Previous posts in this discussion:
PostMorale during US Civil War (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 06/25/19 5:35 am)
I agree with Cameron Sawyer's observations that Poles have had great military skills and successes. They have also produced some great scientists and mathematicians. However, I did see a video of Polish cavalry attacking a Panzer unit (tanks and infantry). Was that fake news?
John Eipper's comments on my 21 June post ("The US North had very low morale from McClellan's 'Peninsula' campaign  until Vicksburg and Gettysburg in July 1863. But this is my perception as a lifetime Civil War buff. How do you really measure morale?") made me realize that a nation may have low morale about a war but some sub-groups or individuals may concurrently have high morale. The term "morale" is used to represent the level of satisfaction of an individual with the whole situation; it is a group concept. The term "motivation" is more important to me because it is an individual concept: the willingness of a person to do his best to get something done. One can feel high morale (satisfaction with the situation) but not engage in whatever it takes to win the struggle.
Last, while the US nation had some morale problems, since JE is a Civil War buff, he knows that Grant when it comes to the US Civil War had a very high motivation to win from the beginning, before he was instrumental in conquering Vicksburg. He believed that Confederates were traitors for breaking up the nation, and needed to be put down.
JE comments: The New York City "Draft Riots" of July 1863, which caused 120 deaths, were perhaps the lowest point of Union morale. The ability of wealthy men to pay for a substitute gave fuel to the notion that it was a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight." Tragically, most of the rioters' rage was directed against African Americans.
Gary Moore has long studied mob violence. Gary, what insight can you give us on the NYC Draft Riots?
Polish Cavalry Charging German Panzers?
(Edward Jajko, USA
06/28/19 3:30 AM)
A response to Tor Guimaraes (June 25) and his, on the one hand, rather dismissive brush-off of the accomplishments of the land of my heritage (Poland) and, on the other, revival of a nasty canard from WWII on the basis of an alleged video of Polish cavalry attacking German tanks (which side made this supposed movie?): It's enough to make one wish to call down anathemas from God the Universe, were that possible.
If Tor wants videos on this subject, let him look on YouTube under "Polish cavalry against German tanks." For further information, let him look in Wikipedia under "Charge at Krojanty."
The initial responsibility for this canard lies in the hands of Italian journalists of the Fascist era, notably Indro Alessandro Raffaello Schizogene [!] Montanelli of Corriere della Sera, who jumped to a wrong post hoc, ergo propter hoc conclusion. He viewed the aftermath of the above-referenced battle and found dead uhlans and horses and clear evidence that tanks and armored cars had been in the fight. Ergo, the wrong conclusion, which was reinforced later in the memoir of Heinz Guderian.
JE comments: You cannot make up a name like Indro Alessandro Raffaello Schizogene Montanelli. Our own Tim Ashby is a distant relative of Heinz Guderian, and Cameron Sawyer has long been a student of his tactics. Did Guderian make the claim that the Poles charged his tanks with horses? Why would he write such a thing, especially after the war? It would hardly cloak his panzers in glory to admit they were effective against cavalry but useless when faced with Soviet T-34s.
Indro Alessandro Raffaello Schizogene Montanelli
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
06/30/19 4:46 AM)
Our friend Edward Jajko (28 June) seems rather annoyed by Indro Raffaello Schizogene (!) Montanelli. Ed even makes fun of the real surname of Montanelli--and this coming from a native of a nation famous for its unpronounceable names!
But Montanelli's mistake, shared by the "great" Shirer, may be understandable. Italian public opinion, from Mussolini down to the last citizen, had a great liking for the Poles and later for the Finns, to whom arms were sent and volunteers came forward.
Do not forget that during WWII Italy was the only country that really was friendly towards Poland and unselfishly tried to help. Consider Mussolini's letter to Hitler, open borders for refugees, money sent through Ms Frassati, a friend of Mussolini, married to the Polish diplomat Gasvronski. Such acts were a great irritation to the Third Reich.
However if the the Polish government was not foolish enough to order a charge against German Panzers on horses, it nonetheless after the death of Pilsudski embarked on a foolish campaign against Germany (and the USSR), even printing maps of the new hoped-for borders going back to nine centuries earlier and the time of Bolelasw I Chobry. It moreover claimed to be able to reach Berlin within a fortnight. On top of this, add the persecution of the German minority (or ex-majority) in some areas. Of course it is now politically correct to forget these things.
Montanelli was generally a good journalist who also wrote some history books (very light). He was not a dedicated fascist. After the war he might have been considered a European liberal and for that he was shot and injured by the Red Brigades. Interestingly, he married a 14-year-old Eritrean girl (he was 26). She then became the wife of one of his Eritrean soldiers.
Theoretically Edward is correct about the United Kingdom united by the monarchy, but in practice it is now more a "disunited" kingdom kept united by some old medieval tradition that however has a good record of integration of foreigners (Germans).
JE comments: It was the "Schizogene" part that took Ed Jajko aback, methinks. Wikipedia tells us that Montanelli tried to write with a "milkman from Ohio" as his intended audience. I take this to mean simply and clearly. Today he might reference Joe the Plumber, another Everyman from Ohio. (There aren't many milkmen left.)
Eugenio Battaglia brings up the matter of Polish provocations to Germany. I've always thought of this as Nazi propaganda to justify the invasion, but is there any substance? Granted, even if you print a map of a medieval "Greater Poland," it doesn't warrant starting a war.
- Anti-Black Violence: Cincinnati 1841 (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 07/02/19 3:14 AM)
Gary Moore writes:
John Eipper considerately asked me to contribute on the subject of violent
public feelings (riots and morale) in the North during the American Civil War.
Rather than looking at the war's well-known draft riots, I'd like to point out
some neglected bellwethers: a string of largely anti-black riots in the booming
Cincinnati area in the 1830s-1850s. One reason: these may involve perhaps
the first documented instance of a written ethnic cleansing plan in the nation's
troubled racial history. Another reason: a shocked eyewitness (looking down
on a burning city from the Ohio River bluffs) was Harriett Beecher Stowe,
the fulcrum of the century a few years later when she wrote Uncle Tom's
Beneath the polemics and hagiography on the Civil War, one of its mysteries
is how Northern opinion so suddenly turned anti-slavery, so intensely. As late
as the 1820s, abolitionists in the North were widely viewed as sentimentalist
fanatics oblivious to the value of national unity, and were mobbed and denounced.
Northerners doing so included some reverse sentimentalists along the lines of
Pittsburgh's Stephen Foster ("Way down upon de Swanny Ribber..."), who idealized
plantation life, but many vaguely envisioned slavery as being only an obnoxious
national wart, not worth the cost of removal. Meanwhile, slavery was explosively
growing, as Northern and European manufacturing advances demanded cotton for
fabrics. Waves of pioneer planters pushed west, mass-buying so many slaves for
new empires that trader-speculators were said to break up perhaps one in three slave
marriages in the old settled regions. The occasional smuggling ship was still bringing in
Africans (the Middle Passage had been outlawed since 1808), and movements like the
Knights of the Golden Circle, unsung precursor of the as-yet-unborn Klan, made it
clear that Southern hopes for a newly conquered slave imperium as far south as
Panama and across the Caribbean (the Golden Circle) were very real and serious.
The sources of this picture are all the more credible by their rejection of some of
the more flagrant anti-slavery myths, such as supposed clandestine "stud farms"
for depraved breeding.
In the middle was "the Queen City of the West," Cincinnati, trading with slave-owners
in Kentucky just across the Ohio River and beginning to divide explosively over large numbers
of slaves escaping north. The Cincinnati riot of 1841 targeted a neighborhood housing such
arrivals, accused as a crime nexus, with a tumultuous vigilante-style meeting prior to
the riot producing a morbid scrap of paper showing how the neighborhood was to be erased.
In the event, the rioters (disowned by many other whites) used a six-pounder cannon in efforts
to seek their goal, but fell short, as mob fantasies often do when tested against resistant
reality. The gun boomed through the nighttime glare of flames that could be seen from high
on the bluffs where Harriet Beecher Stowe then lived. The family compound was at Lane Seminary,
run by her distinguished father Lyman Beecher, both an abolitionist and a vehement anti-Catholic, who accidentally helped incite the burning of the Ursuline Convent in Massachusetts
in 1834. The national landscape of passions and demonizations (i.e., "morale") was
a complicated morass.
And now fast-forward from Stowe to a figure of later fame, militia colonel John Chivington,
who, while the Civil War still raged, led a Colorado massacre targeting peaceful, pro-settler Indians,
in this case the Black Kettle faction of the Cheyenne. Chivington was tried and came to be nationally
loathed, but his past before his 1864 massacre was somewhat obscured. He had been a
dedicated Unionist, and he hated the institution of slavery, giving up a career as a preacher
to join the Union army to help stamp slavery out. The westernmost fastnesses of the Civil War in
New Mexico remembered Chivington as a hero, but forgot that he won the 1862 Battle of Glorieta
Pass by a massive supply-line massacre--in this case of Confederate pack animals, apparently hundreds
of them. War is brutal and transport is an established target, but Chivington seemed to be followed
by a penchant for mass solutions, in somewhat the same vein as the racial cleansing plan of
Cincinnati in 1841. As the Civil War neared, Northern opinion was making its tectonic shift,
to reclassify slavery as a national toxin that must be purged--though many hated it more as a
supposed Old World-style patrician ploy that would undermine the white American working man.
Hence there was ambivalence toward the actual individuals caught in its grip, the slaves.
The never-dying idea that the Civil War was actually waged for nefarious Northern economics
ignores this vast landscape of passions. John Chivington and Harriet Beecher Stowe are only two
of the individuals reminding that human sympathies, in all their convolutions, are not always
as neat as the conspiracy theories.
JE comments: Cincinnati now celebrates its front-line abolitionist past with the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, but there are many blotches of racism in the city's history. A quick question for now, Gary: is the "morbid scrap of paper" that inspired the 1841 mob action still extant--or at least, do we know what it said?
- Anti-Black Violence: Cincinnati 1841 (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 07/02/19 3:14 AM)
- Indro Alessandro Raffaello Schizogene Montanelli (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 06/30/19 4:46 AM)