Maybe Satan just needs to eat a Snickers. Or maybe he's like the lion in that fable about the mouse and the lion were the lion is a jerk until the mouse pulls a thorn out of his paw. Maybe Satan just has a really bad splinter that's beginning to fester.
Or, maybe he has hemorrhoids and is constipated at the same time. I bet that would hurt.
Or, maybe he really wan't one of those burritos from Taco Bell that has the flaming hot Fritos in it that they don't make any more.
Or, he could just be a dick who takes pleasure in the suffering of others. Like that guy who eats kimchi on the subway while farting non stop with Milli Vanilli blasting on his boom box. I hate that guy.
Today is Tell The Truth Tuesday. And so I'm going to tell you the truth about yesterdays post. And boy, am I going to enjoy this....
The truth is, it was a lie. Elephants are not the reason Alexander left India. In fact, the elephants he encountered didn't even cause him much trouble. The were a shock the first time his army saw them, but that shock quickly wore off. These were highly trained combat veterans, remember.
One of the things that made the Greek phalanx so deadly was the fact that is was a group of tightly packed men who linked their shields. This made for an almost impenetrable wall. "But puny men holding flimsy shields wouldn't stop an elephant!" you're yelling at me now. And you're right, they wouldn't. But you have to remember, the men that made up the phalanx were armed.
While they all had their swords, at the beginning of an engagement, the common tactic is to send your cavalry in to break up the defensive formations. To counter that, the men of the phalanx all carried 18 foot spears that they poked out in between the shields. Every row of men had a spear. That means that once the first row of spears was broken, there was another row. And then another. And another. And another. An attacker would have to get through about 10 rows of spears before being able to attack the first rank of men who now had their swords at the ready. And as the first ranks of men died or were knocked out of line, the men in the back had their spears come into play.
It doesn't matter how well trained an elephant is, it will not charge into a line of spears more than once. And the truth is, they never got the chance. Usually what happened is, the elephants encountered the spears and flinched. When they flinched, they stopped. This gave the archers a chance to do what archers do. And Alexander had a lot of archers. They killed the elephant riders. (contrary to popular belief, they didn't try to kill the elephants right away. They wanted them wounded and scared) Once the rider was dead, no one was controlling the elephant. Put yourself in the elephants shoes; in front of you, mean men with poky sticks make you owie! Behind you, freedom and no owies!
The wounded elephants, as soon as they lost their handlers, would turn and run back through their own lines to get away. This had the effect of breaking up the formations of the attacking forces. The Indians learned that you don't send an elephant against a phalanx.
The real reason Alexander left India was; his men. They refused to fight on. They had been campaigning for years by this time and they were tired and they wanted to go home. The jungles of India with all the heat and humidity and mosquitos pushed the men over the edge. To prevent a mutiny, Alexander went home. Well, he started for home. He never made it. Official records say he died from fever after an all day binge drinking session in Babylon. Chances are he was poisoned, though.
tl;dr, I lied. And so did all your history classes because fleeing from elephants is easier and more entertaining than the truth.
Wow....that was a lot of history for a Tuesday morning, huh? Too bad we're not done yet.
Todays oddity is a real case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. And it involves soldiers and doctors and nurses who served in the Finnish army during World War Two.
One of the lesser known areas of conflict in WWII was in Finland. After Stalin and Hitler signed their non-aggression pact and split up Poland, Stalin decided it was time to attack Finland to exact some revenge for a defeat at some point in the past. Plus, it was a land grab. This was to be known as 'The Winter War'. Finland did a fairly good job of stopping the Soviets with a minimal loss of territory.
When Hitler launched his attack against the Soviets, Finland decided to get it's territory back, so they sided with Germany. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?
Before you get the wrong idea about the Fins, they spent the war defying Hitlers demands about how they run the country. Hitler couldn't do much about it because he needed Finland to stay on his side to protect his northern territories.
And for a few hundred Finnish soldiers, that was a very good thing. You see, fighting in the Finnish army were *GASP* people of the Jewish faith. They had mostly fled Russia in 1917 during the revolution, and were never really trusted by their neighbors. So when the chance to fight in the Finnish army against the Soviets, most of the jewish population jumped at the chance. If nothing else, it would show they were loyal to Finland.
And it worked. When German commanders found out there were jews serving in the army, they tried to get the Finns to adapt the German method of dealing with them. The Finnish commander told them to go to hell. If a jew fought for Finland, the the Finnish army would fight for their jews. These were Finnish citizens and they weren't subject to German rules.
In their defense, not every German soldier who fought in WWII was a Nazi. Most of the common soldiers weren't. Many of them who fought along side the jews treated them like any other person. However, many of the German officers were Nazis and they weren't happy about there being jews in the Finnish army. But since Finland was a remote outpost compared to the main fighting against the Soviets, they needed the Finnish army to continue the fight, otherwise the Soviets would have steam rolled all over them.
As the fighting went on, three Finnish jews preformed acts of bravery that the Germans thought worthy enough to award them Germanys highest award: The Iron Cross. All three refused the award.
The acts of the Germans against the jews was known to the Finnish jews. They all had heard the stories, or had relatives who were in German controlled areas.
There are many who questioned how they could help the Germans knowing what they did about how the Nazis were treating their people.
None of the jews who fought against the Soviets said they fought with the Germans. They will tell you they fought a common enemy and that was it. As the Nazi protocol for the jews of Europe changed from segregation to confinement to extermination, Heinrich Himmler himself travelled to Finland to have a discussion with the Finnish prime minister about 'The Jewish Question'. The prime minister told Himmler "We have no Jewish question.". When Himmler visited the commander of the Finnish army about the disposition of the jews he had serving, he told Himmler "As long as there is a jew fighting in my army, they will not be deported!".
At the time of WWII, Finland was still recovering from their own civil unrest. They knew that if the gave in to the Nazis on their jewish population, the rest of the country would see it as a weakness in the government. They knew they had to protect every single Finnish citizen. And although Finland had their share of antisemitism, for the most part, no one saw any jews. All they saw were Finnish citizens.
And that's the way it should be.
Ok...I'm done preaching history for today. But you never know, you might get another dose of it tomorrow. Or maybe not. Who knows. I do. I'm not going to tell you, but I know. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow to find out. So my dear friends, adieu until the morrow......