Originally Posted by whisper_kill
Soldiers everywhere are trained to essentially do as they are told, by their superiors. The men and women of any army (including the German's during WW1 and 2) are worthy of commemoration for their bravery in the face of ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMING FORCES. Imagine if you will, these German's you mention in their Pillboxes. Could you imagine the sheer terror they must have felt as they witnessed a naval and aerial armada the likes of which this planet has never seen before? AND THEY STAYED AT THEIR POSTS!!
WW2 was much more than Normandy. If you've read about other important struggles of the last 50 some odd years, Stalingrad for one, put German soldiers and Russian soldiers through a living hell, in the name of their country.
I'm not trying to defend any one political ideal or religious belief here but merely try to demonstrate that the soldier is a pawn. A pawn that is controlled by their government. You cannot condemn a soldier for being a soldier!
Yes, whisper, I afford for all this when I stated that courage is still courage, HOWEVER certain forms of courage should not be commemorated. Commemoration means encouragement. If you commemorate someone for doing something, you are essentially encouraging them to do it again if the need should arise. So by commerating the courage of German's to stand their ground and to fight back you are encouraging their cause, which, natuarlly, was evil.
Of course a soldier is the pawn of the government. I am not suggesting that we smite ex-German soldiers, merely that we refrain from commemorating their courage. There is a large gap between shame and heroism. Just because you are not heroic does not mean you are a coward.
The goverment essentially dictates the details of heroism. Namely, if you are a soldier (pawn as you say) for a goverment whose regiment is good, then fighting for said goverment is good. However if you are a soldier for a government whose regiment is evil, then your good is not done through fighting for them, but rather through not
fighting for them.
What I am getting at is that the rules of heroism and commemoration should not be blindly taken as equal for both sides. These rules were completely distorted given the nature of the completely different causes for fighting. Thus neither soldier should be disgraced by fighting (they were forced to), however, there can only be one soldier that is commemorated for it (the one fighting for good).