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  • grabrulee@aol.com
    HTML Ralph, Thank you for your kind remarks re. my latest missive. Thinking more about the Eastern Theatre/Western Front (14-18) analogy, the reasons for the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2000
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      Thank you for your kind remarks re. my latest missive. Thinking more
      about the Eastern Theatre/Western Front (14-18) analogy, the reasons for the
      similarity are more than superficial.
      The Confederacy was pledged to defend a lifestyle which (a) applied to
      only the wealthy of the South which was, by no means, the majority thereof,
      and (b) which arose directly out of the same European "class" system which
      was, at or about the same time, the curse of European armies - particularly
      that of the British Empire. Also, the Southern States had a distinct
      "military tradition" arising from the same situation in the Old World (First
      son gets the title and land, Second son goes into the Army, Third son into
      the Chruch, etc) and (correct me if I'm wrong) the South provided by far the
      majority of West Point appointees of their day.
      Came the Great War and the same mindset is visible arising from the same
      gene pool (for want of a better description) as provided the Southern
      officer. I would point out here that WWI was fought at a time when we were
      only a generation or so beyond the days when an officer's commission was
      purchased and where one's rank depended entirely upon how much one paid! Even
      though those days were gone, one still had to be of the right "type" to hold
      the Queen's/King's Commission and advancement (in peacetime at least)
      depended entirely in one's place in Society.
      Indeed, if one examines Regimental records in the British Army, the most
      frequent reason for an officer being "Cashiered" or "Resqested to Resign" was
      debt - normally gambling debt - or some other social misconduct considered
      "ungentlemanly". Rarely if ever does one find a record of an officer being
      thrown out for screwing up under fire!
      This was the mindset of the Staff Officer of WWI and, I suggest,
      approximately that of the Southern "officer corps" of the 1860's, both of
      whom were resposible for the lives of countless men under their command, most
      of whom came from the "lower social orders" and, therefore, were expendible.
      In the North, however, there was not such a great tradition and the
      immigrant community was far more diversified and therefore more flexible in
      its thinking and less tied to the Old World values I have just described.
      I know this isn't strictly Western Theatre business but the men who
      fought and the men who led those who fought in the WT can from those greatly
      diverse backgrounds. I thought a little European thinking and background
      information amy be useful. In my view the leadership of the Confederacy was
      imbued with values inherited from the Old World via the Colonial times while
      the Union army represented the force of the new New World which was to arise
      from the WBTS.
      Very sincerely
      Graham Lee
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