...