Wellington's Waterloo: A Model Victory of Deceit The battle of Waterloo stopped Napoleon and made a hero of the Duke of Wellington. But historian Peter Hofschroer tells Liane Hansen that a scale model of the battle made by one Lt. William Siborne shows how Wellington supressed key details, including the key role of Prussian forces.
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Wellington's Waterloo: A Model Victory of Deceit

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Wellington's Waterloo: A Model Victory of Deceit

Wellington's Waterloo: A Model Victory of Deceit

Wellington's Waterloo: A Model Victory of Deceit

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4707924/4708139" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A detail of Siborne's model. Courtesy of Brian Siborne hide caption

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Courtesy of Brian Siborne

A detail of Siborne's model.

Courtesy of Brian Siborne

The only known portrait of William Siborne, showing him at age 36. Courtesy of Brian Siborne hide caption

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Courtesy of Brian Siborne

Nearly 200 years of history tells us that the battle of Waterloo was a stunning victory for Britain's Duke of Wellington and a crushing defeat for France's Napoleon Bonaparte.

But Wellington's report on the battle downplayed the role of Prussian regiments in the allied army that confronted Napoleon. With Napoleon defeated, there were spoils of war to share, and Wellington wanted to limit Prussia's bargaining power.

Years later, a young officer in the British Army decided to build a model of the Battle of Waterloo. The story of Lt. William Siborne's model... and how his search for the facts wound up ruining him... is an intricate tale told by historian Peter Hofschroer in Wellington's Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker and the Secret of Waterloo.

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