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150 yrs ago today, the Birth of Modern War and the End of Chivalry

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posted on Apr, 12 2015 @ 09:23 PM
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One cannot have an elite or an Aristocracy (whatever you want to call it) without armor. Firearms put an end to armor. By the day of the Civil War, nobody was wearing armor. All yearning for a return to chivalry and/or honor is futile in the age of firearms.

Unless the elite have invented a new, classified, type of armor that renders most small arms useless. Then yes, one could see a return of a ruling class, that self reinforces it's codes of conduct, and doesn't have to negotiate with anyone else. That benevolently lets us peasants serve them on their debt farms.

President Kennedy stood for Honor. If he had been wearing the same armor as the North Hollywood Bank Robbers (1997) perhaps he would still be standing for Honor. I have noticed municipalities in America are trying to criminalize body armor now. Serfdom here we come.


Mike Grouchy




posted on Apr, 12 2015 @ 09:28 PM
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originally posted by: Tardacus
To quote another famous general from the civil war:


It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it.
Robert E. Lee


One of my favorite quotes. Said by Lee as he witnessed 7,000 Union casualties fall before the stone wall in a dozen unsuccessful charges at Marye's Heights in Fredericksburg, VA ( another town laid waste by the Union)



posted on Apr, 12 2015 @ 09:31 PM
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a reply to: mikegrouchy

At the beginning of the war they sold more than a few suits of body armor to soldiers joining the war but they quickly found it very heavy, very hot and not very effective. You are correct though, personal armor was going the way of the dinosaur by 1861. However, advances in technology have once again improved it to the point where nearly every cop wears it as do many men in infantry.
edit on 12-4-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2015 @ 09:34 PM
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originally posted by: mikegrouchy
One cannot have an elite or an Aristocracy (whatever you want to call it) without armor. Firearms put an end to armor. By the day of the Civil War, nobody was wearing armor. All yearning for a return to chivalry and/or honor is futile in the age of firearms.

Unless the elite have invented a new, classified, type of armor that renders most small arms useless. Then yes, one could see a return of a ruling class, that self reinforces it's codes of conduct, and doesn't have to negotiate with anyone else. That benevolently lets us peasants serve them on their debt farms.

President Kennedy stood for Honor. If he had been wearing the same armor as the North Hollywood Bank Robbers (1997) perhaps he would still be standing for Honor. I have noticed municipalities in America are trying to criminalize body armor now. Serfdom here we come.


Mike Grouchy


The end of traditionally "chivalric" warfare actually came before firearms, basically after the advent of the crossbow and English longbow. Before those two weapons, a simple peasant didn't have the capacity to bring down an armoured nobleman on horseback. The Catholic church actually attempted to put in place certain mandates banning the crossbow because it was considered a cruel and unfair weapon, and then we see at Agincourt during the 100 Years War, the longbow-armed English conscripts annihilating the traditionally armed French heavy cavalry.

It's important to note that the trend in warfare is to become increasingly less ritualistic and rather more shifted toward total warfare/mass destruction of resources and manpower. There were certain primitive African tribes who, when engaging in warfare, would not even actually 'fight' much at all, but would rather just engage in elaborate war-dances to try to intimdate their enemy until they relented. In the course of a battle perhaps only a few men would die. This was similar to the way the Zulu fought until Shaka Zulu reformed their tactics to effectively fight the British. Same goes to Native American tribal warfare, they would often "count coup", which is to shame an opposing warrior and incapacitate him, rather than kill him outright. Of course in primitive warfare there can still be much savagery, but as a general rule warfare has become far more total and destructive over the centuries.
edit on 12-4-2015 by Connell because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 02:36 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

Thanks for the great thread. It was an interesting read. Too bad there is no history forum, as it would be perfect for it.

By the way, I like your avatar. It always makes me laugh every time I see it.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 03:50 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals


Interesting post, SnF.


However, birth of modern warfare? Not really in agreement there. For example, for large set piece battles of men walking into musket / rifle fire look no further than the Napoleonic Wars. Far worse, in my opinion, was ship warfare at this time but that is another story entirely.

As to destroying the agricultural base, this was common practice for invading armies for thousands of years prior to this point, depending upon the conflict (differing campaigns had differing goals). There are numerous examples of this but as i am reading a few old favourites at the moment, i shall simply offer forward the English campaign in France at the start of the 100 years war (first part that culminated in Wadicourt).

So whilst i disagree, i am still slightly obsessed with the US civil war. What a simply horrendous experience it must have been.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 05:03 AM
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originally posted by: namehere
the fall of rome is the biggest reason the western world has become so warlike, chivalry of medieval times to colonial times was merely a sad attempt at imitating roman methods of warfare, i'd say modern warfare is much more inline with how rome fought at it's peak, much more organized, logical, structured, geared towards volunteerism and minimising losses.

it took rome hundreds of years to understand what we just recently started learning the past century after almost 1,500 years of warring, war has minimal benefit in the long run and should only be used when you really need it, trade and diplomacy is much more useful.


Roman methods of warfare? just keep killing until the other side runs away, then burn everything in sight.
Ever read Giaus Julius Ceaser'd accounts of his rampage through Gaul? (now known as 'France')



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 06:33 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

I am a bit unusual in that I take an interest in the American Civil War from a international or Anzac perspective. As a general I rate Sherman above his later British and French WW1 counterparts. Sherman came to understand that the war had to be brought to a decisive end and that the South had to feel the weight of the consequences of supporting the Southern cause. This why learning historical lessons is so important even if they don't come from your own countries history.

I also rate Lincoln as a wartime political time far above his allied WW1 counterparts for similar reasons. Lincoln had what I believe was a gut instinct that the terrible bloodshed on the battlefields had to be for a strong and clearly defined end purpose which was to preserve the Union. Nothing like Lincoln's Gettysburg Address showed was seen on the western front in WW1. One only has to look to how history unfolded between 1918 -1945 to see the importance of the point I am doing my best to make.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 08:20 AM
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a reply to: hounddoghowlie




the end of Napoleonic warfare started in the Revolutionary War.


How can that be when the Napoleonic Wars hadn't even begun yet?



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 08:22 AM
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a reply to: hounddoghowlie

Plus the term guerrilla is Spanish and comes from the Peninsula campaign in the Napoleonic Wars. Irregular warfare didn't begin then obviously but that's where the term as we know it first came from.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 08:24 AM
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a reply to: hounddoghowlie




if you want to get down to it, guerrilla warfare started in ancient china, and used by them to fight the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, and Alexander the Great.


Used by who China? When did China fight either the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire or Alexander the Great?



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

You are mistaken. The reason that we don't line up in battle formations and fire at blocks of people anymore is because it is wildly inefficient and terribly costly. When the Civil War began, they tried to continue this method of warfare, but gun technology had improved too much. Guns were much more accurate at longer ranges and were faster to reload. As a consequence this caused MASSIVE slaughter on both sides. It's largely one of the reasons that the Civil War is still considered the bloodiest war that America has ever fought.

This trend of military tactics trailing behind the technology happens in every war. With each war, the armies line up using tactics of old with newer technology that makes those tactics inefficient. Eventually the tactics catch up with the technology and warfare evolves.

Though your romanticized version of warfare and chivalry is a joke. War has ALWAYS been nasty, violent, and full of war crimes. These things just weren't talked about before. They were just thrown under the umbrella term "War is hell", everyone nods in confirmation, and that's that.
edit on 13-4-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:04 AM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Asktheanimals

You are mistaken. The reason that we don't line up in battle formations and fire at blocks of people anymore is because it is wildly inefficient and terribly costly. When the Civil War began, they tried to continue this method of warfare, but gun technology had improved too much. Guns were much more accurate at longer ranges and were faster to reload. As a consequence this caused MASSIVE slaughter on both sides.


In light of WW1 commemorations including the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings the timing of your post couldn't be more important. Very well put.


It's largely one of the reasons that the Civil War is still considered the bloodiest war that America has ever fought.


What first caught my interest as a kid was how the technological improvements between two world wars saw the death toll and levels of destruction rise from WW1 to WW2. I now consider the American Civil War a precursor to WW1.


This trend of military tactics trailing behind the technology happens in every war. With each war, the armies line up using tactics of old with newer technology that makes those tactics inefficient. Eventually the tactics catch up with the technology and warfare evolves.


This will happen in the coming global conflict that is currently brewing. Human nature deems that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


Though your romanticized version of warfare and chivalry is a joke. War has ALWAYS been nasty, violent, and full of war crimes. These things just weren't talked about before. They were just thrown under the umbrella term "War is hell", everyone nods in confirmation, and that's that.


I do agree with you. I would say that its easier to come to terms with wars that are fought for the values we are comfortable with as people. I saw a documentary recently on the Mexico - American War. The point was made that historians tend to avoid the Mexico-American War in favor of the Civil and Revolutionary wars because they are not comfortable with the reasons the conflict was fought over.
edit on 13-4-2015 by xpert11 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:18 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Am I mistaken? Not sure what you mean but even during WW1 the human wave tactic was applied again and again to disastrous results. They weren't dressed in line of battle but facing machine guns and mortars they were still slaughtered. It wasn't until the introduction of the tank that entrenched lines of the enemy could be successfully carried without undue casualties.

Perhaps my choice of using this event is arbitrary but few know of it and I thought it worthy of remembrance. It was the symbolism of saluting each other that marked the end of a certain mindset among combatants. Neither Gordon nor Chamberlain were professional soldiers before the war yet they were chosen, 2 citizen-soldiers to lead their respective sides in the ceremony.

There were plenty of acts of inhumanity in war long before the Civil War - the Waxhaws for instance and of course war has always been a nasty affair, I was never saying it wasn't.

Any traces of humanity vanished from warfare during the Plains Indian wars, the Apache wars, the Nez Perce war. Those were wars of genocide. Next came the Spanish American war, our first romp with Imperialism brought on by lies told by the Hearst newspapers and some type of sabotage against the USS Maine. Find me any acts as magnanimous as shown by Chamberlain in those wars or WW1 for that matter. The fallen foe was trampled, humiliated and punished (treaty of Versaille or any of the Indian treaties).

The changes in warfare were the most drastic in the Civil War until the inventions of the tank, airplane and atomic bomb. Each weapon one step further removed from the actual work of killing the enemy. Fast forward to today with drone warfare killing by remote control from the other side of the world. That may be war but it has become mechanized murder. No bravery required, no moral justification necessary, no messy blood or guts to have to look at knowing you did that to them. Just a simple "target neutralized".

In my mind any war truly worth fighting is worth meeting the enemy 1 on 1 on the field of combat, face to face. You might think it farcical and romanticized but my view is any method of warfare that diminishes one's own humanity isn't worth using. So you kill your enemy yet lose what makes you human. From that context it is very easy to understand why so many soldiers suffer from PTSD and commit suicide. They realize they have lost much of what made them human. Our modern army is so deployed and trained as to force these conditions upon them simply to survive.

How many how shot children or women or bombed houses containing families? And they did it based on lies told them by their leaders. These are the things that weigh so heavy on men's hearts as to drive them to suicide.

Maybe my title is a bit of stretch but it is certain that not only did the weapons and tactics change but so did the people using them. The US Civil War was the great transition to total war where older notions were thrown aside for the convenience of winning.
edit on 13-4-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)

edit on 13-4-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:37 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

You need to keep in mind that the Civil War was a war between Americans. Abraham Lincoln and later Jefferson Davis understood this. They knew that once reunited, there would be no gain from trampling over the losers and it would just entrench rivalries. This is why we have the Reconstruction Era to help reunify the country.

Also, the Americans didn't start warring against the natives after the Civil War. No those wars existed since the the French-Indian War. In fact, after the French lost the French-Indian War, American-English brutality and the imposing inevitability of English rule caused many Native tribes to break their treaties with the French. Naturally, the English-Americans still mistreated the Natives. The natives were never considered on the same level as white America.

So you can cite all these examples post-Civil War of reprehensible acts done to the losers that demonstrate a breakdown in chivalry, but I posit that chivalry is just a made up notion to romanticize the warfare of the past.


In my mind any war truly worth fighting is worth meeting the enemy 1 on 1 on the field of combat, face to face. You might think it farcical and romanticized but my view is any method of warfare that diminishes one's own humanity isn't worth using. So you kill your enemy yet lose what makes you human. From that context it is very easy to understand why so many soldiers suffer from PTSD and commit suicide. They realize they have lost much of what made them human. Our modern army is so deployed and trained as to force these conditions upon them simply to survive.


I highly doubt that PTSD is something that arose among soldiers because warfare was increasingly fought impersonally. The gruesomeness of sword combat is probably just as bad as the mindf# that is jungle combat in Vietnam. I'd bet that veterans of wars and PTSD have gone hand and hand since warfare started.

Besides, all warfare diminishes humanity. That is how officers and NCO's get their soldiers to kill for them. Paint your enemy as less than human. It is where the majority of racist slurs come from. This tactic has been in use since forever. Heck, you can find examples of its usage in the Bible. When certain people are conquered, they are portrayed as not being in god's favor and should therefore be destroyed.
edit on 13-4-2015 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:46 AM
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a reply to: xpert11

It even happened in the Iraq War when we tried to role in using the urban warfare tactics from Vietnam in Iraq. Sure they helped us dismantle the army within 3 months, but look what happened afterwards. The army hadn't been trained as a police force before and was largely ill equipped to patrol the roads of Iraq. Death counts started to rise.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: Taupin Desciple

I'm trying really hard not to sound like the usual snide post in this situation a la "well why don't you go make your own thread then if you dont like this one", but I am intrigued by your thoughts about the way these wars are always portrayed vs what we dont ever really get to see or hear, and what you said about a more "whole" presentation. So, I'm very curious as to what that would look like. I personally would be very honored if you would care to show me. And I would be interested in the comments, debates and criticisms that may follow as well. I hope I put that in a way you find to be civil.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: mikegrouchy
The elite exists and they use people and laws as their armor.
The Hollywood bank robbers portrayed in the movie Heat starring Val Kilmer didn't have armor protecting their heads. JFK was shot in the head.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 11:27 AM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t
I'm afraid this is one of the arguments I find difficult to articulate so I'll let good ol' wiki do the talking for me:

Chivalry

Over time, its meaning has been refined to emphasise social and moral virtues more generally. And the Code of Chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all conspiring to establish a notion of honour and nobility


en.wikipedia.org...

I posit that this tradition was handed down and still survived among the officer class at the time of the Civil War, all whom were either trained at West Point or VMI, both of which had strict codes of honor. I also believe it was particularly strong among Southerners. While countless towns and cities in the South were burned and looted only 1 town of the North was put to torch (Chambersburg, PA). Even during Lee's invasion leading to Gettysburg the men were under orders to not take anything from the local citizens. Several men were even threatened with courts martial for using fence posts to make their fire with. Jubal Early's burning of Chambersburg was widely disapproved of by Southerners and was done of his own volition. Lee would have never condoned such an act.

I don't feel that talking about the self-imposed restraints of soldiers guided by an inner code of fairness or honor amounts to romanticizing warfare at all. To me, it shows the humanity of the men involved and how despite countless wounds and 4 years of being in the thick of the worst fighting ever seen they still retained those same values they began the war with. For all the carnage both men witnessed they still retained their civility and grace and I doubt highly either had anything like PTSD. I don't claim any personal knowledge of PTSD but my best guess is that feelings of guilt play a large role. Those who feel they have abided by "the rules" (whatever those rules may be) probably have little or no bad feelings about their actions. It's just how people are wired.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 12:01 PM
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I would like to say that war or waging war has never been honorable or noble. It is ugly and dirty. Every time that you take a life it takes a bit of your soul with it. I spent many months trying to convince my youngest not to enlist telling him the same thing that I am sharing here. He went on to serve with the 101th Airborne Div. in Afghanistan during the troop surge of 2010.

When he returned home he had PTSD and couldn't sleep normally for a year afterwards. He told me that I was spot on with my efforts to convince him to do something else than being infantry.

People tend to glorify war. We celebrate heroes and honor the nations who win. Let's start requiring politicians to have military service and lead on the battlefield. Only then can we celebrate wars we didn't fight.
edit on 13-4-2015 by buddah6 because: (no reason given)



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