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Post Mercenaries
Created by John Eipper on 12/08/16 2:00 AM

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Mercenaries (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 12/08/16 2:00 am)

John E proposed a WAIS discussion on mercenaries. This sounds interesting, but we have to be very careful about how we define "mercenaries," as not all the foreigners who fight in some other country do so for profit; probably the majority are motivated by principles.

Regarding mercenaries motivated by profit, look no further than the modern contractors used by a nation that does not want to use its troops for dirty or particularly distasteful jobs.

Some notable example of those fighting for ideals is the captain of grenadiers, the Count Santorre di Santarosa (Savigliano, Italy, 18 November 1783 - Navarino, Greece, 8 May 1825). He fought against Napoleon in 1800, and then hoping for the support of Prince Carlo Alberto of Savoy, he organized a mobilization to install a liberal constitution, but he was betrayed by the prince and had to go into exile.

When the Greek War of Independence from the Turks started, he moved to Greece at the end of 1824 and enrolled as a simple soldier. He participated in various battles, but was killed by Egyptians of the Ottoman forces when he was with the last defenders of the Island of Sfacteria in front of Navarino.

Italians went to fight also for the independence of South America.  Just remember the Division Montevideo and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

The oppressed Poles went all over to fight for the independence of other nations from the USA to Italy. They participated in the Italian wars of Independence, for example the great poet Adam Mickiewicz and Ludvik Mieroslawski. The Polish general Isenszmidt Miblitz partecipated with Garibaldi to unite the Kingdom of the two Sicilys into the new Italy.

Italian volunteers in turn participated in the Polish war of independence, such as Colonel Francesco Nullo (Bergamo 1 May 1826-Krzykawka 5 May 1863), who organized an Italian Legion and went to fight against the Russians. He died in battle, while Colonel Bechi ended up in front of a Russian firing squad. Other Italians returned to Greece for the freedom of Crete, while in 1870 the only French victory against the Prussians was at Dijon, thanks to the Garibaldini of Giuseppe Garibaldi.

We could cite many other examples. Even many of the so-called mercenaries of Congo were not fighting for profit but for an ideal.

JE comments: I wouldn't count any of the Romantic warriors as mercenaries. (To our list we should add Lord Byron in Greece, although he fell ill and died without seeing battle.) Dying for someone else's country, just because the cause is noble, no longer flies in the West.  The last hurrah of "romanticism" may indeed have been WAISworld's favorite war, Spain 1936-'39.

Among Islamists, as much as we find their cause loathsome, the internationalist ideal still holds.

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