The Emperor’s Hat


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“That hat alone is worth twenty thousand men,” observed Wellington. True, the site of the Emperor energized the troops. “Here is the legendary thing,” mumbled Metternich, examining Napoleon’s head gear in 1815. He’s been a little disappointed. There was nothing unique about what he held in his hands. Napoleon took four of the same to Saint Helena, and from 1800 till 1813 went through 1200 of them; furthermore, the hat served in the army before, during, and after him. We would not exaggerate by stating that Napoleon was surrounded by the very same hats: everyone, that is everyone who escorted him, had one; and yet he invented the thing, at least by the way he wore it, which was precisely the opposite to the manner everyone else did. We could say that he put his baseball cap backwards, or rather 90°. This created that iconic silhouette, recognized by the army from a great distance; and the moment the soldiers saw their commander on the battle field, they were in a state of euphoria. And the enemy? In the end we are forced to give the provocative idea a little consideration: What if the enemy is right, and Napoleon could send his hat to win the battles?

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