[D-G] Virility and Slaughter

Dr. Harald Wenk hwenk at web.de
Sun Feb 6 00:55:01 PST 2005


the main outline of answer is, that after the french revolution and the
uprise of imperialism and nationalism in the 19th century
had taken the place of religion, sometimes mixed with, in binding
the overwhelming "transcendental forces" - the forces going beyond
the everday life purposes. as you alll know, especially gremans tend to  
bea liitle bit idealistc and romantic.
This is in conjunctin with the state of affair of
emancipation at that time.
The strong social democratic party representing the little man,
especially the workers, has been forbidden for 25 years
and was constantly blamed to betray ones country.
To avoid this, the majority voted for the war.
On the other hand the miltairs enclosing the soldiers
were totally not used to the mordern
mass murder weapons like machine guns, poison gas
and aeoroplanes.

This is strongest line of answer and due to
some kind of sociological inertia.

They all used the patters from the well known
relativley local wars - as the last from 1870
between germany and france, whose success
inaugurated the formation of germany as a nation.
The last point is also a strong argument,
the germans had made very good experiences
in winning that war and the mood was
that the world was distributed at that time and germany didnt
got his part.

So things are very complicated and if you are really interested
it is worthwhile reading history books - at best from germany, for
they have the most authentic approach.

Best wishes

Dr. Harald Wenk
(german mathematician)

Am Mon, 31 Jan 2005 10:27:09 -0500 schrieb Richard Koenigsberg, Ph. D.  
<libraryofsocialscience at earthlink.net>:

> "A billion words; the endless chatter. Yet, at the core of civilization,  
> a
> deep pathology: The slaughter of young men."
> Richard A. Koenigsberg
>  _____
> In the First World War, 1914-1918, it is estimated that nine-million
> soldiers were killed, twenty-one million wounded, and nearly eight  
> million
> taken prisoner or reported missing. Thus, of sixty-five million troops
> mobilized, nearly thirty-eight million, or fifty- eight percent were
> casualties. What was the meaning of this massive episode of  
> civilizational
> destruction? Why were millions of young men killed or mutilated?
> As one studies the battles of the First World War and learns of the
> prodigious number of human beings killed in each of them, the mind  
> boggles.
> What was going on? What kept the war going? Why did leaders persist in
> sending young men to die? Why didn't Generals alter their battle strategy
> when it was evident that what they were doing did not work? Why did  
> soldiers
> rarely rebel against their fate? Why did they continue to fight on even
> though death stared them in the face?
>  _____
> The complete paper by Richard A. Koenigsberg is available for the first  
> time
> as an on-line publication.
> To read: VIRILITY AND SLAUGHTER: Battle Strategy of the First World War
> <http://home.earthlink.net/~libraryofsocialscience/online_pubs.htm>  
> CLICK HERE or visit:
> <http://home.earthlink.net/~library>
> http://home.earthlink.net/~libraryofsocialscience/online_pubs.htm
>   _____
> The high casualty rate during this war reflected the nature of the battle
> strategy. "Attack" occurred when massive numbers of troops along the  
> front
> line, supported by artillery fire from thousands of guns, got out of
> trenches and ran into "no man's land," hoping to cut the barbed wire,
> assault enemy trenches and break through the opposing line. Attacks were
> nearly always unsuccessful. Here is Modris Eksteins' description of the
> fundamental pattern:
> The victimized crowd of attackers in no man's land has become one of the
> supreme images of this war. Attackers moved forward usually without  
> seeking
> cover and were mowed down in rows, with the mechanical efficiency of a
> scythe, like so many blades of grass. "We were very surprised to see them
> walking," wrote a German machine gunner of his experience of a British
> attack at the Somme. "The officers went in front. I noticed one of them
> walking calmly, carrying a walking stick. When we started firing, we just
> had to load and reload. They went down in the hundreds. You didn't have  
> to
> aim, we just fired into them."
> In the following report, British General Rees describes the massacre of  
> his
> own brigade as they moved toward German lines.
> They advanced in line after line, dressed as if on parade and not a man
> shirked going through the extremely heavy barrage, or facing the machine  
> gun
> and rifle fire that finally wiped them out. I saw the lines, which  
> advanced
> in such admirable order melting away under fire. Yet not a man wavered,
> broke the ranks, or attempted to come back. I have never seen, indeed  
> could
> never have imagined such a magnificent display of gallantry, discipline  
> and
> determination. The reports from the very few survivors of this marvelous
> advance bear out what I saw with my own eyes: that hardly a man of ours  
> got
> to the German Front line.
> It is evident that in spite of the total failure of the attack, General  
> Rees
> regarded the destruction of his brigade in a positive light. He observes
> that not a man "shirked" in the face of the machine gun and rifle fire  
> that
> wiped them out. He is proud that even though his troops were "melting  
> away
> under fire," the soldiers continued to advance "in admirable order." In  
> the
> face of the barrage of bullets, his men did not waver, break ranks, or
> attempt to come back. The General gushes that he had never seen such a
> magnificent display of "gallantry, discipline and determination."  
> Although
> his soldiers were slaughtered and "hardly a man of ours got to the German
> Front line," he characterizes the advance as "marvelous."
> Or perhaps is it more accurate to say that the General believed the  
> assault
> was marvelous precisely because British soldiers had been slaughtered.  
> The
> General does not view the battle from the perspective of success or  
> failure.
> His perception is shaped, rather, by his judgment of the morale and  
> spirit
> demonstrated by his troops. It is the fact that his soldiers were being
> riddled with bullets--yet continued to advance--that leads him to  
> conclude
> that the attack had been "marvelous."
> General Rees responded positively to the slaughter of his own men  
> because he
> viewed their behavior as a testimonial to the depth of their devotion. By
> virtue of the fact that they did not shirk but continued to advance in  
> the
> face of machine-gun fire, his troops showed that they were committed
> absolutely to the ideals of Great Britain, the British Empire and its
> leaders. Willingness to walk into machine-gun fire provided definitive  
> proof
> that the soldiers loved their country.
> Soldiers during the First World War were required to adopt a posture of
> absolute submission to their nation and its leaders--obedience unto  
> death.
> Conscientious objectors in Britain during the First World War were
> disenfranchised. Some thought that soldiers who had not seen overseas
> service should have the right to vote taken away from them. In the First
> World War, the social consensus was that the body of the soldier  
> belonged to
> the nation-state. The nation could use these bodies as it saw fit.
> War requires that the soldier hand over his body to his country. In  
> order to
> encourage men to do be willing to do this, the soldier's role is  
> represented
> in terms such as honor, masculinity and virility. In the First World War,
> however, being honorable, masculine and virile was equivalent to  
> entering a
> situation where there was substantial probability that one would be
> slaughtered. One demonstrated one's virility by getting out of a trench  
> and
> walking into machine gun fire. Such is the strange paradox of war: That
> "goodness" or morality requires a posture of abject submission; that  
> "love"
> requires self- destruction; that willingness to die becomes the highest  
> form
> of virtue.
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