10 Significance of The Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo ( June 18, 1815 ) lasted for about 9 hours. It was a battle between the French Army and the coalition of European Armies.

British and Prussian Army was standing against the French Army in the battle of Waterloo. Though the number of the army was more on the French side, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated.

The battle has a profound impact on world history. The events of the bloody day brought a massive change in the course of history.

Waterloo is considered to have ended the 12 years long Napoleonic Wars formed the groundwork for UN – NATO, developed the British empire, and indicated the start of Nazism and World War II.

Here are the 10 major significance of the Battle of Waterloo.

10. Waterloo: The groundwork for Nato and the United Nations

members of NATO

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which is an alliance of military primarily established against the Soviet Union and now is against Russia.  

UN, the United Nations, is a forum established for the diplomatic negotiations amongst the member states.

During the War at Waterloo, the armies were mostly Dutch, Belgian, German duchies and only 36% were British. 

Waterloo has laid the groundwork for the United Nations and NATO. 

It was considered as the first NATO operation as the Prussian army working there to defeat the French were with the forces of Wellington.

The United Nations was mentioned in the Waterloo passage of the poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, written by Lord Byron.

9. The development of the British Empire

British Empire Largest Empire

Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo appeared to be lucky for the British. Before this battle, the British had no intention to build a powerful empire which would result in annoying people of the world.

Waterloo was considered as the national triumph by the British. It was the official glorification of values of British which was worth of commemoration in poems, songs, stations, and street music.

The victory of the British at the battle of Waterloo positioned Great Britain favourably strengthening its ambitions and creating the prosperous economic condition which led to being the Victorian era.

After defeating Napolean, British commanded a leading role in the negotiations of peace and got control over a few global territories( Tobago, Martinique, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the Dutch East Indies). The expansion led to the development of the British empire.

8. Inspired series of famous quotes

Inspired series of famous quotes

The Battle of Waterloo was the inspiration for numerous famous quotes. Quotes that are still in use were inspired during and after the battle of Waterloo.

Quote quotes by Napoleon Bonaparte “ Sirs, if it were not for that red spot, I would have conquered the world.” is one the most famous ones. Other notable quotes:

  • “ It has been a damned nice thing, the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.” by Wellington
  • “His presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men.” by Wellington description of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • “ The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” By George Orwell
  • “Waterloo is not a battle; it is the changing face of the universe.” by Victor Hugo. He is the author of Les Miserables.

7. Creation of a generation of peace

A moment of peace for french revolution

Battle of Waterloo, which was fought before 200 years, turned the world upside down. It is one of the remarkable events of Europe and world history.

Waterloo brought an end to the bloody Napoleonic Wars, which led to the death of about 6 million people. It was not the best battle for both Napoleon and Wellington as per their strategic prowess.

Wellington told his men, if anyone survives and repels the French, they will be guaranteed a generation of peace. It did happen as he had spoken.

With the defeat of Napoleon, the Seventh Coalition laid the foundation for a unified Europe and the death toll was minimized, which brought in the generation of peace. 

6. End of Napoleonic Wars

The Rule of Napoleon Bonaparte

From the time of the reign of Napoleon, France had been gaining victory over numerous territories of Europe, Northern Africa, and many other parts of the world.

Napoleon had once been defeated and escaped exile in Elba. He then prepared his military in a campaign, ‘the Hundred Days’, with an aspiration course. Then led Armee du Nord into battle with the Seventh Coalition. 

Napoleonic Wars of about 12 years(1803 -1815) took lives of about 6 million people. The French became dominant and was able to conquer most of Europe. 

In the battle of Waterloo, the British and Prussians defeated Napoleon’s forces. Napoleon rode away with tears from this battle.

Napoleonic Wars came to an end due to the battle of Waterloo.

5. Foundations for the emergence of the World’s superpower by the U.S

French Army and Prussian-British Army on 18th June 1815.

The battle of Waterloo was between the French Army and Prussian-British Army on 18th June 1815. 

Due to the war, the European Industries were disrupted, and then the demand shifted from European products to American products. American Product’s order went up massively during the time of Napoleonic wars.

America was selling its good neutrally on both sides. So, the economic power of the U.S started emerging.

Wars between the French and British led to blockades and navies, which kept on affecting and disrupting the trade. These disruptions resulted in need of American cotton and grain.

4. Indicated an age of German Nationalism led to World War II

Prussian Army

After returning to the power in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte decided to battle against the coalition of European Armies which was formed against him.

The Prussian army was led by Fled Marshal Gebhard and British Army led by Field Marshal.

The contribution of the Prussian Army to gain victory over the French Army at Waterloo was kept in the mythology of the Prussian state.

The mythology played a vital role in forming the new German Empire(1870) by creating nationalism. Nationalism was turned into hyper-nationalism and with it gave birth to the Nazi party.

The rise of the Nazi party, the German hyper-nationalism party, led to the Third Reich and World War II.

3. Caused radical changes in France

Battle of Waterloo bring radical changes in France and French attitudes.

The most remarkable achievement of the battle of Waterloo is to bring radical changes in France and French attitudes.

Before this battle, French people were in full support of the ambitions of Napoleon to dominate Europe and the hunger for ‘La Gloire.’

During the battle, France was the enemy for the coalition of European Armies. All other nations were in favour to make France repay for their deprivations.

All the French territories were taken from France, and it was to return to its original border like in 1790.

France realized that it had lost the battle but on the brighter side had earned the national unity. It made Louis easier to make amendments and establish a stable government for the country.

2. Waterloo immersed in popular culture

Battle of Waterloo

The battle of Waterloo influenced the different aspects of life; one of them was the popular cultural aspect.

After the battle, about 46 cities and towns around the world are named Waterloo. Many cities or towns are found in the ex-colonies and the United States of America. Even the pubs, train stations, bridges are named after it.

The battle has also inspired many poets, filmmakers, authors and almost all the book stores have books about the battle. Various songs and tunes have been composed as an inspirational piece.

Though the day of battle brought a lot of pain and suffering, it left an inspirational footprint for the world. It has been immersed all around the world in popular culture.

1. Implies the future of the European Union

Implies the future of the European Union

Napoleon’s intention during the war was to dominate the whole of Europe and built a single state in Europe which would come under his control.

The battle of Waterloo was not just the battle of the military but a battle between the thoughts and concepts of the supranational state and the nation-state.

Prussian and British were fighting against the intention of Napoleon Bonaparte. They did not want Napoleon to take control of Europe.

Victory over Napoleon meant the triumph over the nation-state and the concept of imposing power on Europe. 

With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, the concept of unification gained victory. So, it implies the future of the European Union.

Conclusion:

Battle of Waterloo took place before 200 years, but its impacts are still found the modern history.

Now, the battle day is celebrated in Europe by different state heads and the ancestors of protagonists as the anniversary.

Waterloo brought vital changes in history by ending the bloody wars of Napoleon, where millions of people were dying.

It managed to bring peace in the world, various cultural aspects, radical changes, and Unity in a few nations.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "10 Significance of The Battle of Waterloo," in HistoryTen, November 19, 2019, https://historyten.com/french-revolution/battle-waterloo-significance/.
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