• Short Summary

    JUNE 18TH, 1965, IS THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO. IN THIS BATTLE,?

  • Description

    JUNE 18TH, 1965, IS THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO. IN THIS BATTLE, ON JUNE 18TH, 1815, BRITISH, HANOVERIAN, DUTCH AND BELGIAN TROOPS, COMMANDED BY THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, AND PRUSSIAN TROOPS UNDER THE COMMAND OF MARSHAL BLUCHER, DEFEATED THE LAST ARMY RAISED BY THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON I OF FRANCE. NAPOLEON HIMSELF ESCAPED TO WESTERN FRANCE, EMBARKED ON A BRITISH SHIP, AND WAS EVENTUALLY TAKEN TO HIS FINAL EXILE ON ST. HELENA.

    THE BATTLEFIELD, SOME 12 MILES (20 KMS) SOUTH OF BRUSSELS, IS VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED TODAY. BUT MUSEUMS, WAXWORKS, PANORAMA PICTURES IN THE NEARBY TOWN OF MONT ST. JEAN AND IN VILLAGES AND FARMHOUSES ENABLE THE TOURIST TO TRACE ITS COURSE.

    FILM SHOWS SOME OF THESE PICTURES OF THE BATTLE; NAPOLEON'S HEADQUARTERS, WITH WAXWORK MODELS OF THE EMPEROR; THE SCENE OF THE FIRST CLASH AT QUATRE BRAS, AND KEY POINTS ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF WATERLOO ITSELF, AS THEY ARE TODAY; AND THE COMMEMORATIVE MOUND, THE "BUTTE DU LION", THE PORTRAIT OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON INCLUDED IN THE FILM IS BY GOYA - RECENTLY RECOVERED BY THE BRITISH NATIONAL GALLERY AFTER BEING STOLEN FOUR YEARS AGO.

    SYNOPSIS: THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO - A SINGLE DAY'S FIGHTING IN THE FIELDS OF BELGIUM THAT PUT AN END TO THE CAREER OF ONE OF THE GREATEST MILITARY GENIUSES OF ALL TIME - NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, EMPEROR OF FRANCE. IT HAPPENED JUST 150 YEARS AGO - ON JUNE 18TH, 1815, AND COST THE LIVES OF MORE THAN SIXTY THOUSAND MEN: FRENCHMEN ON THE ONE SIDE, BRITISH, GERMANS, BELGIANS AND DUTCH ON THE OTHER. THESE PANORAMIC PICTURES ARE ON VIEW AT A MUSEUM NEAR THE BATTLEFIELD.

    NAPOLEON SPENT THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BATTLE IN THIS FARMHOUSE AT LE CAILLOU. AFTER HIS RETURN FROM EXILE ON ELBA AND HIS TRIUMPHANT RE-ENTRY INTO PARIS, HE HAD EVERYTHING AT STAKE IN THIS CLASH WITH THE ALLIANCE THAT HAD FOUGHT HIM FOR NEARLY TWENTY YEARS.

    RELICS OF HIS STAY ARE STILL PRESERVED IN THE FARMHOUSE - HIS GREEN-CANOPIED CAMP BED AND THE TELESCOPE THROUGH WHICH HE WATCHED THE ARRIVAL OF THE PRUSSIAN FORCES THAT FINALLY SEALED HIS FATE. BUT AS HE MOVED HIS ARMY OF A HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND UP INTO BELGIUM, THE INITIATIVE WAS HIS. HIS ENEMIES WERE SPREAD OVER 90 MILES. HE STRUCK AT THE HINGE BETWEEN THEM.

    LORRIES NOW THUNDER PAST THE CROSS-ROADS OF QUATRE BRAS WHERE THE FIRST CLASH CAME ON JUNE 16TH. BRITISH FORCES HELD ON HERE - BUT A FEW MILES SOUTH-EAST, THE PRUSSIANS WERE BEATEN AT LIGNY, LEAVING QUATRE BRAS UNTENABLE. MARSHAL NEY ALLOWED THE BRITISH TO SLIP AWAY. NAPOLEON TOLD HIM: "YOU HAVE RUINED FRANCE".

    THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON HAD MADE HIS REPUTATION IN VICTORIES OVER THE FRENCH IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL. BUT THIS WAS THE ONLY TIME THE TWO COMMANDERS MET IN DIRECT CONFLICT.

    AFTER THE PRUSSIAN RETREAT AT LIGNY, WELLINGTON FELL BACK TO PREPARED POSITIONS IN FRONT OF THE LITTLE TOWN OF MONT ST. JEAN, WHERE THE PRUSSIANS HAD PROMISED TO RE-FORM AND JOIN HIM. IT WAS A POSITION OF THE KIND HE HAD OFTEN EXPLOITED IN THE PENINSULA - A SHELTERING RIDGE SCREENED THE BULK OF HIS ARMY FROM THE OPPOSING GUNS. BUT HE MISSED HIS SEASONED PENINSULAR TROOPS, MANY NOW DISBANDED OR DESPATCHED TO THE UNITED STATES.

    FOR TEN HOURS THE BATTLE RAGED - ROUND HOUGOUMONT IN THE WEST, LA HAYE SAINTE IN THE CENTRE. NAPOLEON'S CAVALRY CHARGES FAILED AGAIN AND AGAIN TO BREAK WELLINGTON'S INFANTRY SQUARES. BY 6 O'CLOCK NAPOLEON HAD GAINED HIS FIRST IMPORTANT ADVANTAGE: LA HAYE SAINTE FELL. WELLINGTON'S TROOPS WERE EXHAUSTED. BUT AT THAT CRITICAL MOMENT BLUCHER'S PRUSSIANS ARRIVED AND TURNED THE SCALE. TWO HOURS LATER, IT WAS ALL OVER.

    COACHLOADS OF TOURISTS NOW MAKE THE 12-MILE JOURNEY FROM BRUSSELS DOWN THE ROAD WHERE WELLINGTON GALLOPED WITH HIS OFFICERS TO QUATRE BRAS AFTER A GRAND CEREMONIAL BALL. THE VILLAGES ARE FULL OF MUSEUMS AND SOUVENIRS; THE BATTLEFIELD ITSELF ALMOST UNCHANGED.

    ONLY THE VAST ARTIFICIAL MOUND AT MONT ST. JEAN IS NEW - THE EARTH CARRIED UP BY AN ARMY OF WOMEN FROM LIEGE TO COMMEMORATE THE BATTLE. FROM THE TOP, THE VISITOR CAN SEE THE PLACE WHERE AND EPOCH ENDED - THE LAST BLOW IN TWO DECADES OF WAR BETWEEN THE GREAT POWERS. BUT THE BATTLE ITSELF - WELLINGTON IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID - WAS "THE NEAREST-RUN THING YOU EVER SAW IN YOUR LIFE".

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA37FDKX9UU9YL9H2ERLLT7EQH2
    Media URN:
    VLVA37FDKX9UU9YL9H2ERLLT7EQH2
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    08/06/1965
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:23:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment