For the most of history, man has been associated with various conflicts, wars, and battles all with the aim of acquiring a leverage of other people. The objective of this research is to conceptualize about historical battles and their implications on the soldiers who fought during the wars. The brave men who take part in the battles lose their lives or end up traumatized from the incidences they witness. Conflicts are typical representations of human nature since individuals desire certain things that cannot be enjoyed holistically through sharing. Therefore, a rivalry develops between the people and they seek different means to eliminate their competition. The wants are the primary causes of historical battles to conquer lands, maintain a strong political image, gain natural resources, fight for rights, etc. The wars have reduced in the modern world due to various humanitarian initiatives that seek to preserve life. Historically, individuals had contrasting perceptions where they valued death for a greater cause or particular benefits.
Soldiers gave accounts of their experiences during the wars. They believed in the saying given by Geibel that the only thing mightier that a person’s destiny is his or her ability to face fate unflinchingly. The men were used to fighting for their countries such that they could even predict those that would lead to many causalities and the ones that would pass quickly. For example, in the March Towards the East, the German army was sure that the battle with the Soviet Union would end quickly just like the ones they fought with Poland and France. Conflicts had harsh implications on the civilians who lived in the countries. They still do. Many innocent people get caught up in the crossfire of politics amongst leaders. They lose their lives and livelihoods. Poverty becomes a constant issue for the citizens because their lifestyles are derailed by the battles (Bidderman, 8).
The environment also suffers from the wars since each side attempts to outshine the other in terms of weaponry. The accounts given by the German soldiers in the March Towards the East of ashes and smoke, craters, and scorched areas all of which are handiworks of bombs. Their match from their country towards Russia for a battle is filled with different experiences and scenes. All of the events are an outline of the harmful effects of battles on the soldiers and civilians. They were the depiction of the armies’ attempts to win a battle for their home country. The experience made them feel sorry for the innocent citizens whose lives were tarnished by conflicts. They encountered hungry children, the Red Cross, cemeteries where fallen military men were buried, and tracts of land that were now disfigured by war incidences.
The match was instigated by the communism that had developed in Russia. The leader, Stalin, had even made people give up their religious beliefs presenting himself as Christ. Children in school were taught to address Stalin as the savior of Russia. As the German army matched on listening to the stories of the horrors in Russia, they knew they were lucky not to have been born in the nation (Duffy, 59).
The German soldiers observed all the critical aspects of Russia with curiosity since the war was just a few days away. They evaluated the lands, machines, and people to identify the Russian’s weaknesses and strengths. The strategy enabled them to use an offensive that overtook the defense of the Soviet Union. The German’s first clash with Russia secured a victory for them though losses were experienced on both sides. However, their excitement was overshadowed by the desire to vacate the prolonged battle.
The harsh realities of the war accompanied by the loss of counterparts drove many soldiers towards religion because they felt vulnerable due to the mortality. They lived with the fear that tomorrow could be the day they pass on. The men also had horrifying images of blood and dead corpses that stuck in their minds even after the war ended. The religious leaders offered a voice of comfort and reassurance for those who suffered from mortal wounds. The army supplies were also running low exposing them to tough conditions that limited their ability to fight (Bidderman, 11).
According to Duffy (64), the battle between Germany and Russia was quite difficult with both nations expressing a strong front. Germany preferred to surprise their enemy and weaken their armies. For example, during the Leningrad, they attempted to capture the Russian city by starving the members into submission to avoid inflicting more causality. The method was used by various countries to exhaust their enemies and weaken the defenses. The Russians; however, proved that the technique was ineffective by maintaining their determination and keeping an adequate supply of food that lasted them throughout the starvation process. For the Germans, the event at Leningrad appeared as a costly battle of attrition, an initiative that depleted their resources. The Soviets took advantage and launched an offensive attack to block the positions of the German army. The strategy foiled the attempts by the Germans to capture the city. Due to the poor military techniques and preparations, the deaths and injuries recorded during the war were exceedingly high.
The deadly combat presented an opportunity for the Germans to capture Gaitolovo through a connection of elements and the exemplary leadership of Hauptmann Schmidt combined with the bravery of the soldiers in the face of constant attacks from the enemy. For his leadership, Schmidt was given the Knight’s Cross. The win renewed the spirits of the Germans, and they set out to accomplish whatever they desired. The armies held a lot of respect for the priests amongst them who were always on the move with rucksacks to give the soldiers food. They also assisted the wounded regardless of the constant exposures they faced from physical and front risks.
The third battle occurred in Courland under the Grenadier Regiment. The feat had approximately eight hundred barrels with a deadly combination of mortars, rockets, and heavy artillery. The German division suffered many losses and fell victim to Russian machine guns and artillery batteries. They were forced to give up some of the territories they had concurred to avoid annihilation. The soldiers were tired of witnessing more people dying; hence, they opted to surrender to save lives (Bidderman, 13).
Another renowned battle was the Italian conflict that involved five armies in the 1940’s. Richard Holmes narrates the story of the battle in the country. He says that there is a sharp difference between a soldier’s encounters in the First and Second World Wars. The former was more of an army’s conflict as compared to the latter. The battle in Italy was an ancient form of war unlike what we witness in today’s modern world where the military has tanks, ground-attack aircraft, and strategic bombers.
The fight started when Germans set foot in Italy and ended with their resounding surrender. The war was one of attrition that aimed at wearing down the strategic reserves of the Germans. The technique used by Italy was unduly severe and profitable. The five armies that took part in the battle were the Polish, German, British, Americans, and French. Several sociologists did not agree with the terms used by the Italians suggesting that the army is not a democratic element. They argue that democratic aspects during a conflict bar the efficiency of the military (Holmes, 38).
Despite heavy artillery and long years of experience in battle used by the five armies in Italy, they could not subdue Italians because of the rough climate and terrain in the country. The militaries were forced to struggle as they tried to fight with people who were used to the conditions. The aspect presents another difficulty soldiers face during the war since they have to adjust themselves according to new climate and environment. The armies in the Italian War also had trouble with their leadership. The battalion chiefs had a tendency not to avoid sacrifices for the common good. They were driven by the urge to be the best and secure a win for their country regardless of the lives lost. Also, the five armies were not united under a similar cause of eliminating the enemy. They found each other irritating and difficult to handle.
The battalions also known as the Allies enjoyed commanding the skies and piling large amounts of ammunition. However, due to inefficient communication lines, their attempts appeared indecisive. The technique of attrition used by the Italians led to psychiatric effects on the soldiers from the Allies because of physical deprivation and exhaustion. The war left a collection of memories amongst the survivors that made the victory taste bitter (Holmes, 45).
After the first successful offensive of Russia against Germany, they were left dealing with different emotions. Hence, panic and optimism arose when they heard that the Germany was conjuring another attack in Moscow. It was hard to classify the feelings of Russians soldiers because they appeared to be in a rollercoaster where one time they were extremely optimistic, and later on, depression struck. Grossman was a writer during the war who attempted to evaluate the physical and emotional conditions in the Russian army. He attributed the psychological turmoil to the propaganda instituted by incompetent leadership. Grossman visited a tank controlled by General Khasin to understand the lives of the soldiers from a better perspective. A soldier approaches war without any fear believing that death is an inevitable circumstance. Through this, the individual can be at his or her best stature while fighting. War is viewed as an art that consists of elements of experience, cool knowledge, and participation combined something irrational, chance, and inspiration (Grossman and Christensen, 25).
The soldiers have learned to sleep through noises just to get a well-deserved rest before resuming their tasks. The conditions are not comfortable, but they do not have any choice. They also have the moral obligation to drag not only those who are injured but also those who are killed during the conflict. The phenomenon affects their emotional well-being. Khasin believed that bullets did not hit the brave men. One requires a lot of courage to take aimed shots during a war. He ensured that the soldiers’ riffles were checked before and after the battle. If no shot was fired using the gun, the soldier was considered a deserter. The fear of the Russians was well grounded since Hitler was preparing a massive offensive to capture the oilfields in the country. For the Russian militaries, the only way to save themselves and their land was launching an attack on the Northern armies which was not successful since they were outnumbered by their rivals (Grossman and Beevor, 76).
The historical analysis of the battles enables the nations that lost during the wars to realize their weaknesses and formulate better strategies. Those who emerged victoriously can either create better military techniques or stick to their secrets. The evaluation also sheds more focus concerning the difficult conditions that armies have to handle. Most occurrences remain engraved in their minds deeply even after the wars end. The accounts given by the soldiers portray a determined lot that focused on winning the battles despite the difficulties they underwent. The fallen heroes will always be remembered in their respective countries for their bravery and loyalty to preserve the traditions (Grossman and Christensen, 42).
Historical battles are a unique way of learning about the events that led to the present situations in different regions and their implications for the people. They learned to accept death and consult religious leaders for guidance. However, the violent methods should not be the first form of resolution for national wars. People should first negotiate to institute favorable terms before resulting in violence because it leads to the loss of brave individuals who would have benefited the country in other ways.
Bidderman, Gottlob. In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front. New York: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
Duffy, Christopher. Red Storm on the Reich: The Soviet March on Germany 1945. New York: Routledge.
Grossman, Dave and Christensen, Lorren. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace. New York: PPCT Research Publications, 2007.
Grossman, Vasily and Beevor, Anthony. A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army. Amsterdam: Knopf Canada, 2011.
Holmes, Richard. The Italian Job: Five armies in Italy, 1943-45-Richard Holmes, in Time to kill: the soldier's experience of war in the West, 1939-1945. London: Pimlico, 1997.