On war, and elites

10 Nov

Simon Brooke discusses the relationship between the commons and the elites when it comes to modern war.

Radical Independence Dumfries & Galloway

By Simon Brooke

Wars are not won by elites. Or, to be more precise, twentieth century wars were not won by elites. From the middle of the bronze age to the end of the medieval period wars were, more or less, won by elites – for very long periods an elite warrior, equipped with the best armour and the best weapons of the time, was able to slaughter the peasantry almost with impunity. That’s why the epic battles of both Scotland’s and England’s national myths – Bannockburn and Agincourt respectively – were each in their time so shocking: largely elite armies were defeated – at Bannockburn by careful choice of terrain, at Agincourt by the use of the most basic of peasant weapons – by largely non-elite forces. These battles were, in their time, exceptional. Until the development of the reliable portable firearm the elite warrior was perceived as invincible…

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