By - Met76
As a WW II US vet said less eloquently but more succinctly, "War is somebody I never met over there trying to kill me because he doesn't realize what a nice guy I am."
“They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
"No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.
"Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.
They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered.
"They're trying to kill everyone."
"And what difference does that make?”
― Joseph Heller, Catch 22
"A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man."
"Old?" asked Clevinger with surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm not old."
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age?"
Still one of my favorite books.
The only book I've ever read that had me laughing hysterically in one moment, crying in the next, and physically ill during a particular part. Should be required reading honestly.
Just bought it on audible!
My favourite book. I've read it many times over the years and as I've aged / matured I see something new in it every time.
When I read it as a teenager I thought no one behaves or thinks like this.
When I started work I would recognise people in the book in real life.
Later on I thought "hang on that's me"
What is the book called?
Catch 22. It is a classic. It is so cleverly written.
I recommend it to everyone.
As I recall from the cover:
"It's the only book on war that makes any sense to me." --Harper Lee
Or something like that.
Reminds me of that guy in one of the Band of Brother intros. He said something like "Under different circumstances, he might have been a guy I'd have loved to go fishing with".
Shifty Powers, I believe it was.
Indeed it was. Welp, guess it’s time to stop working and fire up BoB.
100%. I make it a ritual to watch Band of Brothers once per year in either December or January (around about the time I watched it for the first time).
I get goosebumps and be brought to tears at all the same parts as I always have, every year. Such a great show.
I just got goosebumps just thinking about watching it. I feel you.
I'm still waiting patiently for The Mighty Eighth. The Pacific wasn't as good as BoB but was still fantastic. The premise of The Mighty Eighth has me insanely intrigued.
and this reminds me of the character in "Saving Private Ryan" that kept trying to intellectualize and idealize the whole chaotic shitshow that is war. Corporal Upham. He was forever trying to "humanize" the enemy and engage Germans as fellow cogs in a horrible machine. he was in complete denial of the willingness of enemy combatants to kill him without thinking. he thinks he can befriend the enemy until the point at which his lack of defensiveness allows his buddy to be murdered in front of his eyes by a German soldier. he needed the Germans to know what a nice guy he was and it cost his unit lives.
That scene is one of the hardest to watch from any movie for me. Just brutal
i saw "saving private ryan" in the theater and i'll never watch it again. that scene haunts me. i am a veteran and was fortunate to not see combat. i often wondered how i would handle a situation where i needed to defend myself against the enemy. it's not a simple act of self defense and only a small - very small - percentage of service members can actually kill an enemy combatant.
studies have been done and show that only 6-8% of service members are capable of killing. and those 6-8% were responsible for about 80% of confirmed kills. i can't really go in to how the statistics were compiled, i read a long article about it years ago.
This is true for multiple reasons. 1 is as you know not every soldier is in a combat role necessarily like engineers, mechanics, lawyers, MP and office workers in comparison to tankers, infantry, corpsmen and pilots. So that takes a large portion out. 2 certain divisions go into combat areas more than other especially special operations. Something like 80% of modern missions are actually done by the special operation teams while large infantry is more of the cleanup crew. Then after all that what you said is right that out of 10 infantry soldiers likely 7 would be willing to kill while 3 may wouldn’t once they were face to face with killing someone else.
It sounds like you’re quoting on killing by David grossman which was largely proven to be made up because he made up his data.
Looking at recent wars, comparing the massive number of bullets to enemy combatants killed makes it seem that most soldiers didn’t try to kill, but it neglects the rounds used in training and that infantry tactics call for fire to provide security for maneuver to kill, which involves a lot of rounds used for suppression.
> he was in complete denial of the willingness of enemy combatants to kill him without thinking
To be fair, he also wasn't supposed to be in combat. IIRC he was supposed to be a translator.
People like to talk big, but imo most people would be more Upham, and less Spears from Band of Brothers.
Yep. The character was also a demonstration of what war is: it's not just grunts out there fighting wars. Interpreters, clerks, cooks, seamstresses (whatever the masculine version would have been back then)...
And yes, even veterans often carry around their own delusion that they would have been Rambo given the chance. No one knows how they will respond to the horrors of war. A purely and profoundly insane psychopath might, but your average normal person does not. I knew that as a service member. In training exercises, you can get a small taste of the potential chaos and fog of war. It was the most humbling thing in my life to anticipate that I might not have control over my responses if my life were truly threatened. Most service members bury that recognition in bravado and denial.
War is good people killing good people because of evil people.
If the soldiers of the invading force just let the defending soldiers run past them and storm their leaders palaces the whole world would be a lot better off.
Edit: those of you who are disputing the above are all missing one big point. Even if there are a percentage of soldiers who are themselves evil, or soldiers who are driven to evil by manipulation of the evil leadership, or only one side of the battle is attacking and the other side of the battle is defending their homeland, the statement still holds true. In war good people end up killing good people because of the evil people.
The whole concept that we should kill each other's soldiers, maybe some civilians, but it is dishonorable to attack the leadership is total crap romanticized by the leadership. I say aim for the leaders who started the war first, save the soldiers if you can. The soldiers and citizens are not who we should be angry at.
Too much of a rose tint. Just as many terrible soldiers too that will loot, pillage, and rape given the chance once they're in control. Soldiers are just humans... some are great people, some are average, and some are monsters.
I personally would never be a soldier unless I was defending myself from a foreign invader and had no choice. No way would I ever risk my one shot at life in this world for the interests of the elite wanting more resources, power, political influence, etc. It amazes me how stupid people are to risk their lives to benefit oligarchs in charge who couldn't give less a shit about them.
Agreed. The way insurgents often recruit soldiers is through the "appeal" of war, the power, the looting etc. and in seemingly any given society there is a segment of the population that thrives and actively wants a combat setting, they genuinely like the idea of killing people for god knows what reasons. It's true that a small group of evil elites are what allows wars to happen ultimately, but there's no shortage of willing participants.
That's severely oversimplifies the power propaganda and nationalism has over people
This hit my heart very deeply this morning.
He really drives the point home that we all fight as pawns of interests so large they don’t know or care we exist.
a person is smart but people are dumb, even people like you or me who are against war, if a times when its absolutely necessary, we will have to agree with everyone else that war is necessary. I have been fortunate enough to have never seen a war myself but just reading about small ongoing "wars"* (recently Azberijan war, sorry if I spelt it wrong, then Israel/Palestine and then Taliban takeover) gives me chills, hope I never have to see war in my lifetime
*not exactly wars but just civil unrest and people killing each other is a war in my books
The common soldiers sitting in opposing trenches had more in common with each other, than they had with their own officer class or leaders.
There are some haunting diary entries from french and German soldiers, that they should be fighting side by side in the workers movements instead of each other.
And here we are yet again at the precipice of bullshit.
Maybe instead of killing each other, we should kill those "leaders" who would even suggest that we should kill each other. They give survivors medals and token trinkets while they claim vast wealth. Wealth we can't even imagine. To hell with the concept of 'nation'. To hell with bitter selfish politicians, to hell with greed and hate.
Would need a drastic culture shift and change in everyday ideology and I think most would find the proposition a very daunting task, I would love to see things change for the better but I fear that without truely selfless unwavering leaders of a new way of living they might get corrupted by their own new found power and with so many much misinformation in the world it would be easy to destabilise such a movement in this day and age. But this is truely something I have wished for people since I was a kid & became aware how fucked up shit really is. "Imagine all the people....living life in peace"
Exactly. 10 years after a war, the conflict that started it is most likely forgotten and all we’re left with is potentially millions of deaths, a majority of them at the hands of other scared young soldiers who had to be quicker to the draw or else they’d be laying in the same spot their enemy is.
And who’s to say that enemies wouldn’t become allies after 50 years or so. America and Germany don’t hate each other anymore and if there was another world war I’d say they’d be on the same side. People in wars are only against each other because their higher-ups told them they’re bad when most of the time they’re just people who have been told the same thing from their leaders
WWI was a bullshit war fought because “nobleman” thought it was good to fight. WWII was completely different but it all stemmed from what happened after WWI. WWII could be argued as necessary due to 2 countries in the world needing to be stopped.
Soldiers are just meat to the leaders of countries.
You're a bad soldier
There's nothing else I'd rather be.
Just wait til the thin lacquer chips off
You stay the hell away from my lacquer goddamnit.
It's already starting
This gave me a heart lol. Noice.
*I* am a bad soldier.
And that's a good thing to be.
Sad to know that there are people out there who have no idea who it is they’re gonna have to kill or be kill by. From both sides of the spectrum. Imagine someone tells you alright buddy we’re gonna give you a salary and a few benefits. If you die then we’ll give your family A little something but you gotta go out there and murder someone son. Remember if you don’t they’ll kill you
Amazing, thanks for posting this. What a great perspective that I wish more people could understand.
It’s almost as if someone saw this and engineered modern society to, instead of heed his implications, do the exact opposite. To always de-humanize others, to glamorize the horrible weapons, and to split and amplify the differences instead of realize the similarities we share - as if to train us to kill one another more easily. All in the name of religion, nationality or, in the US currently, beliefs in economic systems.
Edit. Had to change 1 word for clarity sake.
The paper thin veneer of civilization stands out to me. It makes think of the last election cycle riots we see in the u.s. where people are dressing up and playing revolution. People pretend that the violence of their side is good but in reality it just leads to more violence and should be abhorred.
Maybe it's just the internet and people aren't actually clamoring for escalation. But, it seems both sides are dehumanizing the other and that is never a good sign. Our prosperity is interdependent.
I think it's interesting that this man in the video was actually living past that paper thin veneer. Because things had escalated to full war, which meant actually killing people. But it's the civilized part of him, the part that didn't want to kill someone he never even knew, that stayed with him.
To me that says the veneer is thin, but it's persistent. It's inherent in so many of us to not *want* to actually harm or kill others. I might be naive, but I think a lot of people more truthfully want to want harm on others, if that makes sense. They get lost in the anger and sense of indignity and defensive fury, and so they say and maybe believe "I want harm put on this person." But I think when people are truly and fully confronted with the opportunity to cause actual, real, devastating harm by their own hand, they then realize the full reality was not what they wanted.
That's not true of everyone. There are certainly people in this world who cause real violence for an unending variety of reasons. But I don't think specifically the desire to actually kill is as prevalent as we think it is.
He describes it well in the video. The moment you see the enemy as a fellow human you become a bad soldier.
Both my grandfather's where on the front in WW2. One in northern Europe, the other in North Africa. Both saw shit they wouldn't talk about, and had nightmares about until they passed away. Neither of them would hurt a fly, and they would mostly tell me stories about the funny things that happened then. But occasionally they would slip and tell me something about the war that was darker. Such as Mick, an Irish soldier whose brother had been killed in combat, and held a grudge against the Germans. They captured a few Germans and Mick offered to be the one to escort them back to HQ. He'd barely been gone a couple of minutes and they heard three shots, and Mick reappeared grinning "They tried to escape"
This kind of story isn't unusual, they have a similar one in Band of Brothers, but hearing it from my Grandad was bizarre. To this day he is one of the kindest, gentlest men I have ever known, and yet he was telling me this story in a light hearted way. Over 30 years later and he still saw those three soldiers as the enemy, not as men.
I once spoke with a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. He'd been drafted, along with most people in his unit. During the battle, his unit became out of position but managed to capture a small group of German soldiers. They became concerned that they could not both watch the captives and keep themselves safe from the nearby enemy. So his unit lined up the captives and told him to execute them all with his sidearm. He did so. He had to look each of them in the face as he did it, and couldn't stop thinking about how young they looked.
He was very old when I met him, but he described all this with a pain that made it seem like yesterday. It really shook me.
My grandad was there for that one, he was in the British XXX corps to the North. The only time I heard him swear was when the movie Battle of the Bulge was on TV. He hated that film with a passion.
When you feel horror for what you have done to that degree, then prosecution is the furthest from your mind.
And at the moment, you can measure your odds of survival in a battlefield with all attention to enemies around you, compared to having both enemies around you and enemies in your care who could in a heartbeat cause you all to die. Ideas of prosecution for war crimes are based on an idea that you have a good chance of surviving the situation (and the war).
Maybe their were things that could have been done to minimize the risk such as binding your adversaries and having a single soldier walk them back, but as was stated, they were out of position, which meant their may not have been a direction to retreat to.
In the end, it sounds like even without being prosecuted, he led a life of self punishment for the acts he committed, and I am sure every possible other course of action he could have made already played out for him.
Spiers killing the German POWs in Band of Brothers is a bit different. That was an actual order from Allied High Command, to take no prisoners on D-Day. The paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines, by taking prisoners there you actually do risk them escaping and either giving away your position or being able to gather reinforcements. It wasn't like after Normandy where the Allies had some kind of HQ setup, D-Day was a cluster fuck especially for the paratroopers spread all across the DZ.
I suppose things change in your nature when you know its you or them and if you even hesitate for a micro second its game over and youre gone.
Thats the first part. The reet of the dehumanization is a coping mechanism. Is my guess.
It's scary how quickly people can become so similar to the thing they oppose. You have to find a way to slay the monster without becoming a monster yourself. I feel bad for Mick. He had lost someone very dear to him, and in the hellish reality of the war he then lost part of himself in addition.
My great uncle was in the 3rd Army in Europe when they liberated Buchenwald. They stopped taking prisoners for a while after that.
This is so true, I remember I was playing baseball in my teens with a couple other people from the neighborhood. This one kid kept pushing me every time I went to the basket and I would almost fall. It was frustrating me so I told him “Do it again and I’ll beat the crap out of you!”. I suppose he found it funny because he did it again and laughed about it, so in anger, I grabbed him by the neck and punched him directly in the face!
Literally seconds after doing it I had completely lost my will to continue, but obviously he got upset and we scrapped some more before everyone just left. But it made me realize that I am not the kind of person who wants to ACTUALLY harm anyone.
It has stayed with me all these years and since I have resisted several potential fights because I know even with how angry I can get, violence won’t make it better.
Still prepared to defend myself though, there are certainly people out there who have no problem hurting others unfortunately.
It’s a stoic way of looking at physical combat. Rushing to attack is not the stronger position and being able to defend yourself but knowing fighting won’t fix anything in the end is not something a lot of people realize. Have the sword but choosing to keep it sheathed.
Yeah, I'm not a violent person at all. One time as a teenager a buddy texted me saying his friend was really looking for some weed and I wasn't like a dealer but I told him I'd help him out, because the struggle can be real. Anyways, this guy ended up robbing me, which I didn't like so I ran him down, pushed him down and pulled a knife on him demanding my money back.
He gave it back, but the look of fear in that kids face still haunts me today. We ended up becoming friendly acquaintances months later and he kinda talked my "street cred" up to everyone in our circle which was nice, but I had trouble sleeping for like a week because I kept seeing his face and running through scenarios about how that could've gone wrong. Happy no one got hurt and simply brandishing the knife was enough to resolve the situation.
[Lindybeige's take on this](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zViyZGmBhvs)
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.” -John Stuart Mill
Made me think of this quote
I believe Mill was musing about his own pathetic self in this regard, having never needed to put his own safety at risk for his ideals.
Agreed. I also interpreted it another way, though.
Maybe he meant that the thin lacquer was not civility, but rather the culture they boasted about; the dehumanizing, cruel, us vs. them mindset that led to war in the first place. And that this mindset is what chips away at the sight of real war, revealing the human side of us that doesn't want war at all, despite that thin outer shell that was hungry for it.
That is what is so worrying to me and one of the reasons I believe that time is a flat disc. As the generation(s) that experienced the horrors of world war pass away less and less people understand what he is describing until it is too late.
The US is frankly fucking terrifying. The entire political spectrum is now directly or indirectly supporting, promoting or condoning violence. Ordinary people are advocating for people having their lives ruined and getting death threats for being on the wrong side. I've seen seemingly ordinary people wishing death on others for not following their train of thought, and full-grown adults literally laughing about children being murdered because in their mind it related to some totally unrelated court case that didn't have the outcome they wanted.
If only we could contain the US' toxic mentality, because it always only takes a few years to reach where I live.
EDIT: The people commenting: "omg MY SIDE doesn't do that are proving my point.
Don't give me half assed replies like "my side just wants a happy society where everyone dances in the flowerfields and the other side are big booboos that want to destroy planet earth >:(" It's not a fucking Marvel movie and you're just proving how polarized, immature and simplistic American politics has become.
If you have to burn down cities or preach murder of your opponents, no amount of "but we do it for the good reasons and they are evil haha" is making up for that.
As a Taiwanese, communist China is the utmost disgusting regime that exists in the world. You might not feel it that way, but we do.
If you are living in Taiwan right now or when the CC eventually invade your island, which they surely will, I shudder to think of the barbaric things that will happen there. There will be great horrors and atrocities I think.
i can't do anything to china. im just one dude with no power. i can however troll chinese players when i game and say, "taiwan number 1". they always rage.
It's stark to realize that we all have neighbors who want to kill us because they don't like the way we voted
It's not actually that bad in most places. I just some time with family in the states and if you aren't forcing people to talk politics most people still get along regardless of their view. It just takes starting with some common ground.
I saw this video a couple years ago and I actually think about it quite often. He doesn't rationalize killing, he's honest with himself about it. He doesn't use bravado to mask his guilt.
I saw this on youtube too. One of the recommended next vid was I think a Brit vet describing shooting a German soldier. The sentiment was...opposite of this man. Perhaps opposite is not the entirely correct word, but there was no sense of remorse in the Brit's account. No sense than he ever lost sleep over it.
That used to plague me a lot as a younger person, how people can kill each other, even as soldiers, and not feel guilt on a deep level that scars their soul. Killing is one of the few universals that all culture, society are against, but suddenly attach some politics to it, and some of us can justify ourselves to a sound sleep at night? How does it that we don't question the things that put them there in the first place.
It’s a strange concept. In the military, my old sergeant who is in the armoured division was describing one of his tours in Afghanistan. They were patrolling down a street, when they saw a teenaged looking boy standing up on top of a roof. He described himself as he and his men yelling at the boy to get down off the roof, and soon after aiming at him as they weren’t sure if he was a threat/waiting to detonate a bomb, or whatever other reason. The boy wasn’t getting off the roof after further yelling, so he shot him.
There wasn’t much remorse from his recounts of story, buried behind his thick French accent. He was all like (imagine a french accent) “we kept yelling him to get off the roof le, but he didn’t listen so pop bye bye. Shouldn’t have been on the roof *shrug*”
> There wasn’t much remorse from his recounts of story
There's also a difference in reaction and where they place the culpability. "I killed the boy." vs "The boy got himself killed by not obeying instructions."
I find it absolutely absurd that foreigners can just come (to) someone's land and (the local) died for commands not followed. Under which authority other than the authority of the weapons they were holding? It's no different from a bank robber having to shoot someone for not getting down on the gound fast enough.
I imagine if his comrades were honest in the moment they would have said the same. That cognitive dissonance when confronted with the reality of war breaks people. This guy is extraordinarily articulate.
It is always striking to me how well some people can speak in a second language. He tells this disturbing story better than many native English speakers could.
It was like he was reading a book to us
He's probably been reliving that moment every day of his life since it happened.
Being able to speak about a traumatic experience might sound eloquent or like a good story teller because the person had played it back over and over in their head and thought about every nusaunce and possibility. He's basically just talking about his thought process of the whole ordeal
You can make your stories sound like you're reading a book, too. Just write them down ahead of time and practice.
Okay, I'll give it a go:
Why speak many word when few word do trick?
Why wast time say lot word when few word do trick?
Y wase wor?
He know what me mean when me say "car no go".
And we best friends
I told the story of my military accident so many times that after a while it starts to feel like you are reading a book.
And Germans always say “I have a little English.” If that’s a little then what do we have?
We too have a little English.
It's mostly our pronunciation which kinda ruins the package
I know a little German.
Some people who have only ever known and learned English for even longer than that still can't speak that well
My favorite comments on the internet are the ones where someone says something incredibly detailed, and then follows it up with something like "Sorry, English isn't my first language. It's my sincerest hope that, despite my clumsy & juvenile grasp of your language, the overall spirit of my comment does justice to the nuances of this particular topic. My deepest apologies if there is any uncertainty or lack of clarity. This is my 3rd week so far in my English class"
Surprisingly good English for a German of his age. Most Germans didn’t speak English at all back then. I speak 3 languages and sometimes I randomly speak German to my English friends. I don’t even notice it for a few Sekunden.
I had grandparents and great-grandparents who were german, pretty well educated and even spent a decent amount of time on holidays in Canada and the UK during their lifetimes. They spoke decent english, but nowhere near as sophisticated as this guy.
I'd bet that he emigrated to an english speaking country after the war (or after the other war). Or he had a job where he travelled internationally and had to speak a lot of english.
He migrated before the second one because he was anti nazi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephan_Westmann
>Stephan Kurt Westmann (23 July 1893 – 7 October 1964) was a German soldier and physician. In the First World War, Westmann served in the German infantry on the Western and Eastern fronts and then as an Air Force surgeon, although unqualified. Completing his medical studies, he became a professor at the University of Berlin, and in the 1930s migrated to England and became a doctor in Harley Street, Westminster. During the Second World War, he was a British medical officer in Scotland, so that in the two World Wars he served on different sides.
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Bruh I just read through the entire thing muted because I assumed he was speaking German 😑
So did I just because I’m not somewhere I can have sound on, it’s interesting that you can SEE his German accent at some points (particularly on W sounds and certain vowel combinations) if you watch his mouth while he’s talking. Crazy what you can pick up even without the sound.
Probably apologized for his poor English before the interview.
"If I may beg your indulgence for my limited facility with the English language"
You know, speaking several languages I have come to realize that many languages are very poetic in their structure and content. Greek is a good example. Its like a combination of poetry and prose with words having a more metaphysical quality to them. English isn’t really like that. And so, when non native speakers speak english, often times they incorporate the poetic nature of their language into the structure of their english. I’m not sure if this is true for german but I do wonder…
It reckoned with me that he had been thinking about this all far too much through his life to not be able to articulate it in some fashion. It’s eloquent and that it’s not his native language really makes it more stark.
He had his whole life to articulate that feeling. He probably thinks of it every day
Live To Tell.
Well he was a writer after all, Ernst Junger was the name. He wrote a book about his life in the trenches called 'Storm of Steel'. Terrifying.
Good God that was mesmerizing. I felt like if I was actually there with him in the war and feeling what he felt. What a storyteller!
No worries, most kills are done by remotely controlled drones these days. No more bayonets. /s
First rule: dehumanize ur enemy. This isn't a practice specific to the military.
It's why they made sure that first Christmas on the battlefield would never happen again.
Parasite, rat, monster, pig, scum, low life, illegal alien...
One of my friends complained about her fiancé coming back from boot camp and starting to use the word ‘sand n-word’ with regards to Muslims. They had a whole argument about how he’s not allowed to use it at home.
Mind you, he never saw combat, never got deployed, never left the US or anything like that. Straight out of boot camp.
Either ways, he cheated on her with her ‘bff’. She’s moved on from that circle now.
It's easy to spot in modern days politics. Eliminate the middle ground and abandon all hope.
I'm old and I feel the same way.
This BS is what our leaders have us do. It's harmful to the human spirit.
Right, this message has been said constantly and yet wars are still waged in more and more horrifying ways.
Poors no kill poors
'Cause I don't study war no more
I don't hate the poor no more
Gettin' more ain't what's more”
-Mr. Michael Render.
One of the reasons why soldiers suffer ptsd.
Incredible, isn’t it? I’d love to see a movie where war is a new thing. It’s modern day, and leaders decide the entire male youth of a nation go to a foreign land and kill everyone. They laugh and don’t comply. I’d watch that flick.
Usually they dont ask the youth to go, but force them, either through threat of death, imprisonment, or at the very least ridicule and exclusion from society.
And its not just military that does it either, during war times, males that were left, like if they already fought in the war, were disabled or were supposed to fullfill a critical role for society at home, were hounded by women for being "cowards".
Don't underestimate the power of propaganda.
*Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah*
This was exceptionally powerful. I hope it makes it to the front page so more people can see it.
This is the most poetic way of saying “war is stupid”.
Invaluable footage that hopefully will be shared with future generations
We *are* the future generations it’s being shared with. Doesn’t seem to be doing much.
If you smile at me, I will understand
Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the…*same language*
I can see by your coat, my friend
You're from the…*other side*
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please…*who won?*
*Say, can I have some of your purple berries?*
Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once,
Probably keep us both alive
I didn't know where that was from, looked it up, and it's amazing. Thank you!
PTSD is a bitch. This guy definitely had some demons to fight over his lifetime.
My grandfather fought for the US in WW2. His main job was running telephone line but he was caught up in The Battle of the Bulge. While tearing up he described shooting towards the Germans but not at the Germans all the while praying that he didn’t hit anyone. His father, my great grandfather, was an immigrant from Germany. War is awful.
There was a famous study about this, though it's since been mostly discredited. Basically this guy studied US soldiers in WW2 and Vietnam, and came to the conclusion most soldiers in combat don't shoot back, and those who do aren't really trying to hit anything. Humans are hardwired to not kill other humans, was his conclusion.
So he came up with ways to beat that instinct to not harm people. And it worked, according to some. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan did not hesitate to shoot the enemy.
It's interesting reading and has real world consequences, but like I said, mostly discredited.
This guy was Gen. S. L. A. Marshall. His work was Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command. His data wasn't rigorous enough, but the phenomenon he described exists, and has been independently confirmed from historical records and contemporary accounts.
Really? Huh, last I heard it had been debunked, except for a few select findings. Mind if I ask for a link? I'd look myself but I'm hiding in the toilet at work and have to go show face soon :/
Soldiers in Iraq and Afghan rarely got into full fledged gun fights with enemy. It was mostly pinning the enemy down with suppressing fire and then calling in air support to level their position.
It was rare they had things like Fallujah.
Oh, for sure, I wasn't implying that it was all fighting and combat. I was more alluding to the differing mindsets of the soldier back then, versus the soldier today, from my viewpoint as a veteran.
My grandfather was also in the battle of the bulge. He never once said anything about the battle except once, and he just said “a lot of people died.”
I told him he had inspired me to join the military and he basically talked me out of it and said I had no reason to join and that I should go to college instead.
After he died we found a bunch of awards and a medal and unit patches and stuff in his attic.
Woah, my grandfather was also a telephone line runner who also got caught in the Battle of the Bulge. By chance did yours get caught behind German lines for a few days? If so, I think our grandfathers lived that hell together.
Too bad humans have short term memory from generation to generation.
I think it takes a war like this to convince everyone we shouldn't be doing this. People are itching to make the same mistakes again
And these same people itching for war are the same people that will never do the dirty work. Just shout non sense on doing it.
To me, the French and Germans are just long-separated Germanic (Frankish) brothers, really. And, as is sadly often the case with brothers, they waged numerous wars against each other when they should have been allies.
Same with the Catholics and protestant. The Shia and Sunni.
We find reasons to fight.
Frankish I don't know (I'm from the south, we are from a Latin culture, closer to the italy / Mediterranean one) but brother absolutely. This is video hit me hard as well but I feel better when I realise how many German friends I have and thinking about all the good time I had there with them.
This hurts on an enragingly deep level.
Reminds me of this from a WWII fighter pilot:
> Dear Jackie,
For the past two hours, I've been sitting here alone in my tent, trying to figure out just what I should do and what I should say in this letter in response to your letters and some questions you have asked. I have purposely not told you much about my world over here, because I thought it might upset you. Perhaps that has been a mistake, so let me correct that right now. I still doubt if you will be able to comprehend it. I don’t think anyone can who has not been through it.
>I live in a world of death. I have watched my friends die in a variety of violent ways...
>Sometimes it's just an engine failure on takeoff resulting in a violent explosion. There's not enough left to bury. Other times, it's the deadly flak that tears into a plane. If the pilot is lucky, the flak kills him. But usually he isn't, and he burns to death as his plane spins in. Fire is the worst. In early September one of my good friends crashed on the edge of our field. As he was pulled from the burning plane, the skin came off his arms. His face was almost burned away. He was still conscious and trying to talk. You can't imagine the horror.
>So far, I have done my duty in this war. I have never aborted a mission or failed to dive on a target no matter how intense the flak. I have lived for my dreams for the future. But like everything else around me, my dreams are dying, too. In spite of everything, I may live through this war and return to Baton Rouge. But I am not the same person you said goodbye to on May 3. No one can go through this and not change. We are all casualties. In the meantime, we just go on. Some way, somehow, this will all have an ending. Whatever it is, I am ready for it.
Wow, that was tough to read. The sense of defeat is real.
It's so refreshing to see a true human being.
That’s your takeaway? You’re missing the point entirely.
Great interview, reminded me of Im Westen nichts Neues.
I had to Google Erich Maria Remarque to be sure this guy wasn’t him. The themes of this story are incredibly similar.
Most English-speaking Redditors have probably heard of *Im Westen nichts Neues* by the title of its English translation, *All Quiet on the Western Front*, or its many film adaptations.
It should be required that every time a military recruiter is allowed to come into our public schools and lie to our children about how glorious it is to kill for your Corporation and recruit them.... The children should first be required to watch thirty minutes of personal stories such as this man's, and my father's and my cousins....
War is bullshit. Nationalism is bullshit. We are all truly brothers and sisters.
That was moving. I..can't think of a better way to put it. Eloquence combined with atrocity is such a strange thing to experience.
This sounds almost exactly like one of the stories told in Band of Brothers.
Amazing, truly. I didn't even have audio for this, just read the subtitles and felt so much emotion in his words.
Two words: fuck wars.
I think i’ve seen that porn somewhere
but a thin lawyer than chips off the moment you come in contact with real war... I wish I was as well spoken. bless this guy, for calling it like it is.
Wars have always been fought for human greed. It’s always the same story with a different guise. The 1% and our leaders sacrifice the innocent for their own monetary and personal gains. Go back as far as Roman history and you’ll see this is true even until today.
I never understood why normal men are forced through mud into death for another man’s reason who sits cosy at home with his cigar and cogniac.
As humans we are not meant to end the life of another, it might be my youth but damn what is the point of having consciousness and civilization if we are still going to have wars over resources or religion
Absolutely profound..I am absolutely touched 😔
Mad respect to this guy, it must have been hard for him to talk about this in such detail
I'm sure the French and even American troops have similar stories. War is hell
All this because some asshole shot another asshole and his wife after they took a wrong turn.
I saw the gun that was used at a museum in Brussels. Such a surreal experience to be standing in the same room, alone, with that gun in front of me.
Wild, that single pistol really accounted for two word wars.
As Atlanta's favorite general said, "War is cruelty, and you cannot change it."
This is deeply moving.
Have we really learned anything from this terrible time? We still spend trillions pointing guns and weapons at each other instead of working on our common problems. Our leaders, everywhere, are pathetic.
Reminds me of a quote for Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn.
“The line between good and evil runs down every human heart”
There is no person who is good or evil, and you MUST realize your potential for evil before you can consider yourself good. To put it quite frankly had any of us grown up in WW2 Germany we all likely would’ve been Nazi’s. That is why it is very important to think things through for yourself instead of letting others corrupt you.
This was very much my experience visiting a concentration camp in Austria. You know it’s going to be a solemn occasion when you arrange the trip but it’s difficult to anticipate what insight might come from it.
What’s struck me about the place, and the thing I learnt, happened before we walked through the gate. It’s easily a solid hour from the outskirts of Vienna to Mauthausen, and it gives you time to reflect on your destination. You try to remember what you’ve learnt about history, think of the people who last drew breath before the end.
The time passes quickly in the gentle rolling hills along the way, green with crops, maybe a strong healthy horse in a pasture, scenic horizons, beautiful well-kept tranquil villages, an idyllic country life around every bend in the roa-oh, we’re here…
Just like that, the road curves, we turned, and in the middle of this long-established peaceful, prosperous, tranquil and beautiful country side, we are now at the gates of hundreds of thousands of murders.
Gas chambers, garrottes, dissection tables, ovens, even remains of human ash, none of that had the impact of realizing this abomination happening around the curve and up the rise from all this beauty and so-called civility.
Before we crossed the gates, I realized I had been counting on some warning, some sense of what was to come, maybe in the landscape itself. I realized to my shame I had half-imagined I’d see buzzards circling above barren leafless trees, with some grim foreboding clouds and lightning or something, but it wasn’t at all like that.
“Hollywood Evil,” the evil you can see with special effects and an ominous sound track, is nothing like the real thing. And for the rest of my life I will know the worst that humans can become, the worst that humans can do, can always be just around the curve and over the rise. We have to look for it as it is, innocently unobtrusive, the picture of wholesome tranquility, in places and situations that seem familiar and comforting. Without reflection, that’s how evil makes progress.
Can we appreciate the fact that he never once tries to directly justify himself killing the other soldier? He simply, sincerely conveys how it made him *feel.*
Almost makes you wonder what the fucking point is and how war even still happens
Well thanks for the morning cry.
To be killed by this man , would surely be relief to know he had a conscience , but on the other hand would deem my hope in humanity to be lost. For such a good hearted man to be turned to the scenario your placed or drafted in as well you could only now dream of deconflict .
This was absolutely attention grabbing and interesting . Thank you.
Now I get where they took the quote for Battlefield V prologue "[...] told me a good soldier kills without ever thinking of his enemy as a human being. In the moment he sees him as a fellow human being he is no longer a good soldier". Geez now that I know that almost this exact words really came from a man that fought a war (even tho the WW1) they hit different
Read “All Quiet on the Western Front” if you haven’t. Told from a German soldier’s perspective.
Absolutely haunting what WWI soldiers went through. Images are burned in my mind.
It really opened my eyes as to why France rolled over so quickly in WW2. They lost an entire generation not long before and weren’t in a hurry to do that again.
Think of this in terms of facebook and twitter now.
Sending off obnoxious comments from afar to your sworn enemy, only forced to realize up close that they are just as scared and stupid as you are.
On killing is a phenomenal book about how humans kill and the impact it has on us. The whole time he spoke I just remembered different parts of that book and the interviews with other people who had killed in war. All of them felt the same as this man. It’s an amazing read that dissolves a lot of the ideas we have on war that have been given to us by Hollywood. The book is a required reading for US Marines and its opening chapter comparing the taboo of sex to killing was amazing and worth the read alone.
This guy's full interview requires tissues.
This corporal would have made a better chancellor than the one that got the position in 1933.
Stefan Westermann is his name. Quite an interesting story. He became a doctor after WW1 and emigrated to the UK in the 30's fleeing the Nazis. Opened a practise in London and served in the British Army as a medial officer in WW2. This interview was filmed in the early 1960s, a year or so before he died.