Author(s): John Bierman
Napoleon III, the nephew of Napolean Bonaparte, was elected President of France in 1848 and three years later became Emperor. He was considered the arbiter of Europe and led his country into four major wars. His political techniques anticipated the Fascist dictators of the 1920s and 1930s, and included many characteristics which foreshadowed modern democratic politics. He also scandalized Europe with his numerous mistresses, who included Countess Castiglione, a young Italian spy who was known as the most beautiful woman in Europe, and Countess Walewska, the scheming wife of his own foreign minister. Fascism, and describes the Second Empire, a frenetic epoch in French history.