Sunday, January 1, 2017
Brains and not brawn?
Addressing here once more the Italian military enigma. That question of why the Italian military forces performed so poorly during both World Wars?
According to this Internet article it seems national and cultural characteristics are to blame! Be aware too this type of material can get me in SERIOUS TROUBLE within some quarters.
From an Internet web site forum as extracted, very scholarly and copied more or less in entirety, a long read but well worth it:
“Ethnic Humor Around the World: A Comparative Analysis” by Christie Davies.
"Ethnic jokes about 'cowardly Italians' are largely a twentieth-century phenomenon and only really common after World War II. However, the comic image of the Italians as unwarlike is much older, as Roger Pinon has shown in his discussion of 'the saying that 'Itali sunt imbelles' – the Italians do not fight', meaning that when confronted at the battle they flee at the first opportunity” Pinon has found references to Italian cowardice as far back as the medieval period, when French and Germans alike mocked the alleged lack of martial courage of the Lombards. The unwarlike reputation of the Italians only became securely established however, in the sixteenth century, when it was referred to by writers as diverse as Rabelais, Machiavelli, Erasmus and Montaigne. For Machiavelli it was a political problem calling for a solution, for the others a source of amusement, a kind of ethnic joke."
"The Italian states employed mercenaries [Condotierri] on short-term contracts who developed no loyalty to or identification with the state that employed them. Macaulay, in his essay on Machiavelli, has summed up the problems that this created"
“'The richest and most enlightened part of the world was left undefended to the assaults of every barbarous invader, to the brutality of Switzerland, the insolence of France, and the fierce rapacity of Aragon. The moral effects which followed from this state of things were still more remarkable."
"Among the rude nations which lay beyond the Alps, valour was absolutely indispensable. Without it none could be eminent; few could be secure. Cowardice was, therefore, naturally considered as the foulest reproach. Among the polished Italians, enriched by commerce, governed by law, and passionately attached to literature, everything was done by superiority of intelligence. Their very wars, more pacific than the peace of their neighbors, required rather civil than military qualifications. Hence while courage was the point of honour in other countries, ingenuity became the point of honour in Italy…"
"Military courage, the boast of the sottish German, of the frivolous and pratting Frenchman, of the romantic and arrogant Spaniard, he (the Italian ruler) neither possesses nor values. He shuns danger, not because he is insensible to shame, but because in the society in which he lives timidity has ceased to be shameful.”
"sottish - - foolish, stupid, senseless"
"pratting - - to behave stupidly, especially when you should be behaving in a responsible way"
"Italians growing up in such a society develop a strong capacity for loyalty to the small group of people known to them personally but may well have a weak attachment to impersonal institutions such as the army or other bureaucratic institutions."
"No way has yet been found in which the strong loyalties that Italians owe to smaller groups can be harnessed by state organizations such as the army, and indeed these loyalties may contribute to an organization’s disintegration into squabbling groups of rival patrons and clients. The result has been a nation whose members have shown themselves to be courageous and indeed sometimes brutal members of feuding kinsmen or small guerrilla bands but not effective soldiers in a large army. As Peter Nichols has put it, the Italians are 'capable of marvellous feats of personal bravery but reject fighting as the pursuit of fools.'”
THE INDIVIDUAL ITALIAN SOLDIER HARDLY A COWARD AND GUTLESS. SOCIETAL WISE THE ITALIAN NOT POSSESSING A STRONG NATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND GROUP LOYALTY THAT MAKES FOR UNIT COHESION WITHIN THE MILITARY CONTEXT!
THE FAMILY UNIT IN ITALY RULES!!