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Monday, May 21, 2012

Politics & Army Men

Recently I read about several people who said they would not play miniature wargames with the WWII German SS or the American Civil War Confederate States because of political reasons.  They thought the two groups were so terrible they could not play those soldiers.

With the exception of 5 years of Civil War, The South and the USA share the same heritage. Slavery was legal in the USA from the birth of the republic until after the ACW when the 14th Amendment was passed. Several slave states did not join the Confederacy. Some Blacks, both slave and free fought for the Confederates, some American Indian tribes fought for the South and owned slaves.

No one ever cares about playing ancient Rome, or ancient Egypt and they owned slaves, participated in infanticide and did all kinds of things we would never do here.

It's history, it does not exist anymore. If we play it, we can learn from it. If we ignore it we may not learn about it.

The Soviet Union killed 40 million of it's own people yet no one says they won't play the NKVD or Soviet Armies because of political reasons. Stalin was probably the worst dictator ever, everyone feared him and he personally murdered people.

I grew up in the Viet Nam War era and was in the Army Reserve in the Cold War. I have collections of North Vietnamese, Viet Kong, and the Soviet Union from the Cold War and WWII. It's army men. I don't do it to glorify the enemy, but to learn from them.  Learning about the history of the world is one of the best things about playing with toy soldiers.

8 comments:

Paul´s Bods said...

I always say "if it´s historically correct and in context, it´s playable" although a couple of scenarios I would avoid myself.
Cheers
paul

kingsleypark said...

Totally agree with your sentiments.

The Roman Army were a brutally efficient killing machine and had no hesitation in butchering their opponents to "set an example". Yet you don't hear of gamers saying they won't play with Roman Armies because of that.

And there are plenty of other examples of so called "civilised" armies displaying the worst kind of savagery.

If we don't learn from these incidents it will encourage their repetition.

As Paul says, there may be a couple of scenarios which would be inappropriate, eg Malmedy and other such criminal events but there really shouldn't be a desire to recreate that sort of event on the table top

Bunkermeister said...

Most such scenarios are not really gameable. Malmedy, place unarmed US troops in a group. German player shoots them. Game over in one turn.

Bunkermeister said...

It's WAR gaming. Atrocities as such are not part of the game, generally. In my wargame rules if a side kills prisoners or does other obvious "war crimes" then as in real life the side suffering the victims gets an increase in morale to reflect they are angry and they are less likely to get surrender results in their morale chart.

Some aspects of war just don't factor into it, PTSD, druge abuse, intentional fratricide and other factors.

daveish said...

>The Soviet Union killed 40 million of it's own people

There is more reason to avoid playing Soviets. But the Soviets were very successful in influencing our governments, educational establishments and media. So they get to write history.

Bunkermeister said...

Yes, thanks for reading Daveish.

The Warrior said...

Agreed!

Bunkermeister said...

Thanks all of you for your kind words.