|View single post by Texas Defender|
|Posted: Tue Dec 25th, 2012 11:07 pm||
As I say earlier, General Sherman's objective was to end the war as quickly as he could. For this purpose, he maintained that he had a right to destroy any property that could be of use to the CSA war effort. Differentiating between military and non-military assets was an issue that often was not carefully considered.
General Sherman said that he was fighting not only a hostile army, but a:" hostile people." He felt that he had to make the southerners: "So sick of war that generations would pass away before it would again appeal to them." By his massive destruction of property, he not only destroyed physical assets, but also waged a psychological war by demonstrating to the southerners that they could no longer defend their own territory.
General Sherman was quite content to welcome the southerners back as long as they were willing to submit to federal authority. Re-asserting this authority was his mission. You might well complain about his methods in going about it, but ascribing to him a motive of seeking economic gain for himself or others is an absurdity.
You may say that the general policy of the U.S. military nowadays is to respect civilian lives and property as much as possible, but that is often not the case with many of our opponents. In addition, it has not always been the case for the U.S. military and its allies, even in relatively recent times.
For example, I would cite the strategic bombing campaigns of WW II. In Europe, the Germans used: "The Blitz" in 1940 and 1941 to try to break the will of the British to fight. Large scale bombing of civilian targets became the norm. The British responded by bombing German cities at night, including causing mass casualties by firebombing Hamburg and Dresden.
In the Pacific, the U.S. conducted an extended campaign of firebombing Japanese cities, causing major damage to some 67 of them, and killing perhaps half a million civilians. In spite of all this damage, the war was only brought to an end by the two atomic bombs, which finally broke the will of the Japanese Government (Or at least the Emperor) to continue the war.
I am one who believes that the atomic bombs saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of Japanese. If I had been in President Truman's position, I would have made the same decision he did to try to save millions of lives by taking a smaller number of them.
You could even say that General Sherman was ahead of his times in a way. By conducting his March, he did indeed make the southerners: "...feel the hard hand of war." He said that he could not:" change the hearts and minds of the southern people," so he had to: "Make war so terrible" that they would become unable to continue.
Last edited on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 11:13 pm by Texas Defender