Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why We Fight?

This is coolbert:

"The diggers motivation to fight"

[Australian soldiers are referred to as "diggers". Supposedly a reference to the entrenching that took place at Gallipoli [digging in!]! But a term historically much older, referring to miners from the 1850's? "The widespread use of the term came to the forefront during the First World War. During this time the word 'mate' became synonymous with the word 'digger', which had its origins in the gold digging fields of the 1850s. During the Gallipoli campaign the term 'digger' was re-introduced as a formal greeting towards a fellow soldier. The Anzac troops spent so much time digging trenches, the idiom 'digger' was re-invoked."]

What motivates young men to join the military voluntarily, even in a time of war, and furthermore, VOLUNTEER TO GO "OVERSEAS' TO FIGHT IN THAT WAR, KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT THEY ARE GETTING THEMSELVES INTO!!!???

Here is one take on the subject, from the Australian perspective: [Chester Wilmot "Tobruk 1941"]

"the Australians were volunteers. They understood their own position. But why were the Australian volunteers there?"

[Australian troops stationed OVERSEAS during both World Wars were STRICTLY volunteers!! Conscription was used to fill the ranks, but those Australian troops deployed in combat outside of Australia were STRICTLY volunteers! Actually, the wiki entry on this topic is not quite totally clear!!]

According to Wilmot, these would have been the reasons you might have gotten if you asked a "digger" - - "why do you fight?" But NOT the correct reasons?

* "I wanted a bit of fun"

* "I was fed up with my job"

* "all my cobbers were joining up and so I went along too."

[Cobber : friend]

Here are, according to Wilmot, the CORRECT reasons the Australian troop fought as a volunteer in both World Wars:

* "I believe in a fair go"

* "I wanted to be with my mates"

[Mate : buddy, friend]

* "I like being able to say to a copper, 'That's all right, copper, you got nothin' on me'"

* "I want to say what I like when we're having a beer at the pub"

* "I want to do what I like with the few quid I've got in the bank"

* "because women and kids are being bombed in London and shot in Prague"

* "I didn't join out of patriotism"

* "I was looking for what I'd lost"

* "the feeling of a lot of mates all working together"

Mate : buddy, friend [mate ship is a particularly strong Australian cultural concept. NOT unique to Australia, but stressed as being of importance. NOT just ordinary friendship, but a non-familial relationship between two men, strong in nature "It's a term that implies a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance."]

"Military context

Mate ship is regarded as an Australian military virtue . . . Mate ship is often invoked as an important element in . . . Australian military prowess"

* "for some other reason that making dividends for the shareholders."

[ I am part of something larger and doing so without ulterior motives!!]

NOT necessarily strong patriotic motives or a desire "to see things in the world set straight"!! Enlistment and volunteerism in time of war is a complicated subject NOT subject to aphorisms - - that explain it all?!

"aph·o·rism - - n. A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage. A brief statement of a principle."




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