Saturday, March 31, 2007

Less Ancient Wisdom

More interesting tidbits from the Royal Historian of the Round Table, Sir Jason...

"God give it to us to slay the enemies of the Jews for
the enemies of the Jews are the enemies of all
mankind"
- Orde Wingate

Churchill addressing the English people:

"This is your victory..."

Reply:
"No, it is yours."

British Admiral Cunningham refusing to abandon the
garrison on Crete:

"It takes three years to build a
ship, it takes three hundred to build a tradition."


Correspondant in North Africa: "The great problem in the mornings was to decide to make tea with the
shaving water or to shave with the tea."


"Kollaa still stands...": Finnish slogan of the Winter
War

"I wish the Russians had brought more machine-guns. We
could do with a few more."
- Finnish officer

"A war between Germany and Russia would be to the
advantage of the entire world. Germany is the only
state presently capable of destroying Russian military
power or at least considerably weakening it; nor would
the world greatly suffer should Germany be weakened in
the process."
- an unanswerably logical statement by the
Finnish President

"Such a nation has earned the right to live." - Finnish Field Marshal Mannerheim making a farewell speech to the Finnish people.

"We have no 'Jewish problem'" -
a magnificently snooty reply by the Finnish Prime Minister to Himmler's desire to "deal with" Finnish Jews.

8 comments:

  1. Sir Jason -

    I found the linked article on Orde Wingate extremely interesting. In particular, the following Wingate quotes remind me of similar statements of Alvin York.

    "Victory in war cannot be counted upon, but what can be counted is that we shall go forward, determined to do what we can to bring this war to the end we believe best for our friends and comrades in arms---without boastfulness or forgetting our duty, resolved to do the right, so far as we can see the right.

    "Our aim is to make possible a government of the world in which all men can live at peace and with equal opportunity of service."

    "Finally, knowing the vanity of man's effort and the confusion of his purpose, let us pray that God may accept our service and direct our endeavors, so that when we have done all, we shall see the fruit of our labors and be satisfied."


    I also found the link to Darbyism through his Plymouth Brethren upbringing an intriguing angle on his motivation, one that I hope to further explore.

    Sir Chuck

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  2. Oh, and the Finnish machine-gun comment is a classic...

    ...one that I doubt the Russians found humorous.

    :-)

    Sir Chuck

    ReplyDelete
  3. I also found the link to Darbyism through his Plymouth Brethren upbringing an intriguing angle on his motivation, one that I hope to further explore.
    ____________________________
    As I understand it is a rather stern
    and rigorous sect and Wingate got rather the full treatment. Which among other things explains his taste
    for Old Testament battle oratory. However though he sometimes seems like a caricature as such things are more complex. He had a number of reasons for helping the Jews including simply sympathy, as well as the believe that they in fact had greater prowess then many thought which would also redound to the Empire's interest.This was true as far as it goes but he did not allow for the fact that the Jews had no choice but to support the Empire, the Arabs had oil, oil was the Royal Navy and the Royal Navy was survival-and this explains the facinating though tragic "half ally-half enemy" relationship between the Yishuv and the Empire. His strange dual patriotism sometimes caused conflict of interest, he had a hard time with "nuances" and perhaps headquarters was right to transfer him for that reason.
    My favorite biography of him is the one by Syckes. John Bierman's contains the beautiful funeral ode by his sister("Oh my brother, fire in the night").

    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, and the Finnish machine-gun comment is a classic...

    ...one that I doubt the Russians found humorous.

    :-)

    Sir Chuck
    _________________________

    You can be sure, they found more then enough humorless things about Finland. The effect on Russia was like trying to slap a hornet with one's bare hands.
    The Finn's had a hardy and yeomanly population that placed a high prestiege on outdoor skill and shared with Israel(both the latter independant state and the Yishuv) a "civic militarism*" and a pugnaciousness which was sometimes frustrating, sometimes endearing and sometimes sublime.
    Also nationalism was keyed to a higher pitch in every country then and in a place like Finland where there was no margin for error there was more zeal for the common defense.
    Many of the weaker were stomped on as the Great Powers wrestled about. Finland escaped by it's bravery and skill-at-arms and of course ultimatly because God favored for whatever reason. Perhaps because of it also still possesed a fervent faith among many of it's population.
    God bless Finland the Valiant.

    *From the historian Victor Davis Hanson. Implies an undefined quality that includes a zealous and warlike militia spirit. Or as Sir Thomas Maculay put it

    Thine Roman is the Pilum
    Roman the sword is thine
    The even trench, the bristling mound
    The legion's ordered line

    Finland interestingly enough may have been one reason why Switzerland wasn't attacked-they also looked suspiciously like Finns at times.


    Sir Jason

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  5. Perhaps because of it also still possesed a fervent faith among many of it's population.
    _______________________________
    For some reason I always imagine them
    singing "A mighty Fortress" as they ski off to face the Russians

    Sir Jason

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  6. Thine Roman is the Pilum
    Roman the sword is thine
    The even trench, the bristling mound
    The legion's ordered line
    _________________________
    A rather bloodcurdling passage by the same author does best for Germany for it evokes both Germanies bravery(they were undoubtably brave and saying they weren't gives little credit to my grandfather who faced them among other things), and the evil of it's regime.

    When all the pack loud baying
    Her bloody lair surrounds
    She dies in silence biting hard
    Amid the dying hounds

    Sir Jason the lover of Victorian poetry

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  7. Good Finnish words from the Winter War:

    Sisu=Chutzpah

    Motti=stray chips from a sawmill=stray clumps of Russians cut off and stranded in the forest(not a pleasant thought)

    Suomi=Finnish submachine gun, bane of Russians(they would ski up to their campfires in the night, blaze away, then disappear like ghosts; the Finn's must have seemed like the creepy monsters of Eastern European legend to the Russians

    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete
  8. Molatov visiting Germany during an air raid: "If Britain is finished why are we in this shelter?"

    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete