Quote: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon (attrib Napoleon)
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 23 23:07:58 UTC 2012
Perhaps Jon Lighter or another list member can help with a quotation
attributed to Napoleon that I have been asked to explore. Here is an
instance in a book of military quotations of variable accuracy:
Cite: 1966, "Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations" edited by
Robert Debs Heinl, Category: Awards, Quote Page 22, Column 2, United
States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland. (Verified on paper)
A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.
Napoleon I: To the Captain, HMS Bellerophon, 15 July 1815
I have not performed many searches yet. Here is a similar type of
quotation many years after the death of Napoleon.
Cite: 1916, Potential Russia by Richard Washburn Child, Quote Page 6,
E. P. Dutton and Company, New York. (Google Books full view)
And whether we would prefer to believe it or not, war teaches man that
he is willing to die for a bit of colored ribbon, if he believes,
rightly or wrongly, that that bit of ribbon represents the good of his
The Legion of Honour was established by Napoleon Bonaparte. H. G.
Wells writing in "The Outline of History" referred to Napoleon and
bits of ribbon.
Cite: 1921, The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and
Mankind by H. G, Wells, Edition 3, Section: The Career of Napoleon
Bonaparte, Quote Page 900, The MacMillan Company, New York. (Google
Books full view)
Another great achievement which marks his imaginative scope and his
estimate of human nature was the institution of the Legion of Honour,
a scheme for decorating Frenchmen with bits of ribbon which was
admirably calculated to divert ambitious men from subversive
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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