One of my favorite ways to engage students with content is to relay short anecdotes that help them better visualize people and events from history.
Tomorrow is the 204th anniversary of Napoleon entering Moscow with his troops as the retreating Russians set the city on fire. Napoleon found it was impossible to stay through the winter and soon began a disastrous retreat from Russia.
Prior to this, however, Napoleon had met with several officers from a captured Russian company. Rather than humbling themselves to the French Emperor and general, the men boldly declared that, (notwithstanding their present predicament) Russians were superior to the French in every way.
"We Russians fight for honor," an officer contemptuously explained. "You French fight only for gain!"
"You are quite right," Napoleon calmly replied. "Each fights for that which he does not possess."
Want some great resources to teach about Napoleon and his invasion of Russia? Check out my package of World History resources here! It gives you resources for every day of the school year!