Thursday, September 10, 2015

WW1: August Von Mackensen



World War One is that final gasp of the old world. You can see it even in the men leading the armies. They had a bit of flair. Proof of that lost flair might be the last American general with that color Douglas MacArthur who made an appearance late in WW1 with his riding crop saying "Old soldiers never die they just fade away". A man from the days of cavalry is pictured above with his totenkopf (death's head) sporting Hussar hat. One of those men with a bit of flair and firmly planted in the old world was August Von Mackensen.

I looked for a picture of Von Mackensen not looking like he walked off a movie set for tough, old German, but alas, it was impossible. His wikipedia page does not go into the detail of how successful his work was on the Eastern front in the Great War. Early in the war, the Germans did well while the Austro-Hungarians gave up territory to Russia. After leading well at Tannenberg, he was put at the head of an army in Poland. In 1915, he took hundreds of thousands of prisoners and pushed the Russians along the Great Retreat and disabled them as a fighting force. After securing Poland, he was sent to command in Romania. There he cleaned house and finished the war as a consul or territorial governor. Never making it to the Western front, he could claim to never have been beaten on the field of war at its end.

Weird thing was he was not a graduate of the war college. This caused some other officers to wonder if he was a holdover court general who received his command due to his personal relationship with the kaiser. He was a committed monarchist to his dying day, but his exploits on the field showed that he was no appointed lightweight. He was also a leader who respected his foes. After fighting the Serbians in as tough a battle as his men would face in WW1, he erected a small monument to the Serbians fighters, not just the Germans, who fought in Belgrade.

It might sound silly or superficial to bring up the idea of generals having a bit of personality and flair. In comparison to today's leaders, our military is run by company men. As much as we hate our current elite, a nation's elite reflects its society. Same goes for our military. It is the managerial revolution and bureacratic state swallowing the realm of the armed forces. This started long ago, and has been so thorough that our top brass has internalized the inclusive lingo of the Left. We would not see a Von Mackensen like that because no officer would even attempt to be the slightest bit eccentric.

6 comments:

sykes.1 said...

They should all be dressed in gray flannel suits.

Murray said...

Great post. That photo should humble most modern men. It certainly humbles me.


The managerial revolution and bureaucratic state has also swallowed the Catholic Church. With very few exceptions, our generals (bishops) are bland, timid company men who seek merely to accommodate themselves to the liberal state. Our bishops' conferences are lay-run bureaucracies passing out a steady stream of feminized mission statements and press releases. The revolution is total.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Excellent. I've long admired this chap's style. I have a blond mustache almost like his, but lack the hussar lid.

Check out the totenkopf symbol.

Aristocratic flair.

Magus said...

I got your aristocratic color right here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Fraser,_15th_Lord_Lovat

He went into DDay with an old hunting rifle and had his bagpiper play up and down the beach.

"Lord Lovat instructed his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe the commandos ashore, in defiance of specific orders not to allow such an action in battle.[13] When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”"

Germans captured after the battle were asked why they didn't shoot the man marching up and down the beach playing bagpipes in the middle of the battle. They said they thought he'd gone insane and it just didn't feel right.

craig said...

Yes, Lord Lovat. ""The mildest-mannered man that ever scuttled a ship or cut a throat."

Bit telling that in all the discussion about new and "improved" James Bonds, Lovat rated hardly a mention.

Deduction said...

I cannot really talk for the States but most British Generals are still pretty wacky. The culture is bureaucratic, risk averse and full of multikult cant but that is more a function of the Army being subordinated to the civil service and the fact that the Army must try to follow society, if at a distance. It is also not nearly as bad as the air force (where if you are not a pilot or a nerdy engineer you are the blue pill personified.)

The higher ranking American officers whom I have spoken with also seem pretty decent guys. That is a small sample though.

I guess you are right in your direction if not the degree. So many decent blokes I know, yes they are often a bit beta, seem to have got our society's message about what good thought is and what good thinkers should be thinking.

Some of the sociopathic lot have got that message to and ably fake it.

There seems to be an inevitability to the multikult. As if the ideas that came before must develop into it. It is the spirit of our age and every time an argument knocks it down, an institution resists or evidence disproves it...it somehow keeps on going.