Monday, September 29, 2008

Military Culture And The Nature Of War

The Nature Of War In The Early 21st Century Part Two -- Space Wars

In his important new book, "The Culture of War," Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld warns that Germany's politicians have demanded that their army, the Bundeswehr, be stripped of all German military traditions, not just those of the Nazi period.

Creveld notes: "At first, only the years 1933-1945 were exorcised. From 1968 on, however, there was a growing tendency to extend the shadows until they covered previous periods. Not only the Panzer leader Heinz Guderian, not only the desert fox Erwin Rommel, but Hans von Seeckt, Paul von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff, Alfred von Schieffen, and Helmut von Moltke disappeared. From heroes who had served their country, they were turned into 'militarist,' 'reactionary' and 'imperialist' villains; in today's classrooms, it is in vain that one looks for their names or their portraits.

"In comparison with similar institutions in other countries, German military academies, staff colleges and other educational institutions have an empty, bare, functional and soulless appearance. The relics of the 'wars of liberation' apart, almost the only items on display pertain to the Bundeswehr's own history. However, since the Bundeswehr has never gone to war, the ability of those items to excite and inspire is limited.

Read more ....

My Comment: I remember reading how German youths in the 1930s were taught how to fight, live in the woods on camping trips, exercise constantly .... and harshly, and to respect the military history of Germany. On the other hand French youths were more academically and culturally trained .... minus the military and hard exercise tradition.

When World War II broke out, the British were the first to realize very quickly that the French military were "not up to the job".

There is something to say about tradition and culture in a modern army. To find that balance between a culture and how technology is changing the battlefield .... that is where the proper political and military leadership must step in and to find that balance.

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