"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain”
- Miyamoto Musashi
Today marks 100 years of what some historians say was the bloodiest battle of modern warfare history. The British suffered over 57,000 casualties on the first day alone, as the war continued both sides casualties would eventually be estimated be over a million (Fussell, 2009;Keegan, 2011;Marshall, 2000).
What can we learn from this?
For starters that battle of the Somme showed what happens when new technology develops and isn't tested. Since before WWI the largest battle was at Waterloo in France (Napoleon), people were not ready for the carnage that bombs, tanks and heavy artillery fire could bring to the table (Kegan, 2011). Kind of makes you think about how military technology has changed in this century.
Soldiers without faces
Since the turn of this century once again military technology has changed drastically since the battle of the Somme.
It is easy to think about the Middle East conflict and Syria as a something detached from us. Especially because of most of the western worlds involvement has been with unmanned military drones and air to surface missile strikes. But conservative estimates are at 270,000 in 2011 alone (Leenders & Heydemann, 2012).
The longer a war lasts the more both sides lose
As in the battle of the Somme the occupation of the Middle East is amassing a death toll that should bother you, no matter which side you’re on. If anything during WWI the world learned that if you drag out a battle long enough, one question remains:
Are wars won by putting people in a meat grinder or diplomacy?
I would hope the later would be the answer. For now I would like to commemorate the lives lost in the battle of the Somme as well as the lives lost across world on all the battlefields. Because if anything history teaches us, it’s this:
Leaders make decisions that result with individuals suffering, but ultimately it is their decision that can stop the madness…………
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)
Fussell, P. (2009). The Great War and modern memory. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
Keegan, J. (2011). The face of battle: a study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme. Random House.
Leenders, R., & Heydemann, S. (2012). Popular mobilization in Syria: opportunity and threat, and the social networks of the early risers. Mediterranean Politics, 17(2), 139-159.
Marshall, S. L. A. (2000). Men against fire: the problem of battle command. University of Oklahoma Press.