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They shall not grow old

I have always been enamored to war.

It is different from being in love with war. I never disliked war, considering it a tool in the instrument of politics or policy making. In that I am more in line with what Clausewitz had in mind. But my fascination for war and especially conventional modern warfare (WW1, WW2) has only increased.

I remember picking up Zhukov's Memoirs and Konev's war diaries when I was in Class IX. Then I devoured von Manstein's Lost Victories, Achtung Panzer by Guderian, Keitel's War Memoirs, Stuka Pilot by Hans Ulrich Rudel and so on. In addition, I have extensively studied about war strategy - all that is available in the public domain - from economics of warfare to Manstein's favorite sickle cut, from Beweigungkreig to Deep penetration Warfare and Cold Start doctrines. In all these accounts the individual glories of generals, and officers or political figures reigned supreme. They never claimed otherwise, but the grim realities of war escaped me.

Movies were another way I could consume war. I watched practically every (and I mean every) critically acclaimed work of art on war related to the Second World War. I am deeply aware of the destruction of the Jews, the systematic meat grinder on the Eastern Front where the Titans (Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) clashed, the kamikazes flew their lives in the wind and so on. But even then the impact on a single person (as opposed to a unit/company/battalion or a ethnic/national group) was lost on me.

Then I came across this small clip from a documentary where the director has carefully colored the old existing authentic video recordings of the first Great War.
The name of the documentary is the same 'They shall not grow old" - a fitting title.

In another related video, I saw this rather appropriate comment.
I am not squemish. Even the most pacifist movies with war related themes have not moved me an inch from the previously held beliefs that war - at times becomes necessary. But we should be aware of the costs. We should value peace and be grateful for it. We should also steel ourselves so that in the future when war comes (it always finds a way) we should be, as human beings, remain steadfast in our duties and not entirely abandon all compassion and common sense. 


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