Power is an aphrodisiac. Many pursue it, but not all can have it, and those who do manage to get their hands on it often guard it jealously. However, power sometimes doesn’t last nearly as long as its wielders wish, and can end all too soon, sometimes in dramatic ways. Take the prime minister who ruled for only a few minutes, or the Napoleon who reigned as emperor for only a couple of days. Below are twenty-five things about those and other short, abruptly ended, and dramatically ended stints of power.
The Other, Other, Napoleon’s Short Stint in Power
Just about everybody knows of Napoleon Bonaparte, who among many things in an action-packed life, reigned over France and much of Europe as Emperor Napoleon I from 1804 to 1814. And many know of Emperor Napoleon III, his nephew who sat on the imperial throne from 1852 to 1870. But if there is a Napoleon I and a Napoleon III, there must have been a Napoleon II, right? Who was he, and whatever happened to him? There actually was an Emperor Napoleon II, born Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. The son of the most famous Bonaparte, this Napoleon was born in 1811, and his reign as emperor was incredibly brief: a mere two days.
His father dominated Europe for years, but things went downhill for him after his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. The rest of Europe ganged up on him, his allies deserted him, and eventually, his enemies occupied Paris, and his army refused to fight anymore. On April 4th, 1814, Napoleon abdicated in favor of his three-year-old son, who thus became Emperor Napoleon II. However, his enemies were not having it. So on April 6th, Napoleon made another abdication, in which he renounced the French throne not only on his own behalf, but that of his descendants as well. The toddler Napoleon II was taken to Vienna by his mother Marie Louise of Austria, daughter of Francis II, Emperor of Austria. Given an Austrian title, Duke of Reichstadt, he spent most of his life in Vienna, and died of tuberculosis at age twenty-one in 1832.