Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Futility of War
On this the ninetieth anniversary of the end of the Great War it's impossible not to reflect upon the human cost of war and to remember those young men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
It got me thinking about the casualties in the Napoleonic Wars and so I did a little research. Did you know that one in twenty of the men in active service were either killed or injured in the conflict? One in twenty!
Those that survived the battlefield were more likely to perish in what passed for hospitals. Conditions were grim, hygiene non-existent and unsurprisingly disease was rife. Five and a half thousand officers lost their lives in the wars. A huge number until you compare it to the 84,000 other ranks who also perished. OF those in the army 25,500 died in conflict but a massive 200,000 who survived the battlefield subsequently lost their lives as a result of their injuries. Amputations without anesthetic were commonplace and one surgeon boasted that he could cut off a man's leg in little more than a minute!
It ought to have been enough to put an end to war forever but we don't seem to learn from our mistakes.
On a brighter note, we still have Sean Bean and his fellow actors to bring to period alive for us and, thankfully, Sean didn't meet a nasty end - well, not in any of the episodes I watched, anyway.