Dear Quote Investigator: ideal logistics are crucial to any type of successful military campaign. The prestige of food supply is emphasize in a popular aphorism. Here are four versions:

An military marches on its stomach.An military marches top top its belly.An army travels ~ above its stomach.An military goes ~ above its belly.

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This saying has actually been ascribed come the famed leaders Napoleon Bonaparte and also Frederick the Great. Would certainly you please check out this topic?

Quote Investigator: The earliest strong match well-known to QI appeared in the 1858 work “History the Friedrich the Second, called Frederick the Great” through the influential philosopher, essayist, and also historian cutting board Carlyle. The saying occurred in the summary of an unsuccessful army endeavor. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

They were stronger than Turk and Saracen, however not 보다 Hunger and also Disease. Leader did not know then, together our tiny Friend in ~ Berlin came to know, that “an Army, favor a serpent, go upon that is belly.”

The referent “little friend at Berlin” to be ambiguous, however a later on volume of this work-related by Carlyle clearly ascribed the adage come Frederick II, i.e., Frederick the Great.

Frederick II passed away in 1786 and Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821. An circumstances of the aphorism to be attributed to Frederick II through 1858 and to Bonaparte through 1862. In each situation the long hold-up reduced the credibility the the linkage.

Below are extr selected citations in chronological order.

Napoleon did do thematically associated remarks the were report (in translation) in the 1824 publication “Journal of the personal Life and also Conversations the the Emperor Napoleon at Saint Helena” by counting de ras Cases. One entry dated July 1816 explained an exchange in between Napoleon and also a child called Tristan that was seven or eight year old: 2

Tristan is an extremely idle. The confessed come the Emperor the he did not occupational every day. “Do you no eat every day?” said the Emperor come him; “Yes, Sire.” “Well, then, you ought to work-related every day; no one should eat that does not work.” “Oh! if the be the case, ns will job-related every day,” said the child, quickly. “Such is the affect of the belly,” claimed the Emperor, tapping that of tiny Tristan. “It is hunger that makes the world move.”

The creator that the book included the statement “The belly rules the world” in the section header. Also, the publication index contained the phrase “the belly governs the world”. These expressions described the general populace and were not dedicated to a army domain.

The topic of food in the military developed in a later volume of the “Journal of the exclusive Life and also Conversations that the Emperor Napoleon at Saint Helena”. Napoleon declared that he had considered a radical plan in which each soldier would have actually been offered a supply of corn come grind in a hand-mill. In addition, each soldier would have actually been compelled to roasted his very own bread: 3

I had long entertained the idea of together a change; however however good might have been my power, I must never have attempted to introduce it by force. There is no subordination v empty stomachs.

In 1849 a book around the coal trade in England attributed come Napoleon an circumstances of the saying in the 1824 book: 4

The beer question ever before returns. It would certainly be difficult to say just how much that the animosity that the nautical guys of Shields against Newcastle, and their consequent efforts to overturn the monopoly of the latter, has had actually its origin in the beer. “The world,” claimed Napoleon, “is administrate by its belly.”

On 1854 “The Apophthegms the Napoleon” by Joseph Leech consisted of the following: 5

There was not, however, always consistency in his dicta, for on one chance he said, “imagination administrate the world,” and also on another, it to be “the belly” the did so.

In 1858 cutting board Carlyle published a volume about Frederick the great containing the following as mentioned previously in this article:

. . . Together our small Friend at Berlin came to know, that “an Army, choose a serpent, goes upon that belly.”

In 1860 “Life the Andrew Jackson” through James Parton placed a remarks attributed to Frederick II, Marshal McMahon, and Napoleon adjacent to one another: 6

“An army, favor a serpent, goes upon that is belly,” freder of Prussia provided to say. “Few men know,” Marshal McMahon is report to have remarked, after one of the so late Italian battles, “how vital it is in war for soldiers not to be kept waiting for your rations; and what large events rely upon one army’s not going into activity before that has had actually its coffee.” I have read somewhere the Napoleon, on being asked what a soldier many needed in war, answered, “A full belly and a good pair that shoes.”

In 1861 a brief piece in a Janesville, Wisconsin newspaper reprinted the indigenous attributed come Frederick II, Marshal McMahon, and Napoleon. The journalist erroneously referred come the author James Parton as “Mrs. Parton”: 7

Marshal McMahon says that large events depend upon one army’s no going into activity “till the has had its coffee.” us quote this words from Mrs. Parton, that adds that Napoleon says that what a soldier needs most is 2 things, “a complete belly and a pair that shoes”—and tells united state that Frederic supplied to say, “An army, prefer a serpent, go upon that belly.”

One crucial mechanism because that generating misattributions is based on the misreading of neighboring quotations. A reader occasionally inadvertently move the ascription the one statement to a adjacent statement. This might aid to explain the popular modern-day linkage the the adage come Napoleon.

In 1862 a newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts meeting the “belly” variation of the saying to Napoleon: 8

Napoleon stated an military marched top top its belly. Dismiss all incompetent and also hang every rascally commissaries, and decrease the variety of deaths in the military twenty-five per cent.

In 1862 thomas Carlyle released volume 7 that “History of Friedrich II the Prussia”, and he credited the adage to Frederick the Great: 9

The main army is to monitor under Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau tomorrow, Wednesday, “so soon as your loaves have actually come from Königsgrätz,” — because that “an army goes top top its belly,” claims Friedrich often.

In 1868 “Harper’s Pictorial history of the civil War” ascribed a variant to Napoleon: 10

The necessity of a lengthy halt after ~ Bragg’s retreat was as such inevitable; yet, strange as it may seem, basic Halleck, at Washington, not appreciating Napoleon’s maxim that “an military crawls ~ above its belly,” wondered and also chafed in ~ this delay, and also finally authorize a peremptory stimulate directing Rosecrans come advance, and report his progress daily to the war Department.

In 1869 “The Overland Monthly” the Francisco, California attributed one more phrasing come Napoleon and also suggested an different semantics: 11

Napoleon’s maxim, that an army travels ~ above its belly, was metaphorical; however long selection and repeating rifles have actually made it around true in a literal sense. Our dual lines of fight sought the shelter of the soil as soon as blood to be drawn.

In conclusion, cutting board Carlyle attributed Frederick the great with “an Army, prefer a serpent, go upon that is belly” in 1858. This was numerous years after ~ the leader’s death. In 1862 Napoleon Bonaparte received credit for “an army marched top top its belly”. This was likewise many years after his death. Perhaps future researchers will locate previously instances in English, German, or French.

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There is good evidence the Napoleon do a related basic remark: “It is hunger that provides the world move.” He also said of the army that “There is no subordination v empty stomachs”. This comments appeared circa 1816 in “Journal the the personal Life and also Conversations of the Emperor Napoleon in ~ Saint Helena”.

(Great many thanks to Fred Shapiro whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Special many thanks to Charles Doyle who situated the crucial 1858 citation and to Shapiro that gathered evidence that the phrase “little friend at Berlin” described Frederick the Great. Countless thanks to discussants Barbara Schmidt, Marisha Sullivan, john Cowan, Dan Goncharoff, Laurence Horn, T. F. Mills, and also Stephen Goranson. Goranson located the 1860 book by James Parton based on the text in the 1861 citation.)