The Nazis Took Down the Statue of Napoleon’s Great Black General
Saturday, 4 July 2020
The bitterly divisive spectacle staged by President Trump in front of Mount Rushmore on Friday was powerful proof once again that icons of past heroes are social and political flashpoints in the present—not only in the U.S. but around the world. This is the first of three essays examining the often ambiguous and surprising history behind public monuments in Paris, in London, and in Hong Kong. PARIS—Some statues should be toppled. Some should be put back up. After the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, they tore down the bronze monument to Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose father was a French nobleman and whose mother was a slave in what is now Haiti. The general, who eschewed his aristocratic...
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