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Has democratizing military history made the term ‘heroes’ increasingly meaningless?

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  • #46
    Keep the myth or burst the bubble?

    Originally posted by Localyokel View Post
    Let them believe the hero version. The young are naive for only so long and they don't tend to think fondly of the ones who burst their bubbles.
    I get what you're saying.
    However the folks running the tute course may not take kindly to me NOT bursting students bubbles.
    Truth above all else and all that.
    Kind of a pont of honour with the people I went to Uni with back in the day.

    Like Merlin said in 'Excalibur' (1980 movie not the curent manifestations on TV) Truth is the greatest virtue. "When a man lies he murders a part of the world."

    Gotta be careful with this issue.
    Regards lodestar

    Comment


    • #47
      I personally think that a "hero" is one who sacrifices himself for the lives of others, not one who simply enlists. A friend of mine experienced a TBI in Iraq and received the Bronze Star. He saved over 1,500 soldiers' lives from the IED's he found and destroyed. That's a hero. Another enlistee I know joined the US Army, worked as a paper pusher, and then cheated on his very pregnant wife with a 17 year old recruit. That's not a hero.

      Comment


      • #48
        Well if this isn't serendipitous timing I don't know what it. Be interesting to see how this thread pans out with reference to the points raised here.

        http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...58#post2510958

        McClellan bases his knowledge of the lack of heroism in veterans off his own experience in Vietnam.

        “I did nothing heroic. Nor did any of my close friends. But I knew people who did, and it devalues the real heroes to say that everybody was one,” he writes. “If everybody is a hero, nobody is.”

        I can see how he arrived at this conclusion. He’s saying that in a drafted military you are there because you have no other choice.

        But he’s still way off target.

        Vietnam or not– not everybody is a hero. But we know that everyone who served IS.

        Read more: http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2013/03/c...#ixzz2PRhrSHnV
        SpouseBUZZ.com

        Comment


        • #49
          What about Nortn Vietnamese heroes, Japanese heroes, German Heroes?

          Originally posted by Fodder76 View Post
          Well if this isn't serendipitous timing I don't know what it. Be interesting to see how this thread pans out with reference to the points raised here.

          http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...58#post2510958
          Quote:
          McClellan bases his knowledge of the lack of heroism in veterans off his own experience in Vietnam.

          “I did nothing heroic. Nor did any of my close friends. But I knew people who did, and it devalues the real heroes to say that everybody was one,” he writes. “If everybody is a hero, nobody is.”

          I can see how he arrived at this conclusion. He’s saying that in a drafted military you are there because you have no other choice.

          But he’s still way off target.

          Vietnam or not– not everybody is a hero. But we know that everyone who served IS.

          Read more: http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2013/03/c...#ixzz2PRhrSHnV
          SpouseBUZZ.co

          A very strongly-held, but with respect, conventional point of view.
          McClellan is here no doubt refering in particular to the American 'experience' in Vietnam.
          However it is no doubt an arguement that many people would make about all 'our' veterans in any conflict, that is:
          if they served they were heroes.

          IF (and it is a big 'if' this early in the game) I run a tute along these lines in the future I'll be asked by the the academic(s) running the course (old cronies from my days at uni in the '70's as I Have explained) to make sure I raise the issue of the other sides heroes:
          North Vietnameses, V.C.
          North Koreans, Chinese communists
          Japanese, WW2 Germans (including Waffen SS!), Italians
          WW1 Germans
          Native Americans, Mexicans

          and that's just from an American perspective.
          What about all those opponents the other Western powers fought? Many fighting siply to defend 'their'' lands against Western colonial encroachment. Are they heroes?

          I'll be expected to point out that: if we have heroes..... well surely....so do 'they'?? OPen discussion up along these lines

          As I pointed out before:
          "Like Merlin said in 'Excalibur' (1980 movie not the curent manifestations on TV) Truth is the greatest virtue. "When a man lies he murders a part of the world."

          Gotta be careful with this issue."

          As I also said, tricky stuff and I've been out of the game for a long, long time. Nice to be asked for input again though.
          Regards lodestar

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by lodestar View Post
            Quote:
            McClellan bases his knowledge of the lack of heroism in veterans off his own experience in Vietnam.

            “I did nothing heroic. Nor did any of my close friends. But I knew people who did, and it devalues the real heroes to say that everybody was one,” he writes. “If everybody is a hero, nobody is.”

            I can see how he arrived at this conclusion. He’s saying that in a drafted military you are there because you have no other choice.

            But he’s still way off target.

            Vietnam or not– not everybody is a hero. But we know that everyone who served IS.

            Read more: http://spousebuzz.com/blog/2013/03/c...#ixzz2PRhrSHnV
            SpouseBUZZ.co

            A very strongly-held, but with respect, conventional point of view.
            McClellan is here no doubt refering in particular to the American 'experience' in Vietnam.
            However it is no doubt an arguement that many people would make about all 'our' veterans in any conflict, that is:
            if they served they were heroes.

            IF (and it is a big 'if' this early in the game) I run a tute along these lines in the future I'll be asked by the the academic(s) running the course (old cronies from my days at uni in the '70's as I Have explained) to make sure I raise the issue of the other sides heroes:
            North Vietnameses, V.C.
            North Koreans, Chinese communists
            Japanese, WW2 Germans (including Waffen SS!), Italians
            WW1 Germans
            Native Americans, Mexicans

            and that's just from an American perspective.
            What about all those opponents the other Western powers fought? Many fighting siply to defend 'their'' lands against Western colonial encroachment. Are they heroes?

            I'll be expected to point out that: if we have heroes..... well surely....so do 'they'?? OPen discussion up along these lines

            As I pointed out before:
            "Like Merlin said in 'Excalibur' (1980 movie not the curent manifestations on TV) Truth is the greatest virtue. "When a man lies he murders a part of the world."

            Gotta be careful with this issue."

            As I also said, tricky stuff and I've been out of the game for a long, long time. Nice to be asked for input again though.
            Regards lodestar
            Hi ls, I would never say there were no heroes,of course there was.I also would never say everybody was, because everybody most certainly was not! What I will say though is, the majority of blokes that have seen action do not look upon themselves as heroes.Very few of the men that find themselves in sticky wartime situations are on that spot from their own choosing,they are there because of a trick of fate and their respective War Offices.Therefore they attempt to do what is required of them, to the best of their abilities and breathe a sigh of relief later to find that they are still alive. Hero? No bloody way!! lcm1
            'By Horse by Tram'.


            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by joshualisec View Post
              I personally think that a "hero" is one who sacrifices himself for the lives of others, not one who simply enlists. A friend of mine experienced a TBI in Iraq and received the Bronze Star. He saved over 1,500 soldiers' lives from the IED's he found and destroyed. That's a hero. Another enlistee I know joined the US Army, worked as a paper pusher, and then cheated on his very pregnant wife with a 17 year old recruit. That's not a hero.
              That was one big ass IED....

              Comment


              • #52
                Use of term 'hero'

                Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                Hi ls, I would never say there were no heroes,of course there was.I also would never say everybody was, because everybody most certainly was not! What I will say though is, the majority of blokes that have seen action do not look upon themselves as heroes.Very few of the men that find themselves in sticky wartime situations are on that spot from their own choosing,they are there because of a trick of fate and their respective War Offices.Therefore they attempt to do what is required of them, to the best of their abilities and breathe a sigh of relief later to find that they are still alive. Hero? No bloody way!! lcm1
                Quite so.
                Exactly what my dad and other family members who served in both world wars told me when they were around.

                My inital question was if the 'democratization' of military history was making the term 'hero' less meaningful.
                I think the growing popularity of interest in the military past (if that's how you want to define democratization) and an icreasingly gringe-making 'tabloid' approach to surviving veterans has most definitely caused the term to become abused.

                Still wondering if I should encourage robust discussion about this in possible tutes as members of the younger generation are very, very sensetive and need to be handled so bloody carefully.
                Oh for the old days when a boots and and all approach could be taken and no one batted an eyelid!

                Regards lodestar

                Comment


                • #53
                  If you get into any kind of 'teaching' position again, it might be illuminating to start by asking your students (without putting it into a military context) who their 'heroes' are. And go on from that to examine how they explain their examples and have them define what 'heroism' is from their viewpoint.

                  And only after that, go on to discuss heroism in a military context.




                  Philip
                  "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    The word "hero" gets thrown around a lot and usually by insecure people who just wants to do something to get themselves noticed as good Americans. Their the ones who scream that certain soldiers should be awarded the Medal of Honor or make a scene when someone forgets to take their hat off when the National Anthem is played. I remember an article that was written a couple of years ago right after Shifty Powers of Band of Brothers fame died. The author writes about how he once meet Shifty and offered to carry his luggage at the airport, offered his seat on the plane to Shifty and to pay for his cab fare. When I finished reading the article it came across that the author was praising his own actions more than what Shifty had done.

                    If a soldier did his job no matter if it was charging a heavily fortified position or loading bombs on a plane than that is what counts.
                    “When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'.”
                    ― Groucho Marx

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                      Has democratization of World War histories made use of the term ‘heroes’ increasingly meaningless
                      Look maybe it’s just me.
                      Maybe the thought of going back to tertiary studies in a couple of years has simply made me deliberately look for provocative potential issues to ‘run’ with and to always question popular perceptions of issues
                      I stress, I (boy do I love that word …. ‘I’… it just kinda feels right whenever I use it….. bloody marvellous!) AM NOT repeat NOT posting this as a deliberate wind up or inflammatory diatribe.

                      But of late I’ve become increasingly uneasy with the widespread, almost arbitrary use of the term ‘heroes’ when the mass media (at least in the so-called ‘Anglosphere’) refers to the WWI and WWII ‘generations’.

                      It struck me most strongly in a recent visit to a local newsagency when I was pursuing the history magazine section.
                      There were three genealogical mags and each featured a cover and lead article on tracing family military. Each article had an emotive title along the lines of
                      “Tracing your World War II hero ancestors”, “Find your Great War family heroes” etc.

                      Other magazines peddle stuff something like: “The hero housewives of Bromley -by-Bow, how they faced butter rationing and working in factories”. Get the idea.

                      Anyone else find this stuff a bit galling?

                      Then there’s tabloid TV shows featuring segments that, for example in Australia, refer to anything whatsoever to do with World War II veterans as being about “our Aussie heroes”.


                      Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that we don’t honour men and women of the “greatest generation” (a very recent term by the way)
                      Just that the whole thing is getting out of hand,

                      Perhaps a personal anecdote may help illustrate what I’m getting at:
                      I remember clearly when visiting relatives in France some thirty years ago and we were discussing grand- uncles etc who had fallen in WWI.
                      I told them they surely must be really proud of the heroes.

                      They all looked a little aghast and responded, if I remember correctly with something like:
                      “Oh, hell no they weren’t heroes. Jean and Pierre just got machine gunned attacking some Kraut trench at Verdun.

                      Sebastian was killed when the Germans overran his platoon’s position in 1918.

                      A snipper got Etienne when he was cutting some bloody wire on the Somme.
                      Cripes just blokes doing their job. Nothing heroic!”

                      I was a little taken aback and didn’t pursue it but the story always stuck with me. Things have certainly changed and now days I suppose there would be an automatic assumption that these guys would be heroes.

                      What do other posters think?
                      Is the term ‘heroes’being overused?

                      Regards lodestar
                      I believe that it was Rene Quinton who said that "A hero is one who forgets himself for others". If that criteria is adequate, then the word still qualifies as a term to define- to varying degrees- those who serve in any nation's armed forces- but particularly if they've been caught up in a combat situation.

                      Is the word being overused? In my opinion, oh yeah. It's thrown around like confetti, but you don't see many people highballing it to the recruiting station to enlist. Most would rather make money than get shot at- hero or no. The hypocrisy's not new; it's just taken on a new level of meaning here in America. Can't blame the masses of the populace too much, though. They tend to follow the example set by our nation's leaders. How many members of Congress, or Hollywood actors and actresses are former members of the armed forces? A damn sight fewer than say, 50 years ago. Like I said- it's not new; it happened to the Romans too.
                      Sgt.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Let's start classifying our "heros".

                        IDK-- I grew up in the '50s and '60s and was a TC of an M60 tank in Germany at the old 'Iron Curtain'. "Hero" was not a word in our vocabulary, unless used in context of someone who had earned a Medal of Honour or something. Troopers who were 'just doing their jobs' were not considered 'heros'--that would've been laughable-- didn't matter if you were an armor crewman or a supply clerk.

                        Occasionally you'd see some Soviet soldier with about a ton of medals on his chest. He was given the official title "Hero of the Soviet Union". Now, I have no doubt that there were many true heroes amongst the Red Army, esp those who served in WWII, but I was a little bit skeptical when I started seeing so many of them. IDK what the criteria were for making the grade.

                        This new version of the term seems to have started around the time of the 9-11 attack. After that the 'hero' word started to be used very liberally. It's gotten so that our town's volunteer fire fighters are now our local "heroes" when they snuff out the odd grass fire or rescue a kitty from a tree. No disrespect to those fire fighters (or anyone else performing a valuable service) but when our one-time superlatives get overused it's time to recalibrate our nomenclature. We need to have some way to differentiate just how heroic a hero was/is.
                        How about varous classes of 'hero'? Couldn't we have "Sub-Heroes" or "Hero Third Class"? How about
                        "I Could Have Been a Hero If Only I'd Been Born in the '80s Instead of the '50s" Heros?

                        .
                        I miss The Cold War...

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          lodestar against the modern world

                          Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
                          If you get into any kind of 'teaching' position again, it might be illuminating to start by asking your students (without putting it into a military context) who their 'heroes' are. And go on from that to examine how they explain their examples and have them define what 'heroism' is from their viewpoint.

                          And only after that, go on to discuss heroism in a military context.




                          Philip
                          errr..... 'teaching' is too strong a term, just helping out, can't get ideas above my station and all.

                          Re your suggested approach of opening discussion with their definition and examples of heroes;
                          Yeah will do so, as well as raising other questions, especially as I pointed out:

                          "IF (and it is a big 'if' this early in the game) I run a tute along these lines in the future I'll be asked by the academic(s) running the course (old cronies from my days at uni in the '70's as I Have explained) to make sure I raise the issue of the other sides heroes:

                          North Vietnameses, V.C.
                          North Koreans, Chinese communists
                          Japanese, WW2 Germans (including Waffen SS!), Italians
                          WW1 Germans
                          Native Americans, Mexicans

                          and that's just from an American perspective.
                          What about all those opponents the other Western powers fought? Many fighting siply to defend 'their'' lands against Western colonial encroachment.
                          Are they heroes?

                          Like I said the tabloid approach has seriously dumbed down the roadshow.

                          Some Of my old cronies) say "It ain't like it used to be...but it'll do."
                          I say time to make things like they used to be.
                          I gotta get things back on track.
                          Time to do it right.
                          Time for true force.
                          Time for a new (old) kind of hero........
                          Time for lodestar.

                          Regards lode

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                            errr..... 'teaching' is too strong a term, just helping out, can't get ideas above my station and all.

                            Re your suggested approach of opening discussion with their definition and examples of heroes;
                            Yeah will do so, as well as raising other questions, especially as I pointed out:

                            "IF (and it is a big 'if' this early in the game) I run a tute along these lines in the future I'll be asked by the academic(s) running the course (old cronies from my days at uni in the '70's as I Have explained) to make sure I raise the issue of the other sides heroes:

                            North Vietnameses, V.C.
                            North Koreans, Chinese communists
                            Japanese, WW2 Germans (including Waffen SS!), Italians
                            WW1 Germans
                            Native Americans, Mexicans

                            and that's just from an American perspective.
                            What about all those opponents the other Western powers fought? Many fighting siply to defend 'their'' lands against Western colonial encroachment.
                            Are they heroes?

                            Like I said the tabloid approach has seriously dumbed down the roadshow.

                            Some Of my old cronies) say "It ain't like it used to be...but it'll do."
                            I say time to make things like they used to be.
                            I gotta get things back on track.
                            Time to do it right.
                            Time for true force.
                            Time for a new (old) kind of hero........
                            Time for lodestar.

                            Regards lode
                            What a lode of old cobblers!! lcm1
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


                            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              lodestar flummexed

                              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                              What a lode of old cobblers!! lcm1
                              Have you been talking to my wife and kids again?
                              That's what they say every time I say anything!

                              Regards lodestar

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                What about Nortn Vietnamese heroes, Japanese heroes, German Heroes?


                                What about them?
                                They have countries of their own. If they don't get the respect they deserve there, its a reflection on that nation, not my own.
                                And not necessarily a reflection on the Veterans themselves, either.
                                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                                -Captain Jack

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