The Influence of Culture on Military History

Discussion in 'World History' started by carmen510, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

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    Has there ever been incidents where specific works of culture have influenced military events? And I don't mean cultural zeal, or the wish to spread their nationality to other places. I mean something like France and Italy going to war over the Mona Lisa.
     
  2. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    I have no idea, but I'm sure those renaissance italian nobles would be capable of doing it, considering how seriously they took the status of their courts.
     
  3. BaneBlade

    BaneBlade Prince

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    The decision not to fight in Paris ect. in WW2 is kind of an opposite example.
    Not fighting to preserve cultural works.
     
  4. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    The US decision not to bomb some of the most obvious Japanese historic sites in WWII.

    Afaik there were instances in the Chinese civil war when the PLA made sure not to blast holes in ancient city walls at the spots where building of great historic and cultural importance were located.

    Then there is all the history of blodshed over Jerusalem. Seems like a prime example of cultural reasons for fighting to me. The Crusades definately could be cast as all about capturing The Holy Sepulchre.

    People tend to fight over symbolic things often as not. If it's a "cultural work" carrying some kind of specific symbolism then they will fight over that. I mean, the WTC and Pentagon weren't targeted on 9-11 out of a mere whim.
     
  5. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    Yeah well, that one lands rather squarely in Philippe Pétain personally. He wanted to end the fighting since he was aghast over the dustruction wrought on the French towns touched by the war. (Which in retrospect was very minor compared to the kind of destruction later meted out.)

    The PM Reynaud wanted to fight over Paris, so did de Gaulle, but Pétain managed to sway the rest of the cabinet as to the futility of continued resistance, and made Reynaud resign.

    Where does a situation like that go from being about "politics" and become one of "culture"?

    And the decision not to fight over Paris was a military one as well. "With what?" was a legitimate question to the suggestion Paris be fought over by the French in 1940. The positioning of the remaining French army in relation to the Germans bearing down on the capital pretty much meant there was no one to defend Paris anyway.

    There rarely are "pure" cultural, military or political reasons anyway. They tend to come all rolled together.

    As for the preservation of Paris there might be a better case for the "cultural angle" in 1944, when the Germans had the explosives planted and Paris all wired to be blown to Kingdom Come, but never threw the switch.

    Apparently the demolition expert von Choltitz had been A-OK with levelling Warsaw without compunction, but he got cold feet at the prospect of doing the same to Paris. The clincher would seem to have been a phonecall to his superior General Hans Speydel (one of two generals directly subordinate to Rommel), where Choltitz was asking Speydel to give the go-ahead and order him to blow up Paris, and Speydel, who had lived and studied there, looked at his 18th c. prints of Paris street life over his desk, and withheld the order. (Eventually in the late 1960's Hans Speydel became Commader in Chief of all NATO forces in Europe.)
     
  6. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    The horse culture of the mongolian steppes influenced war across all of Asia.
     
  7. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Really its hard to find an example where culture DIDN'T influence military history, from the influence of neo-confucianism on the marching speed of Japanese infantry, to Southern battlefield tactics in the Civil war, nearly everything in military history is touched by culture.
     
  8. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

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    Park: I'm looking for a war in which a specific cultural OBJECT was fought over.
     
  9. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Ah, I apologize then.
    Can't think of any at the moment.
     
  10. sydhe

    sydhe King of Kongs

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    You mean the Romans fighting to recover their lost eagles.

    Sultan Bayazid II sent the blade of the Holy Lance* to Pope Innocent VIII to keep his brother Cem prisoner.*

    *The one from Constantinople. There were at least four of them. It was a miracle.
     

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