Thursday, May 22, 2008

War and Bitter Irony - Natural Partners

Those who read my blog know that I periodically digress from the arts to project some thoughts germane to the history/mystery of human nature; so, do read on:
In 1942, the Americans initiated its first large - scale encounter with the Nazi; the location, North Africa.
Operation Torch, commanded by a then relatively lesser known Dwight David Eisenhower, was an operation designed to squeeze the Afrika Korps, directed by the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, out of North Africa, which would eliminate the threat to the Suez Canal.
And so, the Americans, heading towards Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, were not sure as to the status of the Vichy French (that portion of the French nation which collaborated with the Germans upon France's occupation); that is, would these French allow us to land in North Africa, or would they fight? The French fleet was berthed in this area, and the Allies simply did not know whether it would open fire or allow the invading forces to land on the beaches.
Sadly, the French let loose with its not insignificant firepower, and the Americans were forced to destroy the Vichy French - imagine; just two years hence, D-Day would be the day that the Allies would begin the liberation of France.
After the fighting ceased, and the Vichy French capitulated, the French and American dead would be buried side by side. The madness of and in War is indeed a constant component.
One reality on the brighter side - 1942 was witness to the tide turning against the Barbarian; namely, this particular campaign thwarted Hitler's aim to own the oil of the Middle East; also, the massive defeat of the Nazi at Stalingrad, by which about a half million Germans were taken prisoner as a result of both Operation Torch and Stalingrad; and finally, the destruction of the Japanese aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway, which forever ended the offensive operations of the Japanese Empire.
The burial of the Americans and French in the same cemetery is, however, for me. the most vivid aspect of all having been written here, as it demonstrably epitomizes the ultimate and undeniable madness of War and its inherent enormity.



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