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.