When the French stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, many German intellectuals also enthused about the “great French Revolution”. But disillusionment soon set in with the reign of terror, and the introduction of the guillotine. The number of supporters dwindled, the Germans turned away in horror. Francophilia became Francophobia. Napoleon Bonaparte then entered the world stage. He was both revered and hated. With his claim to power and numerous wars, he catapulted the Germans into a new era. Against his will, he paved the way towards the birth of the German Nation.