According to the preface in this book strategy and knowledge of military history used to be “mandatory.” I certainly learned nothing about warfare during my years in various schools besides the fact that war sucks.
- During grammar school we had one page in our history book dedicated to WWII (this was in Italy btw).
- In Norway we visited a former nazi-camp and were guided by a former captive. We did not learn anything else.
- At an international IB school in Italy and at a state funded school, in either France or the US, I learnt about the Vietnam war; the domino effect, America’s communist fear, protestors “Make love, not war” and the fact that America lost out to the Viet Cong. The education offered at the IB school was more profound as we had an entire book only about the conflict, at the State Funded school the topic was dealt with superficially. Yet none of the institutions would teach any of the many lessons one can learn by reading about actual warfare and specific battles.
- Twice, (one of them in Norway) I learned about the cold war, how horrible it was with the arms race and how wonderful it was when the wall came down.
- During my short stint in the IB programme at an American state funded high school I was actually given a book to read that dealt with the intricate circumstances leading up to WWI. That was actually very intriguing as WW1 in its entirety is usually only blamed on the Germans without any mentions of the complex landscape during that specific time. As I wanted more flexibility to focus on my art & music I dropped out of the IB voluntary and was accepted into AP art instead which made me happier but exposed me to an inferior education, as “in-depth knowledge” is obviously kept to the few. The majority of the population will not have access to the curriculum offered through the IB programme as you have to qualify through tests or will be exposed to it automatically if enrolled at a private school. In a normal state funded school setting, even double honour programmes, will be limited in terms of the vastness and diversity of their curriculum. Which means that knowledge has to be pursued independently.
This sums up any education I ever received regarding warfare. No mention of logistics, no mention of strategy, no real insight into circumstances leading up to war, nothing really besides: “war stinks.” One can draw the conclusion that neither the US, Norway, Italy, France nor the UK ( as my siblings attend school here) are particularly interested in the general population gaining any knowledge whatsoever about the circumstances of conflict. Only those who have relatives of a military background, those who pursue a degree or a well-balanced perspective on history independently and/or those who play specific video games will ever be introduced to the wisdom hidden within the winning or losing of battles.
Here are a few interesting lessons from the book I just completed:
- Make use of supplies wherever you come.
- Don’t let your soldiers know what your objective is.
- Don’t engage in prolonged warfare as it impoverishes your nation.
- If the option is to fight or die, your men will thrive.
- You have to know the territory.
- Be quick.
- Don’t start a pointless war.
- Military personnel in the field cannot wait for instructions from a sovereign far away.
Now look at these 8 lessons and think about the current wars we have been and still are fighting…. Do you see what I see? Our modern leaders are either exceptionally incompetent or fantastically corrupt.