March 27, 2014 at 3:02 am #3869
Article excerpt by Drew Gilpin Faust
The following is the original article excerpt. Afterword, I will add my comments:
In the middle of the 19th century, the United States entered into a civil war that proved bloodier than any other conflict in American history, a war that would presage the slaughter of World War I’s Western Front and the global carnage of the 20th century. The number of soldiers who died between 1861 and 1865, generally estimated at 620,000, is approximately equal to the total of American fatalities in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, combined. The Civil War’s rate of death, its incidence in comparison with the size of the American population, was six times that of World War II. A similar rate, about two percent, in the United States today would mean six million fatalities. As the new southern nation struggled for survival against a wealthier and more populous enemy, its death toll reflected the disproportionate strains on its human capital. Confederate men died at a rate three times that of their Yankee counterparts; one in five white southern men of military age did not survive the Civil War. Twice as many Civil War soldiers died from disease as from battle wounds, the result in considerable measure of poor sanitation in an era that created mass armies that did not yet understand the transmission of infectious diseases like typhoid, typhus, and dysentery.
These military statistics, however, tell only a part of the story. The war also killed a significant number of civilians; battles raged across farm and field, encampments of troops spread epidemic disease, guerrillas ensnared women and children in violence and reprisals, draft rioters targeted innocent citizens, and shortages of food in parts of the South brought starvation. No one sought to document these deaths systematically, and no one has devised a method of undertaking a retrospective count. The distinguished Civil War historian James McPherson has estimated that there were 50,000 civilian deaths during the war, and has concluded that the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II. The American Civil War produced carnage that was often thought to be reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time.
Comments by Danie Theron:
It is said that we can glimpse the future through the study of history. I think this is largely because certain behavioral traits and patterns are inherent to human nature. These behavior patterns and concepts tend to hold true throughout the ages and do not seem to be mitigated by technology. It also seems that certain cultures and societies will traditionally display either muted or magnified versions of those base behaviors.
With that in mind, consider that another civil war, or case of large scale unrest could see a repeat of this wholesale willingness of American’s to disregard societal norms of civility and kill or be killed wholesale. The nature of our people is brutish under the thin veneer of civility that our standard of living has allowed us to wear as a disguise. Make no mistake, a dire event will show this violent brute nature for what it is in quick fashion. The profound restraint of both the police and the protesters seen in the recent Ukrainian riots would bear no similarity to the enormous magnitude and quick escalation of violence that America would see given the right mixture of hardships. Generally, the Ukrainians have known hardship and sacrifice on the personal level and have a frame of reference for not wanting to go to the point of no return. Many in our society have no such understanding of those things and no ability to rationally conceptualize it. Their soft lives are lived free of physical sacrifice and fueled by the false reality of a steady diet of Hollywood and internet foolishness. Civil rights and patriotism are simply foolish Facebook memes for them as they sit nightly in their underwear staring at the electric circus. Be warned my friends, we are high on the pedestal here and any fall would be catastrophic in its effects.
The second point that I would like to make regarding the article is that during the Civil War, twice as many individuals died from disease then died from battle wounds. Any unrest of epic proportions in the future, would also see medical access unavailable and the same type of mortality situation begin to occur. It is one thing to operate in a system of numerous advanced battlefield trauma resources and another in a possibly filthy and unsanitary environment devoid of basic hygiene products. One would be well advised to take these things into consideration as they seek to prepare logistically and educationally for a potential large scale disaster.
So, to summarize, expect a large event to be highly violent with potentially vast amounts of casualties and expect medical care to become scarce and minimal. This will further compound the mortality rate as what are now small medical issues become life threatening. So, prepare your mind now. Calculate this into your future training and preparations as you see fit. Know what you need to have and what you need to do in this situation to maximize you and your people’s chance of survival.
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