A decent BBC Article

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by muzzleflash, Dec 25, 2006.

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  1. The article could have been written from Korea, Malaya, Kenya, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, the Falklands (except it was not Christmas), Former Yugoslavia and probably the Somme, the Ardennes, Anzio, Burma or many other places the best soldiers in the world have been sent by their political masters.
    Why is it therefore that these same 'masters' simply have no idea, not a clue, of the true worth of the gems, the nuggets of pure gold, that they despatch, apparently willy-nilly, to do the dangerous and dirty work?
  2. Isquared,
    The answer to your question is simple and dreadful.
    There is a refusal on the part of too many people to learn the lessons of previous wars.
    After the utter idiocy of The Great War everybody said 'Never again'.
    Yet 20 years later they had another war born from the first.

    And so it goes, people staggering idiotically from one war to the next.
    And one of the reasons it can carry on is that there are always new generations being born who are not being taught properly by the older ones who in any case never learn the right lessons from their experiences and whose ignorance can be taken advantage of.

    From this one can see its not the evil in men's hearts that cause most of the war we have, just the rank, contemptible stupidity passed down from one generation to another.
  3. Agreed.

    A few years ago I heard one commentator say that for Blair, history is something to be made, not learnt from.

    If he went tomorrow there would be plenty of others of a similar mind to take his place and always will be.

    Sad, but there you are.

    Still, merry Christmas from a very damp Kandaha :)
  4. A crass statement, especially that which I highlighted.

    Stating the obvious, we went to war with Nazi Germany because, having committed to a treaty with Poland, they were attacked by Hitlers forces.

    What alternative did we have - to turn our backs on the Poles, renege on our duty to uphold the treaty we had signed. And if we had - what then?? Would we have looked the other way as Germany got more and more Leibensraum (excuse the spelling), claimed back Alsace Lorraine??

    You would also, I suppose, have left our ex colonies in the lurch when they were being accosted by their various enemies, waved goodbye to all those British subjects in the Falklands and condemned the people of Sierra Leone to their dismal future.

    Sometimes armed conflict has to be entered into simply because it is the right thing to do, the thing about history is that You learn from past mistakes.
  5. Fascinating debate about WW2, now mostly 'ifs and buts', the modern Polish intelligensia seem to think that we did them more harm than good declaring war on Germany and our main concern should have been Stalin.

    I tend to think that Churchill agreed with this.

    Polish academics say that the average Pole was more concerned with Russia than Germany, as a truce could have been formulated quite easily.

    If that had happened, how could it have been worse (For the Poles) than what did happen?

    Norman Davies, the foremost Polish historian, takes this view.

  6. Putting aside Your first point for the moment.

    Since the Poles suffered under fascism for only five years but under the communists for 40 odd years I can see how they came to this conclusion. However I think that the hatred of the intelligensia who escaped from Poland to fight alongside British forces says it all - they didn't want Germans running their country.

    Now back to the first point You made - how exactly do these historians think we made the situation worse
  7. Sven
    This sounds like a cop out, but I have to leave my office now.

    Will carry on at a later date
  8. Then another of the Royal Green Jackets joined in: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a mortar bomb in a pear tree."

    NAILS! is this the spirit that won two world wars and used by the politicos to start so many more?
  9. Stating the obvious, we didn't go to war with Stalin's Soviet Union even though they invaded Poland starting on 17th September 1939. So,
    Which is precisely what we did. Part of the treaty was that we pledged "to defend Polish independence". Remind me again when Poland became 'independent'.

    For all those who like to mock Chamberlain and Daladier for Munich 1938, something that has become quite popular in the last 4+ years on the other side of the pond, the fact remained that by September 1939, Britain and France now understood fully the Nazi menace and felt that their own military preparations were strong enough to face down Hitler. The invasion of Poland gave us the pretext to declare war on Hitler; had this been about 'Poland' we would also have had to declare war on Stalin...

    But who has the right and/or ability to make such as decision?
  10. 1)Perhaps the leaders of the time understood that You don't fight a war against two strong enemies if You can help it - one strong in technology and the other manpower.

    2)Yes, in a lot of ways we betrayed Eastern Europe by agreeing to the post war set up - which in the end cost each of us much more than had we insisted on a soviet withdrawal in 1945.

    3)We were so ready for the conflict that we sent an expeditionary force of inadequate strength into the field whilst our airforce barely had the numbers for defence - never mind an attack minded satrategy. Tell me - if we were so ready for the punch up, why the phoney war, why not get stuck straight in. It couldn't be that we were awaiting our commonwealth troops to come to our aid?? for us to get another squadron of fighters and one more ship into the water??
  11. Inadequatly prepared?
    Ill equipped?

    New Labour?

    Defence Policy :?
  12. What's wrong Sven? All the fun's has gone out of your posts. We used to exchange some good banter.

    You used to read and consider what people wrote, then respond with sensible questions or rebuttals. Now, it seems, you don't bother to read properly, see what you want to see - not what is there, then jump on some bandwagon and head off at a tangent quoting narrow 'facts' completely out of historical context. Why?

    And Japan was...???

    And what do you think the Soviet response would have been even if we had "insisted"?

    The BEF was in effect the entire Home Defence Force. What else was left to send?

    Please go back and read what I actually wrote. When has, "felt strong enough to face down" equated to being ready to "get stuck straight in" with "an attack minded satrategy" [sic]?

    During 1938, 'we' completely misunderstood Hitler's true intent; 'we' still thought we could reach a peaceful compromise that satisfied the Great Powers. By March 1939, it became apparent that our judgement was wrong, but even as late as August, we were still badly underestimating him. I think, by September, we finally started to see how dangerous he really was - in the conventional sense - but still recognised we were far too weak to actually do anything about it. Which is precisely why, we sat on his western border and went no further - even though, having declared war and being obliged to attack according to our 'Polish Agreement'.
  13. Whats wrong Merks, You used to read and consider what people wrote, then respond with sensible questions or rebuttals.

    Perhaps You missed my qualification ".....if You can help it" We couldn't really help Japan giving it large in the Far East now could we.

    As to 'facing down' the Nazis - You are joking aren't You. Facing them down with 10 Infantry divisions and a single brigade of armour!! Do You honestly think that our generals were so inept as to think that this would have frightened Adolf into aquiesing to our demands.

    Indeed, the BEF was the best we could put up whilst we tried to get the country onto a war footing. If it was as You suggest, we wouldn't have been desperately trying to get our reserves up to scratch behind the lines in France, three divisions without adequate training, command set up or even support weaponry.

    What else was left to send??? If we'd planned it properly, rather than it being a scramble to put up anything we could we would have had a huge influx of troops and equipment from Canada and the rest of the Commonwealth.

    Don't forget Your contention was that we thought we understood the nazi menace by 1939 - how does this lie with Your new contention of our underestimating it in September.

    We were just reacting to a friend in need and doing the best we could in the short term
  14. But we 'could help it' - and that's the point I, and others, are making. In September 1939, two states invaded Poland. We chose to declare war on one and not the other. The most important word in that sentence is "chose". We could help it, it was our choice to go to war.

    Could have left Japan to the Americans - just like they left Nazi Germany to us for over 2 years! Again, it was our choice, not necessity to declare war on Japan.

    There you go again. Taking 'fact' entirely out of historical context.

    Just like today, the generals have little or no say in when and where we go to war. It's the politicians who decide that, and the generals are to obey. So, although you words may well indeed be accurate, they are utterly irrelevant.

    In Munich 1938, the politicians of the day thought they could contain Hitler with a little appeasement. In August 1939, the politicians of the day thought they could contain Hitler with a little solidarity. In September 1939, he called their bluff. The politicians of the day then thought they could contain Hitler with a little military manouvers and a show of 'strength'.

    On all occasions, those politicans got it horribly wrong. What the generals thought is of complete irrelevance. Why you head off on that tangent, I have no idea.

    The first part of this paragraph is precisely my own opinion, and why, even though it was a serious strategic (diplomatic) failure, they politicians cannot be accused of not doing everything they could for the military at that moment.

    However, the second part of your paragraph baffles me. And I feel unable to answer, since I don't understand what you are saying.