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Lenin in his "About our revolution" cites Napoleon as saying «On s'engage et puis… on voit». Loosely translated that is, "One jumps into the fray, then figures out what to do next", or "You commit yourself, then you see."

There are claims that it was Lenin who invented the quote and attributed it to Napoleon, and that Napoleon never said so.

So did Napoleon ever actually say that?

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@coleopterist - the asker is Russian. As far as he's concerned, a French saying doesn't make any sense to be translated, as any cultured person understands French (see: "War and Peace" :) –  DVK Jul 5 '13 at 13:20
Found some secondary sources that claim Napoleon said that in St. Helena, and the quote can be found in his memoirs. However, I couldn't find a (freely available online) French version of the memoirs and can't verify. –  Yannis Rizos Jul 5 '13 at 17:59
+1 I think it's a good question. I've known this saying all my life and it has never occured to me to verify its authenticity - it just felt apposite for Napoleon to say that. A quick googling now reveals that this quote was used by Lenin - turns out that that's how it got into the Russophone people's consciousness. But there the trail got cold - I couldn't find out whether Lenin took the quote from a reliable source, "improved" something else Napoleon had said, or just made it up. So, yes, I think it's a good question. –  Felix Goldberg Jul 7 '13 at 8:24
George Soros, and expert in his field (investments) famously said, "invest, then investigate." –  Tom Au Nov 3 '14 at 1:02

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