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"‘The Belgians ran at the first shot.’ The battle of ..." Topic


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1,153 hits since 20 Apr 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

…. Waterloo and the rhetoric of cowardice

"For many generations British historians have decried the conduct of the Dutch troops at the battle of Waterloo as cowardly, an accusation which Dutch and Belgian historians, in their turn, have tried time and again to refute. This accusation of cowardice results from the exclusive and uncritical use a chauvinistic British historiography made of compatriotic eyewitness accounts. The slighting assessments of the Dutch military they contain, in most cases, derive from misinterpretation: the smoke and noise, the chaos and danger of battle precluded an objective appraisal of each other's combat performance. Miscommunication further enhanced this negative opinion. Since the occasional allies of Waterloo were not allowed time to get to know and appreciate one another, they were unfamiliar with each other's language, uniforms, and command structure. Nonetheless, the British were certainly acquainted with fighting side by side with foreign troops, and they were more than willing, if applicable, to appraise their professionalism. As this common battle experience was lacking at Waterloo, historical prejudices could easily prevail."
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Amicalement
Armand

4th Cuirassier21 Apr 2018 3:16 a.m. PST

We should certainly beware of eyewitness accounts, even about Waterloo, and even from scrupulously truthful German sources.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2018 11:05 a.m. PST

(smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Gazzola22 Apr 2018 4:10 a.m. PST

Tango01

I think we should be careful with all eyewitness accounts no matter who they are by and how interesting and enjoyable they are to read. Eyewitness accounts are generally based only on what areas of a battle or campaign the writers were personally involved in. However, they do form part of historical research and can offer insights to events and historical characters of all nations.

In terms of the Dutch and Belgians, there is a book that looks at how they were and are sometimes viewed even today:

Wellington's Hidden Heroes by Veronica Baker-Smith, 2015

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2018 3:07 p.m. PST

Thanks my good friend….


Well… I consider myself as an eyewitness of war… and then … I have read books were the authors never be there and told a war that I have never saw… (smile)


So… it seems that everything is relative … (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 6:54 a.m. PST

See link Knoop, Willem Jan. Remarques critiques sur l'ouvrage du capitaine Siborne, intitulé : "Histoire de la guerre de 1815 en France et dans la Belgique" et réfutation des accusations qui s'y trouvent contre l'armée néerlandaise, par W. J. Knoop,… traduction française par P. G. Booms,…. 1847.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

Many thanks!.

Amicalement
Armand

Munster27 Apr 2018 9:22 p.m. PST

"Well… I consider myself as an eyewitness of war… and then … I have read books were the authors never be there and told a war that I have never saw… (smile)"

All too true, glad you came through, historians of modern conflicts often have a story to tell, rather than telling the story of those who were there

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