Sunday, December 27, 2015

Van Creveld I.

This is coolbert:

Here begins a series of blog entries based on extracts with comments from the Martin van Creveld Internet web site.

Martin at least among the half-dozen to dozen most preeminent military historians of the current era.

When Martin speaks we should all listen? Items as in so specific order or significance.


"A Thirty Years’ War?"

"For those of you who have forgotten, here is a short reminder. The Thirty Years’ War started in May 1618 when the Protestant Estates of Bohemia revolted against the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II. They threw his envoys out of the windows of the palace at Prague. Fortunately for them, the moat into which they fell was filled with rubbish and nobody was killed."

Defenestration. Being tossed out a window to your death. I was aware of those events in May of 1618 but not that the envoys survived. I had thought they were killed.

"Had the revolt remained local, it would have been suppressed fairly quickly. As, in fact, it was in 1620 when the Habsburgs and their allies won the Battle of the White Mountain. Instead it expanded and expanded . . . By the time the Treaty of Westphalia ended the hostilities in 1648 the population of Germany had been reduced by an estimated one third."

"The similarities with the current war in Syria are obvious and chilling."

. . . .

"With so many interests, native and foreign, involved, a way out does not seem in sight. Nor can the outcome be foreseen any more than that of the Thirty Years’ War could be four years after the beginning of the conflict, i.e. 1622."

It can be suggested that ALL WARS HAVE A DYNAMIC THAT IS UNPREDICTABLE. Successful statesmanship and war fighting ability consists of an ability to predict events at least to some extent before they occur, create a manage-able situation that ameliorates difficulties before the fact. EASIER SAID THAN DONE I MIGHT SUSPECT!

. . . .

Finally, as happened in 1618-48, the main victim is the civilian population. Just as in 1618-48, people are being robbed, despoiled, and killed.

See my previous blog entry, illustrations and images of atrocity from that period of the Thirty Years War.


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