By Basil Gala, Ph.D.
In Search of Meaning
Some of my happiest memories come to me from my years in Greece when I was a child and we had World War Two. School was often closed and we were free to gang up and play games with bullets, hand grenades and guns dropped by guerrillas or German soldiers. It’s true sometimes a kid lost a hand, an eye or worse, but our fun was worth it.
The war began for us on a fine note. The Italians fascists invaded Greece in 1941 from Albania, which they had easily conquered a few years earlier. The Greeks ceased to squabble among themselves and counter attacked with gusto. Papers and radio broadcasts were full of the war and victories of the glorious Greek army in the mountains. My father put up a map of Albania on the wall back of his desk at home and had pins moving on it towards the Adriatic as our brave soldiers chased the macaronis. Our celebrations ended when the German army quickly descended on us through Yugoslavia.
I was too little to know then that our German brothers were fighting to earn their rightful place in the world and to avenge the betrayal they suffered in World War One at the hands of Jews and Bolsheviks. They sought a fair share of colonies to exploit lands and people as the British, Spaniards, and French had done in past centuries when the Germans were divided and weak. The German race needed lebenstraum to expand eastward on soil occupied by subhuman Slavs and northwards to conquer and assimilate blond Aryans (as they was not a sufficient supply of pure blonds available in Germany).
It has been fashionable to blame the Germans, Italians and Japanese for WWII, without regard to their just claims. It’s all propaganda by Zionists and lying liberals. The Allies grievously shortchanged the Axis countries in agreements prior to the war. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who caused WWII; it was a good thing while it lasted and was enjoyed by all those who earnestly participated in its engagements. All wars are good, but some are better than others and many benefits accrue to humanity from them. We should accept human conflict, all fighting and bloodshed, as an integral and useful part of our nature as a species, provided that war on a large scale is properly controlled by world authorities and is not unduly destructive to valuable property and the environment.
War does indeed destroy valuable real estate, as it did in WWII in London, Stalingrad, Hiroshima, Berlin, and Dresden (a jewel of a city without military importance demolished in a firestorm of incendiary bombs). War is Hell; but peace is worse, otherwise nations would not break it so readily. Peace offers no excitement and no opportunities for quick gains at the expense of neighbors. Once the most destructive weapons, such as nuclear bombs, have been outlawed by world authorities, we can engage in war to our complete satisfaction without worry that the lands we conquer will be unusable.
War kills or maims women, children, and other living things; young men in the bloom of life die fighting. But some soldiers become heroes, their spirits forged into legends by brutal combat, so they ascend like Hercules, Siegfried (of the golden ring), and Mohammed (of the Koran) to the skies. Would we have an Iliad and Achilles without the Trojan War? And without wars we would have no Alexander the Great, Napoleon the Great, and Hitler with his One Thousand Year Reich.
It is suggested that sports do give us heroes and legends, like Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey. Sports are fine, but they do not offer enough bloodshed and profit, although superstars become millionaires. Admittedly, American football and boxing approach real combat for the players, but we in the stands go home to bed sloshing with beer and no richer than before the game. Compare any sport with the fighting of Cortez and Pizzaro with indigenous Americans. The Spanish brought home boatloads of gold. Moreover, they conquered lands and slaves for their plantations. Later, brave Englishmen, such as Sir Francis Drake, pirated the Spanish ships and made England and Queen Elizabeth rich and powerful.
England’s success led to envy and attacks on the British Empire from France and Germany until the British Empire set. A consequence of war is that it inevitably leads to further fighting as nations try to right the borders that were unjustly set by the victors. That is as it should be so that valuable conflicts may continue indefinitely. In 1453 The Ottoman Turks took Constantinople from the Byzantines, redecorated St. Sophia with minarets and renamed the city Istanbul. A few years later, after the end of WWI in 1917, the Greeks continued warring on what was left of the Ottoman Empire, retook The City and advanced on Ankara. The native Greeks in Asia Minor rose up and joined in the fighting. King Constantine and his generals were celebrated as great heroes, until Kemal Ataturk, an Albanian general, regrouped the Turks and defeated the Greek Army. The Turks butchered millions of Greeks–and Armenians who had also revolted against Turkish rule. My parents escaped from Turkey and came to Corfu, Greece, where they met, married and gave birth to me. It was all worth it.
War is worth all the sacrifices it demands from us because of the vast benefits it brings to us when we win. There would be no United States of America today if Europeans had not come to the continent and fought Indians and rattlesnakes for the land and its riches. Europeans cut down the forest stretching from Maine to Florida and set up farms to raise pigs and numerous offspring, who grew up to do the same Westward Ho.
That is so, because fighting is in our human genes–or at least male genes. Men charged up with testosterone do combat, hunting, fishing, bloody sports, hard liquor, tobacco and cutthroat business, although women have in recent years made substantial gains in such things. It is the way of our species from the time our ancestors lived in caves. Anthropologists have found human skulls in cave diggings with holes neatly punched suitable for sucking out the contents. Men believed when they killed and ate an enemy they absorbed his virtue. Today we know this is not true, but human flesh is a good source of protein. In Greek we sometimes say when we have won a game or a battle that we ate the opposition, or if we have lost, that they ate us.
Don’t be fooled by preachers of love and non-violence, such as Jesus, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.: they were sissies. Real men dare to fight and take what they want–land, riches, or women. Their hearts are tempered in struggle and they become nobler and better as they suffer greater hardships in their quest. The strong have always ruled and they will continue to do so forever. The strong survive and propagate widely. The conquering nation pillages and rapes weaker human groups and humans evolve to become more warlike and tougher.
We are not the only species that engage in warfare. Ants do it; crabs do it and chimpanzees too. Chimps eat meat (not only bananas): monkeys they circle and catch in the trees or gazelles on the ground they can surprise. The whole troop of chimps, except the babies, eats the bloody meat with relish and afterwards they sit in the trees and munch on leaves to aid digestion. A strong troop will sometimes attack a weaker one and those killed are eaten without ceremony.
There is no need to look at animal behavior to justify warring. Consider the Golden Age of Greece, the time of Pericles and Phideas, when the Parthenon was build, drama and literature flourished and democracy was born. The Greek city states were constantly competing and fighting with each other, except during the Olympic or Delphi games, which were simulated warfare. Italy divided and in constant military turmoil gave birth to the Renaissance, in the city states of Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence and others. Surely, the accumulation of wealth was necessary for the flowering of culture, but so were bloody competition, and a nobility of superior men in charge.
So we may return to the weapons before gunpowder, when man fought man with sword, spear and arrow. World government can forbid massively destructive weapons in combat. You can then prevail when you’re stronger and better trained, and not killed from a distance with a bullet or bomb. The time may arrive again of knights and honor, when a lord had his rights over serfs, taking to bed the serf’s bride on the night of her marriage and spreading his strong genes in the population. As matters go now, populations get weaker as defects are allowed to remain in the gene pool because we protect the weak, sick and inferior.
Compassion does not fit the warrior ethic. Progress is made with aggressive moves. Wartime is when inventions spring up most rapidly. The submarine, machine gun and telegraphy were developed in the American Civil War, the bloodiest up to that time in the history of the world. In WWII we saw the development of radar, computers, rockets and antibiotics. As humanity moves out into space and conquers other globes, we’ll forge the steel of our minds and bodies in perpetual wars with each other so can deal with hostile alien species and other vicissitudes of the universe.