Portrait of a Terrorist: Stefan Zweig on Joseph Fouché

16.09.2016 • Politics and War

From Bill’s Book Club by Elizabeth Bonner (USA) – The French Revolution threw open a door for Joseph Fouché, and he walked through it to commit unforgettable crimes. He was not alone.

But unlike the “ordinary men” brought to life during the violent birth and death of the French Revolution – similar to those “ordinary” policemen who slaughtered their way through Polish villages under the Third Reich – Fouché was extraordinary.

Fouché’s bloody acts were the prelude to a career that led him to the summit of power in post-Revolutionary France. Destroyer of Robespierre, rival of Napoleon, maker of kings, Fouché was a man of destiny like few others. He marked the future as well as his own time.

As the consummate “homme politique” of the Revolution, Fouché created a security apparatus for France that prefigured the secret police of 20th century totalitarian regimes and those of our own 21st century democracies.

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