The power of War Poetry

Men of arms must read poetry, and they do. The American military study Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sasson, Rupert Brooke e Rosenberg. War poetry have a tremendous impact in the formation of good soldiers. A young Sargent from Oregon said  “we fell what Owen writes, we can build a mental image of death.” This type of poetry describes war as divine liberation, as a sacrifice, as a metal cleanup. The death of the authors in the battlefield reinforces this feelings – Owen and Rosenberg died in 1918 during the IWW. Artistic variants can represent a good tool in the shaping of the soldiers, extolling the patriotism, heroism and glorious death.

Wilfred Owen

Dulce et Decorum est, by Owen

   

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Life before Radar

There was times where the airplanes were free. The air warfare was just a baby and the sound was the only way to detect an incoming enemy. While we were waiting for the Radar system, the military developed a very simple method – the Acoustic Ears. Have a look!

Pax Romana and the prosperity of the empire

It is easy to fell in love with the Roman empire. It involved near the totality of the “Known World”. If we bring it to the XIX century, it can be compared to the biggest empire ever, the British. In a world were the highest speed was a sailboat or a galloping horse, how could the Romans run that empire. My analysis is based on the behavior of the people. Is it possible to control by force that massive portion of land? No, it is not. The Romans approach, in some provinces, were more political than military. Rome was prosper. In an era were fight was in every corner, must of the times associated with civil war, Rome offered the Pax Romana (Roman Peace), were business and commercial relations were stimulated. European people from the II century could not imagine a world without Rome. I am not saying that there was no crime in the Roman empire, not at all, the banditry was a big problem. But war between tribesmen was less common. People always prefer peace and stability. Despite the cruel Roman approach to insubordination and the struggle for power in the city of Rome, the political apparatus was stabler than the previous political model of tribe and clan. In my point of view, the Pax Romana was one of the pillars of the Roman economic prosperity. The Roman iron fist was better than endless war.

Caesar: life of a colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy

Caius Julius Caeser is a real colossus. Probably, he is the most famous figure of the ancient history. Remarkable politician and  military genius. He conquered Gaul and returned to Rome as an emperor and, at the same time, Consul of Rome. His political status were unusual, a “republican emperor”. Unusual is the right word. Why did he forgive his old Roman enemies, Brutus and Cicero, those who organize his assassination in the Senate. Brutus keeps a secret, he was probably son of the “colossus”. Actually, some say that the last words of Caeser were “Et tu, Brute“. I know that the forgiveness of Caeser is also connect to the search of political support. He achieved that goal, becoming dictator for life. Adrian Goldsworthy describes Caeser has the politician and general, concentrating his research in the life of the man who changed the Roman political constitution. Caeser was not a real emperor, but he started something similar. Even in the beginning of the XX century, the title of the European emperors, like Czar and Kaiser, wore directly derived from Caeser. Goldsworthy brings in this book a very interesting subject. Was Caeser an amoral character? He forgave old enemies and local tribesmen, but was also cruel and very pragmatic about power and insubordination. Goldsworthy give us a good starting point for a deep reflection.

Falkland Islands, the struggle

As in 1982, the Falkland Islands are on the top of the international agenda. That Atlantic islands are sought by Argentina, but the United Kingdom has the sovereignty. In the eighties, Margaret Thatcher led and won the war against Argentina, becoming a patriotic leader and consolidating the Conservative Party Government. Today, President Cristina Kirchner is working in the global sphere to find support and conditions to pressure the British nation in order to, in her words, restore Argentine islands. In 1982, the war was like this:

Photos by Julian Thompson, BBCA Royal Navy Wessex 5 helicopter delivers mortar ammunition to the front line during mountain battles above Port Stanley.

Royal Marine patrol passing the submerged fin of the Sante Fe at South Georgia.

The destroyer HMS SHEFFIELD on fire after being struck by an AM39 Exocet missile fired by an Argentine aircraft.

A column of 45 Royal Marine Commandoes march towards Port Stanley.

Two Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade “blacked up”.

The flag is hoisted by the 40 Commando, Royal Marine at Port Howard.

Women of the future

In 1902, Albert Bergeret, a French illustrator, designed a deck of cards entitled “Women of the Future”. He tried to guess the future of women outfit.

Doctor

Mayor

Journalist

General

Firefighter

Fencer

Sailor

Napoleon wisdom, three

Once Napoleon said: “Nothing can be absolute in war.” Is anything absolute in life, except death? Napoleon, the indisputable General and Emperor, warned that cooperation is essential to reach victory. An absolutist leader may be a weak general in the battlefield. Our name, power and posture are not enough to defeat the enemy and we cannot take victory for granted. Some philosophers say the absolute belongs to God, men shall never reach that level. Napoleon message means respect and precaution. Sometimes, acting alone can be the ticket to failure and defeat. Even Napoleon recognized the importance of collective efforts, knowing that the outcome of the battle is the result of team work. In his battlefield essence, Napoleon was not an absolutist.

One day dictator, one day beggar

In April 1992, a group of young military officers invaded the cabinet of the President of Sierra Leone, Joseph Momoh, in Freetown. They found him and took the power. The main reason was the endless civil war, the officers thought that the president could not find the solution. Inside the group of insurgents, the captain Valentine Strasser had the highest patent and the ability to speak English. He was 25 years old and is the youngest Head of State ever. He ruled the country for 4 years. Suddenly, someone put him in a helicopter and sent him to Guinea Conakry into exile. Today he is a poor man, living in his mother house with 45 dollars per month in the suburbs of Freetown. The distance between a dictator and a beggar  is not so big.

Words that changed the World: Gandhi

In 1916, Gandhi was present in the inauguration of the Banaras Hindu University and made a very important speech. He said: ” If we are to receive self-government, we shall have to take it. […]  Look at the history of the British Empire and the British nation; freedom loving as it is, it will not be a party to give freedom to a people who will not take it themselves.” Gandhi could not finish the speech, because the audience got very vibrant and enthusiastic. The Indian people found the hero, the necessary leader to conquer independence. This words mean the beginning of the long struggle that culminated in the independence of India. During the speech, Gandhi praised the importance of the Indian culture and necessity of education reforms. He also showed concern about the poor and the unfair wealth distribution.This words and this date mark the beginning of the journey that changed the subcontinent of India.   

Napoleon’s Wisdom, two

One day, Napoleon Bonaparte said: “words are everything”. How can a general win a battle when “words are everything”? The core of this expression was the morale of the soldiers. In the end of the XVIII and beginning of the XIX, the European warfare was based in massive armies, aligning in front of each others. “Fire”! “Reload”! Hundreds, even thousands, of bullets crossed the battlefield. The dust precluded the vision and the noise was thunderous. In this conditions, the ability to convince the soldier to stand up and shoot was primordial. To win battles, Napoleon used more than military tactics. His strategy also held up in scholasticism. He had to mobilize the people and rhetoric is essential. This can be used in multiple fields, business, politics, teaching, and many more. The point is interpretation.

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