THE 'EVIL' MIND: Pt. 2: COMBAT MOTIVATION AND WAR ATROCITIES

by Johan M.G. van der Dennen

Contents:





Theories of Combat Motivation

Combat Motivation as a Manifestation of 'Aggression'

The Redirection-of-Aggression Hypothesis of Combat Motivation

Is Hatred of the Enemy a Necessary Component of Combat Motivation?
* Abstract and personal hatred on the battlefield

Empirical Studies of Combat Motivation

The Appeals of Battle
* War as sublime spectacle
* The delight in comradeship
* The delight in destruction

War Atrocities and Ecstatic Violence
* The pleasure of fighting
* The ecstasy of war
* Latent or vicarious bloodthirstiness

Diffuse Sanctioning of Indiscriminate Violence
* Killing and the fear of being killed
* Psychic numbing

War Atrocities: Contributing Factors
* Obedience
* Conditions for 'guilt-free' massacre

Sanctioned Massacres

Repugnance toward Violence

Some Conclusions

Appendix 1: Massacres and Combats with High Numbers of Casualties







Theories of Combat Motivation

Several theories of 'why soldiers fight' have been proposed ever since the 'Art of War' became a proper object of study by social and behavioral scientists.
The first theory of combat motivation, the primary group theory (e.g., Shils & Janowitz, 1948; Savage & Gabriel, 1978), explains the soldier's willingness to engage in combat in terms of his involvement with a few immediate comrades. The theory posits that comradeship stimulated by shared deprivation, stress, the need for psychological comfort, and constant personal interaction and communication, allows the soldier to endure combat. The theory further asserts that the more cohesive the primary group, that is, the greater the mutually supporting bonds among its members, the greater its combat potential (Wesbrook, 1980).
A related theory explains combat motivation in terms of the soldier's bonds with his military unit. Historically, the term esprit de corps or regimental spirit have been used to characterize these bonds, although the term 'unit cohesiveness' has also become fashionable (e.g., Baynes, 1967).
A third theory holds that combat motivation stems from a soldier's involvement with his national sociopolitical system. The soldier's (normative) commitment to the values and the symbols of his larger society or to a specific cause are seen as major determinants of his will to fight.
Moral involvement with the national sociopolitical system potentially gives a legitimate basis to national demands and, so long as the military organization is perceived to be an extension of that system, to military directives. Such involvement produces an obligation to comply - to obey - once the soldier perceives the demand as right or proper in terms of the national interests or national ideology. Not to comply would require that the soldier repudiate his beliefs and sever his psychological ties with his community (Wesbrook, 1980).
Moskos (1975) proposed the concept of 'latent ideology' to refer to the soldier's normative commitment:
"I propose that primary groups maintain the soldier in his combat role only when he has an underlying commitment to the worth of the larger social system for which he is fighting. This commitment need not be formally articulated, nor even perhaps consciously recognized. But he must at some level accept, if not the specific purposes of the war, then at least the broader rectitude of the social system of which he is a member".

Most attempts to explain combat behavior have focused on the significance of interpersonal relationships among combat group members (Shils & Janowitz, 1948; Stouffer et al,, 1949; Little, 1964; Janowitz & Little, 1965; Moskos, 1970; 1975). However, as several authors have observed, these explanations have lacked consistency across different combat situations and have ranged from an emphasis on primary group solidarity in the case of World War II, to buddy relationships in Korea, to the contention that there was an almost total lack of cohesion within combat groups in Vietnam (George, 1971; Gregory, 1977; Savage & Gabriel, 1976).
It has been suggested by Moskos (1970 et seq.) and Keegan (1976) that there are two basic reasons why soldiers fight: first, for personal survival, and second, to avoid group sanctions for not fighting.
Combat groups are presented with a problem by the 'hero' as the term is applied in a negative sense (Little, 1964; Moskos, 1970). The hero is an individual who feels compelled to frequently demonstrate his courage and recklessness in combat. Besides the fact that his loyalty to his fellow combat group members is often questionable, his reckless actions threaten the collective good by unnecessarily placing the group's potential for survival in jeopardy, Therefore, whenever possible, the other group members try to avoid going on patrols which include such individuals (Moskos, 1970). Furthermore, as Little (1964) observed, the negative reputation of the hero, like that of the dud, serves a function in the assimilation of replacements by discouraging episodes of recklessness and excessively aggressive behavior.
Several authors have observed that the 'reasons' for a war, such as international ideological and political concerns, are of little or no relevance to the ordinary soldier in his daily struggle for survival (Stouffer et al., 1949; Janowitz & Little, 1965; Moskos, 1970; Keegan, 1976). This was eloquently summarized by a combat soldier in Vietnam whom Moskos (1970) quoted: "Maybe we're supposed to be here and maybe not. But you don't have time to think about things like that. You worry about getting zapped and dry socks tomorrow. The other stuff is a joke".

It is not generally appreciated how much the military and war demand from the individual soldier his Umwertung aller Werten.
"Military service, and particularly military service in a combat zone, asks the individual soldier to completely reverse much of his usual value system. Killing, the destruction of property, and a variety of other acts which are condemned in civilian life are suddenly in a complete reversal given a positive connotation and are rewarded by praise, medals, and the implication that they reflect manliness. Unfortunately the reversal of values, while it is intended to be highly restricted and limited to certain well-circumscribed areas, rarely remains so and there is considerable spill over into other values and behaviors" (Bourne, 1971; cf. Mitscherlich, 1970).


Combat Motivation as a Manifestation of 'Aggression'

"Es ist undankbar, daß zwischen menschlicher Aggressivität und Krieg kein Zusammenhang bestünde" (Mitscherlich, 1970). Similar and comparable statements have been made by hundreds of psychologists, psychiatrists, military historians and political scientists (e.g., Hellpach, 1949; Kabel, 1970; Persson, 1980 p.c.).
According to Aron (1966) war is an expression, but not a necessary expression of human aggression.
If Richardson (1960) found it too difficult to apply the concept of governmental or national aggression as a cause of war, he found it quite easy to apply the concept of individual aggressiveness as an instrument of war: "There is an analogy between organizing a nation for war and magnetizing a bar of iron... A nation can make war because it is composed of individuals many of whom have aggressiveness, either overt or repressed. If the aggressive tendencies of its individuals are directed at random in petty local quarrels, the nation can appear to be unwarlike. But under the influence of a strong threat from outside, nearly all the individual aggressiveness is turned against the common enemy and the nation becomes strongly warlike".
This is a rather naïve - but very popular - conception of war (and other manifestations of collective violence) as a kind of accumulation of individual 'aggressions'. War is simply aggression 'writ large' (see Van der Dennen [1986] for a detailed criticism of this fallacious view).
A number of (especially American behaviorist) psychologists have argued that all manifestations of human aggression and violence (and consequently, war and atrocities) are simply 'learned'. Learning theories, however, tend to disregard the fact that a significant proportion of those involved in atrocities have never actually learned to commit atrocities; indeed the atrocity in question may have been their first and only time. "These theories therefore, do not answer the problem - if, indeed, there is any convincing answer" (Carlton, 1994).


The Redirection-of-Aggression Hypothesis of Combat Motivation

The battlefield is always a conspicuously unhealthy place, and over the centuries much thought and care has gone into dealing with the omnipresent emotion of fear. Very different formulae have been effective. Frederick the Great thought it imperative to drill the recruit into acting like an efficient automaton under fire and to make him fear his officers more than he did the enemy. Not flattering to the ideal of human dignity or bravery, but it worked. Napoleon relied more on theatrics.
Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army, declared that a soldier must be faced with the choice between a probable death if he advances and a certain death if he retreats. Almost every army in history has imposed the death penalty for desertion in the face of the enemy.
All who have written on military leadership have also stressed the importance of soldiers having confidence in both their immediate superiors and in their higher commanders (Brodie, 1973). But even the cynical experts omitted to mention the other necessary component: "resentment against the authorities, redirected against the enemy out of fear" (Russell & Russell, 1968).
"With the transition from small parties of hostile tribesmen to large mercenary armies came problems of motivation and control. Since the history of warfare is largely that of the many who, through poverty or the press gang, were forced to take up arms for a cause which few could even comprehend, the evoking and direction of aggression called for special measures. These included devices to ensure group cohesion, to incite hostility, to enforce obedience and to suppress mutiny. They also included means whereby the intentions of leaders could be translated into a concerted action by followers. In short, it called for two other components of militarism _ firstly, a system of rewards and punishment, of rank, medals, battle emblems and prize money, of confidential reports, courts martial and the lash; and secondly, a system of orders and over-learned drills" (Dixon, 1976).
Dixon has a great deal to say about the canalization of aggression; he characterizes the overcontrol of aggression as something endemic to the military profession. He argues that men are not naturally well equipped for large-scale violence and have therefore developed a complex of rules, contentions, and ways of thinking to govern their warring behavior; these rules ultimately ossified into what he sees as outmoded tradition, inappropriate dogma, and 'bullshit'. As warring groups became larger, the evocation and direction of aggression called for special measures; aggression had to be switched on and off according to the military and political situation and to be externalized without being turned inward (e.g., in the form of riot or mutiny). Thus evolved a system of orders and of drill whereby complex patterns of behavior could be unleashed by the simplest instructions. Having defined 'militarism' as an attempt to institutionalize and direct aggression, Dixon goes on to outline its drawbacks, particularly its deleterious effects on commanders.

"It was a common clinical observation during the [WW II] war that military service was an unusually good environment for men who lacked inner controls... The combination of absolute security, a strong institutional parent-substitute on whom one could lean unobtrusively, and socially approved outlets for aggression provided a form of social control that allowed impulses to be expressed in acceptable ways" (Holt, 1971; quoted in Dixon, 1976).
In following this line of thought, we start with the apparent paradox that whereas the military way is concerned with defence against the external enemy, a large part of militarism concerns defences against the anxieties and aggressive impulses of its member subscribers. Much that we have discussed under the heading of militarism can be legitimately viewed as devices so to control aggression that it is projected only upon legitimate targets while keeping other outlets blocked.
Armies resemble the authoritarian family. In the army the slightest hint of subordination (i.e, aggression directed towards a superior) is severely punished, while aggression towards the enemy is encouraged and rewarded. A tight rein on aggression is mandatory in a profession whose stock in trade and solution to most problems is physical violence. The My-Lai massacre and similar atrocities show only too clearly how quickly things can get out of hand. As Janis (1963) has remarked: "The military group provides powerful incentives for releasing forbidden impulses, inducing the soldier to try out formerly inhibited acts which he originally regarded as morally repugnant".
From a psychological point of view, therefore, militarism strives to maintain that paradoxical state of affairs where feeling angry may well be totally split off from aggression, one in which a soldier is required to suppress his aggression towards his superiors whom he may loathe, while venting it upon a hypothetical enemy towards whom he may well entertain no hostile feelings (Dixon, 1976). It is a situation fraught with the possibility of breakdown. On the one hand there is the anecdotal evidence of soldiers who, in the heat of the battle, shoot their own N.C.O.s and officers in the back, or who when firing stenguns on a range turn round to ask a question without remembering to ease their finger on the trigger. Such mishaps suggest that even the strongest defences against tabooed aggression may fracture under pressure. In the first six months of 1971 more than a hundred American officers were 'fragged' by their own men. According to one authority, the word 'frag' derives from the ordinary fragmentation grenade which troops use to booby-trap - and maim or kill - officers and non-coms who are too keen to engage in combat (Laffin, 1973).


Is Hatred of the Enemy a Necessary Component of Combat Motivation?

General Ludendorff, who in effect commanded the German army during World War I, wrote that the emotion of hate is a power of which use ought to be made in time of war (Moran, 1946; Kellett, 1982).
Gray (1970) has argued that most soldiers are able to kill and be killed more easily in warfare if they possess an image of the enemy sufficiently evil to inspire hatred and repugnance. The basic aim of a nation at war in establishing an image of the enemy is to distinguish as sharply as possible the act of killing from the act of murder by making the former into one deserving of all honor and praise.
There are, according to Gray (1970) four common attitudes toward the enemy held by soldiers of recent wars. Three of them will be found to be abstract in the extreme, the fourth of a different order altogether.
(1) One of the most time-honored and persistent images of the enemy, today very suspect in democratic lands, is the one held by the professional soldier, who regards all military men as comrades in arms.
(2) Equally ancient, and apparently as persistent, is the image of the enemy as a creature who is not human at all. The enemy is considered to be a peculiarly noxious kind of animal toward whom one feels instinctive abhorrence and who ought to be hunted down and exterminated whenever and wherever possible.
When soldiers are driven to battle by this image, they are freed from the possibility of remorse for their deeds. Their hunting impulses are released to seek the most dangerous of all beasts and the one most deserving of death. In this sense, war does become a desperate kind of game. The enemy is sought out to be exterminated, not subdued. There is no satisfaction in capturing him and exacting obedience and respect. There is also, of course, no safety in it, since he is held to be incapable of grasping civilized rules of warfare. Therefore the enemy when disarmed and helpless tends to become the object of target practice for the opposing soldiers. The lack of compunction in such taking of life deprives the destroyer of any emotional purgation. Nothing offsets the corrupting influences of fear and hatred with which the business of slaughter is carried out. Consequently, soldiers permeated with this image of their opponent are subject to rapid brutalization.
(3) There is another image of the enemy closely related to this one, yet even more abstract and deadly in its psychological effects. In this the enemy is conceived to be not merely a loathsome animal, below the human level, but also above it in being a devil or at least demon-possessed and, as such, an enemy of God. When two totalitarian powers make war on each other, the anger and hatred that arise can be appeased only by the death of one or the other. More than this, such killing is profoundly satisfying. Anger and hatred are 'fulfilled' in destruction insofar as such emotions know satiety. The more lives the soldier succeeds in accounting for, the prouder he is likely to feel. To his people he is a genuine hero and to himself as well. For him, war is in no sense a game or a dirty mess. It is a mission, a holy cause, his chance to prove himself and gain a supreme purpose in living. His hatred of the enemy makes this soldier feel supremely real, and in combat his hatred finds its only appropriate appeasement. It is probably true that most men are incapable to supporting over a long period the devil image of the enemy. It requires an imperviousness to common sense and daily experience, which many are unable to gain.
(4) The image of the enemy which appeals most to reasonable men after a war is past can be cultivated while war is in progress only by the minority of combat soldiers who are at the same time reflective and relatively independent in their judgment. This is the image of the opposing enemy as an essentially decent man who is either temporarily misguided by false doctrines or forced to make war against his better will and desire. The foe is a human being like yourself, the victim of forces above him over which he has no control. It is nearly impossible for a combat soldier to prepare himself psychologically for bloody combat with a will to victory while holding such an image of his foe. How can he become enthusiastic about Operation Killer or look forward with eagerness to carrying out a superior's command to close with the enemy? The war itself is more likely to seem the greatest folly and criminality ever perpetrated. If he kills, he is troubled by conscience, and if he does not do his share in the communal life imposed by combat, he is also tormented. Professional officers readily perceive the military disadvantages of this view of the foe and oppose it, as a rule, with passion. If victory is to be achieved, the enemy must be hated by the soldiery to the utmost limit.
In the following paragraphs we shall encounter contrasting views.

* Abstract and personal hatred on the battlefield
Gray (1970) has reasoned that by reference to the enemy we seem to mean a unified, concrete universal, whereas in fact the enemy is probably not more unified than is our side and possesses many other characteristics than those that are hostile to us. By designating him with the definite article, it is made to appear that he is single and his reality consists in hostility to us. Thus do the moral absolutisms of warfare develop through the medium of language.
The abstractness of the term promotes in this emotion-drenched atmosphere of war the growth of abstract hatred. Gray thinks it is abstract hatred and not the greater savagery of contemporary man that is responsible for much of the blood lust and cruelty of recent wars.
Very often his abstract hatred is changed by degrees into personal hatred. Are they not responsible for the hard, uncomfortable life he is forced to lead? Were it not for them he would be at home with his wife or girl friend, enjoying his favorite food or sport or other amusement. His mood may become one of deep resentment or smoldering anger against the cause of his present misery. He wants to make them pay for his long-continued disruption of his life, 'they' being not the enemy in general so much as that group opposite his position at the front. The more cramped, painful, and unbearable his physical and psychological environment becomes, the more he is likely to be filled with a burning vengeance, which demands action for its alleviation.
When the soldier has lost a comrade to this enemy or possibly had his family destroyed by them through bombings or through political atrocities, so frequently the case in World War II, his anger and resentment deepen into hatred. Then the war for him takes on the character of a personal vendetta. Until he has himself destroyed as many of the enemy as possible, his lust for vengeance can hardly be appeased.
To designate as abstract the usual images of the enemy is, of course, only a beginning toward understanding why men so readily kill and get killed in wartime. Abstractions are of different orders.


Empirical Studies of Combat Motivation

Dollard & Horton (1944) were the first to investigate the problem of combat motivation in infantry soldiers, particularly the role of fear and hatred, more or less empirically. They interviewed, in writing, veterans of the 'International Brigade' (ALB), who had been fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Eighty-three percent of them responded positively to the question whether 'hatred toward the enemy' had been a major contributing factor to their combat effectiveness. Prima vista, this result seems very impressive and conclusive indeed. The validity of this research, however, as Tromp (1971) argued, is very questionable.
First, respondents were exclusively volunteers (normally a very small percentage of all combatants), who had been fighting in one very particular war situation against a definite and hated enemy. Dollard comments: "Many, perhaps most of the ALB veterans had a strong sense of 'cause'. They viewed the struggle in Spain as a first step in the war against fascism and for the democratic forces of the world". Dollard adds the contention that the war history of this brigade was very exceptional and hardly yields generalizable conclusions.
Second, the interview technique used by Dollard was methodologically weak: it was a questionnaire, with a suggestive way of phrasing, and no 'open-ended' questions.
Finally, and probably the most serious objection, distance in time and place from the original battle situation was too remote. "The distance in time and place offers the opportunity to reintegrate dissonant experiences, if any; to reestablish mental equilibrium by means of strong retrospective rationalizations of behavior; and especially, to distortion of the historical reality of that behavior in the service of protection of the own personality" (Tromp, 1971). This last ego-defense mechanism is known as 'retrospective falsification'. Thus, it seems quite probable that Dollard's results are highly inflated.

The most elaborate and conclusive studies of combat motivation during World War II are undoubtedly Marshall's (1947) Men Against Fire and The American Soldier by Stouffer et al. (1949/50), in which study Brewster Smith was responsible for the chapter 'Combat motivations among ground troops'. It emerged from the latter study that only 2 % of the infantry soldiers in retrospect reported to have been motivated by 'anger, revenge or fighting spirit'. Brewster Smith comments on this intriguing finding: "ln attempting to estimate the importance to the American combat soldier of hatred and vindictiveness toward the enemy, we should remember that, compared with soldiers in some other armies, his general level of hatred was probably not very high".
Other major conclusions emerging from this study were:
* Veteran enlisted men and officers in the Pacific were more vindictive toward the Japanese than their counterparts in Europe were toward the Germans (This finding was explained by a racist attitude against the alien Japanese).
* Combat did not increase the hatred of the enemy people which the men felt initially. Perhaps one reason that combat veterans were less likely than trainees to be vindictive lay in their discovery that much dirty fighting which to the civilian and the inexperienced soldier seemed a special property of the enemy's viciousness was actually a general characteristic of war.
* Vindictiveness against the enemy could be at any of several levels. On the one hand was the relatively temporary burst of anger at seeing one's buddies killed: "After the first battle, the fellows were real mad, seeing all their buddies killed. But the reaction of being mad wore off after a time".
Then there might be relatively durable hatred of enemy soldiers. A third level was presumably tapped by hatred of the enemy people as a whole. Still another kind was the hatred of the enemy system and ideology. There is no reason to suppose that these various levels of vindictiveness cohered in a unitary fashion.
* Vindictiveness was related to witnessing enemy atrocities but there is no indication that experiencing heavy casualties was associated with consistently vindictive attitudes.
Further on Brewster Smith makes the following important remark: "While the desire to go home could become a source of hatred for the enemy - 'the sonovabitch who is keeping me from going home' - it could also be turned against our own side and its leaders". This last assertion obtained a bitter, prophetic meaning in the Vietnam war, where the 'fragging' of own officers was perfected as a pastime.

Marshall (1947), in his Men Against Fire, studied the combat behavior of American GI's in Europe during World War II. Some of his conclusions are rather intriguing and counter-intuitive:
"[W]e found that on average not more than 15 per cent of the men had actually fired at the enemy positions or personnel with rifles, carbines, grenades, bazookas, BARs, or machine guns during the course of an entire engagement... The best showing that could be made by the most spirited and aggressive companies was that one man in four had made at least some use of his fire power".
In regard to this study, Tromp (1971) comments that "the use of violence, even when it is formally legitimated, does certainly not belong to the most frequent human activities. Evidently, there are strong inhibitions to be overcome before violence - even legitimate violence - will be used".
Marshall describes how even in a highly dangerous situation men obviously refused to fire back: "There were some men in the positions directly under attack who did not fire at all or attempt to use a weapon even when the position was overrun... A revealing light is thrown on this subject through the studies by Medical Corps psychiatrists of the combat fatigue cases in the European Theater. They found that fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed was the most common cause of battle failure in the individual, and that fear of failure ran a strong second".
* The really active firers were usually in small groups working together. In the main, the same men were carrying the fire fight for each company day after day.
* Fear is ever present. The majority of the men are unwilling to take extraordinary risks and do not aspire to a hero's role, but they are equally unwilling that they should be considered cowards and the least worthy among those present... "I would prefer the simple statement that personal honor is the one thing valued more than life itself by the majority of men".
* "Men who have been in battle know from first-hand experience that when the chips are down, a man fights to help the man next to him, just as the company fights to keep pace with its flanks. Things have to be that simple".

Of course, Marshall's conclusions cannot be considered universally valid. His study concerned only one particular type of combat (infantry fighting), in one particular time span (World War II), at one particular location (the European combat theater), by only one particular category of men (American enlisted men, most of whom were no professional soldiers) as Tromp (1971) observed. Nevertheless, his psychological insights are a valuable contribution to the study of combat motivation, particularly the relationship between fear and excesses of violence (vide infra).
According to Watson (1980), Marshall's work proved controversial and was heatedly contended by other military historians. Nevertheless, his argument _ or part of it - had made its mark, for when the Korean War came along Marshall was called on again to repeat his study. This time he found that the proportion of non-firers was much smaller. In most actions, he said, approximately 50 per cent of the men fired and in some perimeter defense situations almost everyone pulled the trigger and aimed in the right direction (Marshall, 1951, 1956).

Ellis (1982) studied behavior and attitudes of World War II soldiers. On the subject of combat motivation he states:
"For the average soldier, once he was in combat, his view became microcosmic, and he lived only from day to day... The world became reduced to a company or a troop and the only important thing in life was the chances of preserving one's own...
An ancillary point here is that the front-line troops found it difficult to hate the enemy combat troops, at least in Europe. Even a limited period at the front soon made one aware that the Wehrmacht was going through just the same hell and probably had as little theoretical commitment to the war as oneself. Each side was simply doing its job...
Of the campaign in northern France one historian has noted that both sides indulged in so-called 'atrocities' simply because they became carried away by the savage tempo of the fighting, finding it impossible to switch at will between the roles of trained killer and scrupulous umpire... Yet all such behaviour has to be attributed to the ferocity of prolonged combat rather than to a generalized hatred of the Germans. In the war against Japan, on the other hand, it is possible to speak of a real loathing for the whole race. In part this was due to Japanese military methods and their treatment of prisoners and wounded, but in the last analysis it reflects the cultural gulf between very different societies and the smug racist contempt that such a divergence usually produces - on both sides. Neither the British, the Indians nor the Americans really regarded the Japanese as human beings. Their fantastic bravery and spirit of self-sacrifice was seen merely as a dangerous form of insanity, and one killed them as one might exterminate a particularly intransigent pest. The American surveys back up this point emphatically".
Ellis points to the utter monotony, disgust and ennui, in some cases even despair, to the drift from boredom to torpor to 'anomie', which was a common enough experience for the World War II soldier: An American sergeant, temporarily based in Fiji, was amazed that "a land of such breath-taking beauty can be so deadly dull. Men are irritable from excessive monotony and tedium. Tempers are ragged. The expression 'blowing your top', a form of verbal and mental explosion, is a daily occurrence".
Ellis identifies pride, loyalty, comradeship, selflessness, and even love as the components of combat motivation. Also Marshall, who devoted himself to a study of the ordinary soldiers' reactions to modern combat was quite unequivocal on this point: "I hold it to be one of the simplest truths of war that the thing which enables an infantry soldier to keep going with his weapons is the near presence or presumed presence of a comrade... He must have at least some feeling of spiritual unity with him... He is sustained by his fellows primarily and by his weapons secondarily".
Ellis finishes his book with these words: "In the midst of seeming chaos it was the love of individuals, one for another, that enabled them to carry on. The fighting soldiers were sustained by a regard for others in which self-respect and mutual esteem were so inextricably intertwined that courage was a commonplace, self-sacrifice the norm".

The Dutch psychiatrist Van Meurs (1955) studied combat motivation during the Korean war. His study confirms the observations discussed above: within the total gamut of combat motives 'aggression' plays only a minor role. First of all, Van Meurs rejects the Freudian Todestrieb-hypothesis as an explanation of combat motivation. He hypothesizes that the 'will to fight' of the combat soldier necessitates to a certain extent the remobilization of 'primitive aggressive drives' which have been repressed or sublimated in civil society, though it is not the main factor. The fighting spirit is not particularly high to begin with, even in the pursuit of an unsuspected ideal, or for the defense of culture or material possessions. The Orlando furioso is no longer the most effective soldier - if, indeed, he ever has been.
Anger, hatred and vindictiveness on the battlefield are ultimately self-defeating because these emotional/motivational states prevent the instrumental use of weapons and abilities. The self-controlled pugilist is likely to win the contest, not the 'mad dog' type of fighter. Indoctrination of hatred towards the enemy is therefore unwanted.
In his analysis of combat motivation, Van Meurs distinguishes infantile versus integrated aggression. He considers the individually and collectively integrated aggressiveness the most important prerequisite of the Western soldier.
Yet, in the total constellation of motives, even this 'integrated aggressiveness', which more or less equals masculine assertiveness, is only one factor. Sense of duty, honor, and (moral) obligation are much more important incentives, and, of course, survival of the self and his fighting unit on which he is totally dependent.
A similar factor, which he termed the 'latent ideology' was found by Moskos (1969 et seq.) in his study of combat motivation of American infantry soldiers in Vietnam.
Moskos's findings suggest that group loyalties are a strategy - a social contract - to deal with more basic dangers and deprivations of the combat situation. The horrors of combat are real, and self-interest dictates a tie to other members of the group. Moskos's data also support earlier findings about the absence of an ideological commitment to fight.
Although American combat soldiers do not espouse overtly ideological sentiments and are extremely reluctant to voice patriotic rhetoric, this should not obscure the existence of more latent beliefs in the legitimacy, and even superiority of the American way of life. Moskos used the term latent ideology to describe the social and cultural sources of these beliefs manifest in the attitudes toward the war held by American soldiers. Latent ideology, in this context, refers to those widely shared sentiments of soldiers which, though not overtly political or even necessarily substantially political, nevertheless have concrete consequences for combat motivation (Moskos, 1970).
The desire to be masculine and tough withers rapidly after combat experience. Notions of masculinity serve to create initial motivation to enter combat, but recede once the life-and-death facts of warfare are confronted.
In his own words, Moskos (1970) identifies the following factors in combat motivation: "Put most simply, I argue that combat motivation arises out of the linkages between individual self-concern, primary group processes and the shared beliefs of soldiers... Under the extreme conditions of ground warfare, an individual's survival is directly related to the support - moral, physical, and technical - he can expect from his fellow soldiers. He gets such support largely to the degree that he reciprocates to the others in his group in general, and to his buddy in particular".

Two other ambitious studies were carried out in Korea, one by the Personnel Research Branch (PRB) of the US Army's Adjutant General actually on the front line, and the other by the Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO), an 'independent', army-funded organization which carried out its project just behind the battle lines. They found that the good fighter exhibits a high degree of personal responsibility and remains calm and cool under conditions of exposure to fire.
The personality differences which distinguished good fighters from poor ones also showed a remarkable consistency. Five main factors were isolated: leadership, a 'masculinity' factor, intelligence, a sense of humor, and 'emotional stability' (Watson, 1980).

In culling servicemen's accounts of the Great War, Winter (1979) was left with the overwhelming impression that their feelings toward the Germans were dislike and fear. Tolerance was not carried to extremes, and the military authorities did try, with some success (usually temporary), to stir up aggressive feelings by exploiting incidents like the sinking of the Lusitania. In situations of great danger, particularly in close combat, everyone behaved with bitter hatred, although they might subsequently have wondered whether it really had been they who had behaved so wildly.
Many soldiers were made vengeful by personal trauma such as the loss of a relative or friend, or by the memory of some act of treachery. Sometimes whole battalions participated in this feeling. At the start of the Somme battle the Ninth Welch were keen to attack to avenge their carving up at Loos. There were also, Winter asserted, national differences in the degree of hatred felt toward the Germans: "Canadians and Australians refused to waive their hostility even after the war when on garrison duty on the Rhineland. With the Scots, likewise, there was no close season".

On the other hand, Ashworth (1968, 1980) found marked evidence of a live-and-let-live spirit in the First World War.
Ashworth studied memoirs, diaries and letters written by soldiers from the infernal trench-war of 1914-1918, and concluded that "inability to hate the enemy was not an isolated or idiosyncratic phenomenon. In fact, the evidence suggests that the soldier, after battle experience, defined his foe as a fellow sufferer rather than a fiend". The following comment seems not untypical: "Hatred of the enemy, so strenuously fostered in training days, largely faded away in the line. We somehow realised that individually they were very like ourselves, just as fed-up and anxious to be done with it all".
Subsequently Ashworth adds the following significant comment: "If the above theoretical analysis is valid, activities involving impersonal violence are not likely to be experienced as intrinsically meaningful or satisfying. Self-alienation is, therefore, inherent in the military role".

In general, hatred was not a major motive for combat in most soldiers but rather a sectional and somewhat erratic attitude. This conclusion was reinforced by the results of the British attempts at 'hate training' in their battle schools. The British authorities may have taken Ludendorff's views on the efficacy of hatred to heart; in any event, an effort to train soldiers to hate the enemy was undertaken as part of army training policy in England in 1941-42. Such methods proved counterproductive, however. Hate training was quietly dropped in March 1942, after the first course at the General Headquarters Battle School (Kellett, 1982).
It would seem, therefore, that the Second World War was similar to the First in that there was no deep-seated animosity felt by Allied soldiers toward the enemy.

Thus, there seem to be four main factors which appear to persuade or compel men to fight: submission or obedience, fear or survival, loyalty or selfish cooperation, and pride or honor or self-esteem. Each comes from a number of sources, and each is interdependent to some degree with the others (Hauser, 1980).


The Appeals of Battle

Millions of men in our day - like millions before us - have learned to live in war's strange element and have discovered in it a powerful fascination. What are these secret attractions of war, the ones that have persisted in the West despite revolutionary changes in the methods of warfare? Gray (1970) believes that they are: (1) an esthetic appeal: the delight in seeing; (2) the delight in comradeship; and (3) the delight in destruction. Some fighters know one appeal and not the others, some experience all three, and some may, of course, feel other, unknown, appeals. These three Gray found persistently throughout the literature of war.

* War as sublime spectacle
War as a spectacle, as something to see, ought never to be underestimated. There is in all of us what the Bible calls 'the lust of the eye', a phrase at once precise and of the widest connotation. The term 'beauty' used in any ordinary sense, is not the major appeal in such spectacles. Instead it is the fascination that manifestations of power and magnitude hold for the human mind. The chief esthetic appeal of war surely lies in this feeling of the sublime. The distinctive thing about the feeling of the sublime is its ecstatic character, ecstatic in the original meaning of the term, namely, a state of being outside the self.

* The delight in comradeship
Another appeal of war, the communal experience we call comradeship, is thought, on the other hand, to be especially moral and the one genuine advantage of battle that peace can seldom offer. The feeling of belonging together that men in battle often find a cementing force needs first to be awakened by an external reason for fighting, but the feeling is by no means dependent on this reason. Many veterans who are honest with themselves will admit, I believe, that the experience of communal effort in battle, even under the altered conditions of modern war, has been a high point in their lives. Despite the horror, the weariness, the grime, and the hatred, participation with others in the chances of battle had its unforgettable side, which they would not want to have missed.
The secret of comradeship has not been exhausted, however, in the feeling of freedom and power instilled in us by communal effort in combat. There is something more and equally important. The sense of power and liberation that comes over men at such moments stems from a source beyond the union of men. Gray believes it is nothing less than the assurance of immortality that makes self-sacrifice at these moments so relatively easy. Men are true comrades only when each is ready to give up his life for the other, without reflection and without thought of personal loss. This is the mystical element of war that has been mentioned by nearly all serious writers on the subject. William James spoke of it as a sacrament, and once remarked that 'society would rot without the mystical blood payment'. And G.F. Nicolai, in his book The Biology of War, is persuaded that "the boundless capacity for self-sacrifice" is what is intoxicating and great about war.

* The delight in destruction
There is a third impulse to battle much more sinister than these. Anyone who has watched men on the battlefield at work with artillery, or looked into the eyes of veteran killers fresh from slaughter, or studied the descriptions of bombardiers' feelings while smashing their targets, finds hard to escape the conclusion that there is a delight in destruction. Men who have lived in the zone of combat long enough to be veterans are sometimes possessed by a fury that makes them capable of anything. Blinded by the rage to destroy and supremely careless of consequences, they storm against the enemy until they are either victorious, dead, or utterly exhausted. It is as if they are seized by a demon and are no longer in control of themselves. From the Homeric account of the sacking of Troy to the conquest of Dienbienphu, Western literature is filled with descriptions of soldiers as berserkers and mad destroyers. The furor teutonicus is a well-known example.
Perhaps the following account from the diary of Ernst Jünger in World War I may stand for many because it is so concise and exactly drawn. It describes the beginning of the last German offensive in the West:

The great moment had come. The curtain of fire lifted from the front trenches. We stood up. With a mixture of feelings, evoked by bloodthirstiness, rage, and intoxication, we moved in step, ponderously but irresistibly toward the enemy lines... I was boiling with a mad rage, which had taken hold of me and all the others in an incomprehensible fashion. The overwhelming wish to kill gave wings to my feet. Rage pressed bitter tears from my eyes. The monstrous desire for annihilation, which hovered over the battlefield, thickened the brains of the men and submerged them in a red fog. We called to each other in sobs and stammered disconnected sentences. A neutral observer might have perhaps believed that we were seized by an excess of happiness (Jünger, 1925).

In a similar vein a Canadian soldier describing an attack on a German trench wrote that he and his friends were yelling and roaring - 'battle-mad' - with one intent only: to press on and to kill (in Robertson, 1977).

We are tempted to explain away man's delight in destruction as a regressive impulse, a return to primitivism and to animal nature. "I cannot escape the conviction that this is an illusion, and a dangerous one. When man is at his destructive work, he is on a different plane from the animal altogether. And destructive urges are as capable of being found in highly cultivated natures as in the simpler ones, if not more so. The satisfaction in destroying seems to me peculiarly human, or, more exactly put, devilish in a way animals can never be. We sense in it always the Mephistophelean cry that all created things deserve to be destroyed. Sometimes there is no more concrete motive for destroying than this one, just as there is no expressible motive for creating" (Gray, 1970).

Caputo (1978) tried to define the 'compelling attractiveness' of battle as follows: "It was a peculiar enjoyment because it was mixed with a commensurate pain. Under fire, a man's powers of life heightened in proportion to the proximity of death, so that he felt an elation as extreme as his dread. His senses quickened, he attained an acuity of consciousness at once pleasurable and excruciating. It was something like the elevated state of awareness induced by drugs. And it could be just as addictive".
Caputo also detected a close link between fear (and, he thought, rage directed against the fear-inducing agent, the enemy) and courage. Caputo declared, courage is "a powerful urge not to be afraid any more, to rid himself of fear by eliminating the source of it... All other considerations, the rights and wrongs of what he is doing, the chances for victory or defeat in the battle, the battle's purpose or lack of it, become so absurd as to be less than irrelevant".

Our ancestors made no bones about enjoying and glorifying combat; the Romans even made it into a sport. Bidwell (1973) cites the rampages of Genghis Khan and of his successors as examples. Genghis Khan told his courtiers: "The greatest pleasure in life is to defeat your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses, and to ravage their wives and daughters". The Mongols systematically destroyed the cities they conquered, and they also killed millions of human beings systematically and apparently in cold blood. More recent examples of excessive violence can be cited. In the Russo-German war of 1941-45, the often objectless destruction and cruelty in many ways matched the behavior of the Mongols. Also, Caputo (1978) has described how, in the midst of a difficult pursuit, the mood of the marines in his company (in Vietnam) turned savage: "This was especially true of First platoon; they had done the actual killing, and once men begin killing it is not easy to stop them".

Although bloodthirstiness is seldom if ever a major reason for starting a war, as the struggle continues it progressively inflames antagonists' fear, rage, hate, and mutual contempt. Fighting in battle evokes "the delight in destruction slumbering in most of us. When soldiers step over the line that separates self-defense from fighting for its own sake, as it is easy for them to do, they experience something that stirs deep chords in their being" (Gray, 1970: 52).
As the senseless atrocities perpetrated under wartime conditions bear witness, in the frenzy of batttle, injuring and killing not only enemy soldiers but also women and children can provide intense gratification, equivalent sometimes to that of sexual orgasm, at least in males. The atrocities inflicted on Vietnamese women and children in My Lai are a modern case in point (e.g., Bilton & Sim, 1992).
On the battlefield, apparently closely related to the desire to kill others is the attraction of sacrificing oneself to save the lives of comrades and destroy the enemy. Adlof Hitler often returns to this theme in Mein Kampf: "... thousands of young Germans have... sacrificed their young lives freely and joyfully on the altar of the beloved fatherland".
Moreover, the warriors' delight in destruction persists after the battle is over. The pages of history are stained with accounts of the most atrocious tortures and massacres inflicted by conquerors on defeated armies and helpless civilians. In fact, in some societies, torture and slaying of defeated enemy warriors and civilians still is standard operating procedure (Frank, 1994).


War Atrocities and Ecstatic Violence

Marshall (1947) gives an example of 'orgiastic overkill' during World War II (June 1944, Normandy), after an initial period of extreme fear (physiological transfer?; explosive violence as a magical denial of being terrified?): "At the foot of the hill an enemy machine gun opened fire on the patrol but the bullets went high. The men broke and 'ran like dogs'. Millsaps and a sergeant beat them back with physical violence. After they were again collected, Millsaps lost almost an hour, alternately bullying and pleading with them before they would go forward. At last they charged the enemy, closing within handgrappling distance. The slaughter began with grenade, bayonet, and bullet. Some of the patrol were killed and some wounded. But all now acted as if oblivious to danger. The slaughter once started could not be stopped. Millsaps tried to regain control but his men paid no heed. Having slaughtered every German in sight, they ran on into the barns of the French farmhouses where they killed the hogs, cows, and sheep. The orgy ended when the last beast was dead". During the orgy the men proved to be oblivious to pain and awareness of injuries, thus one may infer that the butchering was enacted in some trance-like state of mind.

* The pleasure of fighting
The persistence of gratuitous cruelty and torture throughout human history has sometimes been explained by its reinforcing value (Storr, 1972). Such pleasurable feeling may not, however, be simply a concomitant of specifically aggressive, overt attack. Pleasure may derive from the vigorous physical activity of fighting, the accompanying arousal, or the successful performance of a complex fighting skill. Pleasure may also issue from the fruits of victory: material rewards and social approval of 'machismo' and/or of skill in fighting. Intraindividual processes of self-image enhancement and/or of the strengthening of psychodynamic defenses may be equally or more important (Potegal, 1979).
Some combination of these and other processes may account for the extreme of ecstatic violence (cf. Fromm, 1974) described in anthropological and historical sources, e.g., the 'battle-joy' of the Viking berserkers in which fear apparently vanished and the warrior was seized with a feeling akin to joy (Kennedy, 1971; Storr, 1972; Zimbardo, 1969; Dentan, 1968). Extended rituals involving vigorous dancing, chanting, and strong social approval, if not 'contagion' of aggression, and intake of alcoholic beverages or other stimulant drugs to facilitate the belligerence, appear to be a necessary preparation or accompaniment in some of these cases. Repetitive, protracted, violent attack has been reported to lead to similar ecstatic states in contemporary accounts of military violence in Vietnam (Zimbardo, 1969) and of civilian violence in Columbia (Leon, 1969). Such reports are reminiscent of the well-known phenomenon of 'amok'.
Dentan (1968) describes an episode of maniacally murderous 'blooddrunkenness' among Semai warrior/soldiers, an otherwise nonviolent people.
Some psychiatrists have suggested that ecstatic violence may be similar or equivalent to sexual pleasure and orgasm (e.g., Fornari, 1975). Although it has been found that erotic stimuli can nonspecifically facilitate aggression, the biological origins of ecstatic violence should probably be sought in the reinforcing value of aggression, not sex (Potegal, 1979).
In special circumstances in which social prohibitions and internal inhibitions (e.g. aggression-anxiety) are weakened, a response which is intrinsically reinforcing and which facilitates its own motivation must produce a positive feedback of the kind observed in ecstatic violence. Ecstatic violence may be the human equivalent of the warm-up and priming effects seen in other animals (see Potegal, 1979).
Most soldiers are conscripted; under such conditions of low aggressive motivation and realistic evaluation of danger, fear is the most commonly reported emotion in battle. According to Potegal (1979), special circumstances must occur to unmask the positive reward value, if any, of aggression: "Certainly... easy killing [in battle] does seem to generate in human beings symptoms of pleasure..." (Keegan, 1976). The development of high aggressive motivation which overcomes fear can, apparently, have a similar effect. The weight of the evidence suggests that overtly homicidal aggression becomes strongly positively reinforcing for the majority of humans only under special conditions of high aggressive motivation and low inhibition.

* The ecstasy of war
An Intimate History of Killing by historian Joanna Bourke (1999; Reuters press release 29 june 1999) looks at how soldiers experience killing, how society organizes it and how it fits into 20th century culture. Duty and fear, she finds, are not the sole motivators at the front, where recruits discover the ecstasy of war and the joy and almost sexual thrill in slaughter.
Covering both world wars and Vietnam, Bourke revisits the letters, memoirs, diaries and autobiographies of hundreds of combatants from Britain, the United States and Australia. Her subjects are mostly ordinary men, conscripts and volunteers rather than professional soldiers.
Gone in her account is the haunting smell of gas, the sweaty night-time flashbacks, the mind-numbing squalor of Europe's trenches and the brutality under swaying Asian palms.
In trauma's place: the thrill of the kill. "Sickening yet exhilarating butchery" was "joy unspeakable" for one New Zealand sapper, while bayoneting a Turk unleashed "the fiercest individual excitement" for another combatant. Henry de Man thought himself above the butchery of World War I until he "saw bodies or parts of bodies go up in the air and heard the desperate yelling of the wounded or the runaways. I had to confess to myself that it was one of the happiest moments of my life". Half a century later, the same ecstasy touched Vietnam. "I enjoyed the shooting and the killing. I was literally turned on when I saw a geek get shot", recalled one U.S. Marine. For an 18-year-old radio operator, Vietnam was like Hollywood, only more fun, a place where he "loved to just sit in the ditch and watch people die. As bad as that sounds, I just liked to watch no matter what happened, sitting back with my home-made cup of hot chocolate. It was like a big movie". A big movie _ but with no popcorn and real blood. "Of course there is trauma with the pleasure but the notion of fun is always vanished after a war. It's almost like a curtain of taboo is drawn over it", Bourke said in an interview.
Sex, not surprisingly, looms largest for the front's pleasure-seekers, though soldiers frequently wield sporting metaphors and the language of childbirth (as metaphor for the baptism of fire as a rite de passage) to describe the kill. "I do think that a sizable minority find it (killing) sexually exhilarating. There is the whole release of tension: the waiting to go over, followed by a great burst of adrenaline and finally the sleepy lull that we all know. Very few people like war but when placed in that situation most do find ways of enjoying it, such is the creativity of the human imagination", said Bourke.

At West Point, the US military academy, it has been shown in a number of experiments that people in groups get more worked up than people alone (Baker & Schaie, 1969). Given the opportunity, they are far more cruel and aggressive. In itself this may not be so surprising - that is why riots happen, after all. But the corollary is more surprising: it appears from the experiments that though anger is 'contagious', its relief is not. In other words groups get worked up more quickly than individuals - but calm down more slowly. This is not necessarily a good thing in combat. Combat 'aggressiveness' is generally a cool efficiency rather than 'fighting mad'" (Watson, 1980).

* Latent or vicarious bloodthirstiness
Many phenomena bear witness to the widespread prevalence or latent bloodthirstiness throughout history. Millions who have never actually shed blood seem to gain satisfaction by witnessing or fantasizing it, as suggested by the immense popularity of public torture and execution of the condemned in the past, and of books, films, and television programs that graphically portray murderous and sadistic actions today. Along the same lines is the enormous attendance at spectator sports that hold explicit or implicit promise of injury to the players, from gladiatorial combats in ancient times to prize fighting, motor racing and ice hockey today. Witnessing others' deaths and injury, like actually killing or injuring them, may be partly an effort to reassure oneself as to one's own relative invulnerability (Frank, 1994).


Diffuse Sanctioning of Indiscriminate Violence

"Often there is an implied message to the soldier in the field that anything he does to relieve the sense of stalemate will be condoned, if not praised by his superiors. This leads not only to the counting of civilian casualties as Viet Cong to inflate body counts, but also to a feeling that when there is any question about a person's identity it is better to shoot first and ask questions later. I witnessed an old woman and an eighteen-month-old child being shot by indiscriminate firing into a village. It was readily agreed that they should be counted as Viet Cong casualties because it was known to be a Viet Cong-controlled village and because the colonel commanding the outfit had expressed the expectation that the attack would result in many enemy casualties" (Bourne, 1971). This is a perfect example of what has been called 'diffuse sanctioning' (Sanford & Comstock, 1971).
The 'pep talk' by the company commander just prior to My Lai was actually part of a funeral ceremony for a fallen sergeant. GIs remember being told to 'kill every man, woman, and child in the village' so that 'nothing would be walking, growing, or crawling' when the company left. They recall also to have been urged to 'let it out, let it go'. Which they did (Lifton, 1967).
Indiscrimate violence may also have been facilitated (in the case of Japan in WW II, and Vietnam) by racism: "Overriding all other issues is a strong racist flavor that pervades the attitude of the military toward all Vietnamese and which enjoys tacit endorsement by many senior officers." (Bourne, 1971).

The average Vietnam GI is thrust into a strange, far-away, and very alien place. The Vietnamese people and their culture are equally alien to him. Finding himself in the middle of a guerrilla war in which the guerrillas have intimate contact with ordinary people, the environment to him is not only dangerous and unpredictable but devoid of landmarks that might warn of danger or help him to identify the enemy. He experiences a combination of profound inner confusion, helplessness, and terror.
Then he sees his buddies killed and mutilated. He may experience the soldier-survivor's impulse toward revenge, toward overcoming his own emotional conflicts and giving meaning to his buddies' sacrifices by getting back at the enemy. And in an ordinary war there is a structure and ritual for doing just that - battle lines and established methods for contacting the enemy and carrying out individual and group battle tasks with aggressiveness and courage. But in Vietnam there is none of that - the enemy is everyone and no one, never still, rarely visible, and usually indistinguishable from the ordinary peasant. The GI is therefore denied the minimal psychological satisfactions of war, and, as a result, his fear, rage, and frustration mount (Lifton, 1967).

* Killing and the fear of being killed
Observing the death and injuries of Vietnamese civilians on such a massive scale, and the even more massive disruptions of village life and forced relocations, he cannot but feel that the Vietnamese have become more or less expendable. That is why Vietnam veterans Lifton (1967) talked to were not really surprised by the disclosures of atrocities committed by American troops at My Lai and elsewhere. Virtually all of them had either witnessed or heard of similar incidents, if on a somewhat smaller scale. Hence Paul Meadlo's public statement that what he and others did at My Lai "seemed like it was the natural thing to do at the time".
Meadlo went on to say that immediately after killing a number of Vietnamese civilians he "felt good" and that "I was getting relieved from what I had seen earlier over there". Applicable here is an established psychological principle that killing can relieve fear of being killed.

* Psychic numbing
But there is something more operating in connection with these massacres: the momentary illusion on the part of GIs that, by gunning down these figures now equated with the enemy - even little babies and women and old men - they were finally involved in a genuine 'military action', their elusive adversaries had finally been located, made to stand still, and annihilated - an illusion, in other words, that they had finally put their world back in order.
Other veterans have reported witnessing or participating in killings of civilians without even the need for such an illusion. Sometimes these killings have been performed with the spirit of the hunter or the indiscriminate executioner - pot shots at random Vietnamese taken from helicopters, heavy fire directed at populated villages for no more reason than a commanding officer's feeling that he 'didn't like their looks'. In addition there have been many accounts of such things as the shoving of suspects out of helicopters, the beheadings of Vietcong or Vietcong suspects, and of various forms of dismembering the bodies of dead Vietnamese. The American infantry company responsible for My Lai, upon first entering a combat zone, had a kind of visual initiation into such brutalization in the form of a weapons carrier they encountered with its radio aerial strung with Vietnamese ears.
Actions such as these require an advanced state of what Lifton (1967) has called psychic numbing - the loss of the capacity to feel - and of general brutalization. Where such actions are committed in a direct face-to-face fashion - without even the psychological protection of distance that is available to those who drop bombs from the sky or direct long-range artillery fire - the psychological aberration and the moral disintegration are very advanced indeed. "For while there is little ethical difference between killing someone far away whom one cannot see, and looking directly into the victim's eyes from five or ten feet away while pulling the trigger, there is a considerable psychological difference between the two acts" (Lifton, 1967).

"Turning to the rest of the American population and its response to My Lai, we can identify at least three psychological mechanisms called forth to avoid facing such unpleasant truths: denial (The massacres did not really happen, or have been exaggerated); rationalization (All war is hell); and the mobilization of self-righteous anger (Stop picking on our boys, They [the Vietnamese] had it coming to them. you [the bearer of the news] ought to be sent to Vietnam to fight)" (Lifton, 1967).


War Atrocities: Contributing Factors

A British psychiatrist, Henry Dicks (1972) studied eight Nazi mass killers who were captured during the Second World War. Dicks concluded that atrocities are committed by people who have a history of being mainly mild-mannered, often with a preference for 'things' rather than for 'people' and who, though not usually violent, are extremely so on the few occasions when it happens. Dicks' work, as Watson (1980) comments, suggests that there are personalities who are more likely to commit atrocities although the circumstances are important as well.
The study of this particular issue became possible during 1970 and 1971 when psychiatrists in several parts of America began seeing as patients ex-servicemen who had served in Vietnam (Gault, 1971; Haley, 1974; Watson, 1974, 1975). All the men went to the psychiatrists in order to confess their part in atrocities in the Vietnam war. These studies suggest that, although the conditions of war may make anyone a potential mass murderer, some men are more prone to kill indiscriminately than others (Watson, 1980).
It has also been found in studies that the second-in-command often acts more brutally than average when his platoon or unit has just been given a new commander with less combat experience than himself. Several atrocities were apparently committed after inexperienced officers had given what the men considered to be impossible orders (Haley, 1974; Watson, 1980).

Gault (1971) has outlined some of the major principles contributing to slaughter and war atrocities as they were committed in Vietnam by American infantry soldiers:
(1) The enemy is everywhere. The weary, overburdened U.S. infantryman in Vietnam realistically perceives intense hatred and immediate physical threat from every quarter. Threat is omnipresent; he is drowning in a sea of enmity. This perception Gault calls the universalization of the enemy.
(2) The enemy is not human. Gault suspects that the image of a degraded enemy is essential to the psychology of any robustly homicidal combat team. Orientals are regularly referred to as 'gooks' and 'dinks'. These attitudes serve to psychologically soften the experience of killing Orientals, so that some soldiers feel that the individual dead enemy was "not like you and me, but more like a Martian or something". Gault has come to think of this psychological process as the preparatory 'cartoonization' of the victim.
(3) Dilution of responsibility. The individual infantryman often has the sense that responsibility for the specific slaughter of a specific victim is not precisely his but that it is shared. What might be termed 'vertical dilution' takes place within the chain of command.
(4) The pressure to act. This factor in the psychology of the combat infantryman can be divided into two general themes: the repudiation of passivity and the desire for vengeance. A soldier is expected to be 'aggressive'. General military principles emphasize the need to strike first, act swiftly and decisively, dominate the field of battle, control the lines of fire, keep the enemy on the run, search and destroy, etc. Moreover, in war, inaction is virtually unbearable.
The frantic soldier becomes so avid to avenge the suffering of his fellows that eventually any object will suffice to absorb his rage. As one young sergeant told Gault matter-of-factly, regarding his unit's wanton devastation of a relatively innocuous village, "we took too many casualties; somebody had to pay".
(5) The natural dominance of the psychopath. During the actual waging of war, especially a war like that in Vietnam, standard civilized conventions and prohibitions are widely suspended. Trust, decency, restraint, and gentleness are of little use in the face of relentless pressure to kill or be killed. In such an atmosphere, the man of blunted sensibilities and ready violence, unburdened by empathy or compassion and seeing others merely as objects; the man of restless, aggressively stimulus-seeking disposition; the enthusiastic advocate of wanton destruction - in short, the psychopath - finds himself at last in a world suited to his character. His will thus often prevails; his conduct often is seen as exemplary. He thrives and often leads. War confirms his old conviction that might is right and the rest is nonsense.
(6) Firepower. This last consideration is a mechanical, not a psychological one. Gaunt refers to the formidable technology of arms whereby a solitary man's destructiveness is preternaturally magnified. Long gone are the days when the sharp-shooting musketeer saved his single precious shot until the last possible moment of his individuated enemy's clearly visible approach. Today's rifleman carries a lightweight M-16 that spits in one second ten strangely small bullets at bone-shattering velocity. His technique usually is not to aim it but to get it pointed in the enemy's general direction and discharge thither a torrent of destruction. Terrified and furious teenagers by the tens of thousands have only to twitch their index fingers, and what was a quiet village is suddenly a slaughterhouse. We may call this the 'Trigger-pulls-the-finger' effect.

* Obedience
Milgram (1974) notes the following recurring themes in the transcripts of the My Lai episode, the Eichmann trial, and the trial of Lieutenant Henry Wirz, commandant at Andersonville:
(1) Euphemisms come to dominate language - not frivolously, but as a means of guarding the person against the full moral implications of his acts.
(2) Responsibility invariably shifts upward in the mind of the subordinate. And, often, there are many requests for 'authorization'. Indeed, the repeated requests for authorization are always an early sign that the subordinate senses, at some level, that the transgression of a moral rule is involved.
(3) The actions are almost always justified in terms of a set of constructive purposes, and come to be seen as noble in the light of some high ideological goal. In Nazi Germany, for example, the destruction of the Jews was represented as a 'hygienic' process against 'jewish vermin' (Hilberg, 1961).
(4) There is always some element of bad form in objecting to the destructive course of events, or indeed, in making it a topic of conversation. Thus, in Nazi Germany, even among those most closely identified with the 'final solution', it was considered an act of discourtesy to talk about the killings (Hilberg, 1961).
(5) When the relationship between subject and authority remains intact, psychological adjustments come into play to ease the strain of carrying out immoral orders.
(6) Obedience does not take the form of a dramatic confrontation of opposed wills or philosophies but is embedded in a larger atmosphere where social relationships, career aspirations, and technical routines set the dominant tone. Typically, we do not find a heroic figure struggling with conscience, nor a pathologically aggressive man ruthlessly exploiting a position of power, but a functionary who has been given a job to do and who strives to create an impression of competence in his work.

The Milgram experiments have been replicated by Ancona & Pareyson (1970) in Italy, Mantell (1971) in Germany, and Kilham & Mann (1974) in Australia. Sheridan & King (1972) have replicated the obedience experiments but with this difference: in place of a human victim, they used a genuine victim, a puppy, who actually received the electric shock and who yelped, howled, and ran when he was shocked. Men and women were used as subjects, and the authors found that the women were more compliant than the men. Indeed, they write: "Without exception, female S's complied with instructions to shock the puppy all the way to the end of the scale". Compliance and obedience to authority are thus not confined to (young) males in armies, but may be true cross-cultural universals.

Rapoport (1974) argued that obedience, not hatred, is the principal lever by which the abstract power of government is transmitted to the human agents of violence under its control.
Massacres carried out by government agencies (armies, punitive detachments, special extermination squads, etc.) do not necessarily depend on rampant hatred or sadistic lust on the part of the killers. In this respect they are akin to war. An agent of the government follows orders in these instances, just as a soldier does in war. Thus it was not necessary for all Germans involved in Hitler's extermination machine to be spurred by an intense hatred of the Jews, especially since only comparatively few were involved in the actual killings. Similarly, in Stalin's purges, though the extermination of political non-conformists and their families and of the 'kulaks' involved thousands of arresting officers, organizers of mass transport, guards in the concentration camps, etc., they were only 'doing their duty' as in war. To be sure, they were told that the victims were 'class enemies' but, as a rule, nothing about the nature of their 'crimes'. Thus, 'class enemy', like 'the enemy' in war, was a label that marked some people for destruction. Men need not hate to destroy their own kind.
Hatred is of essence, however, in communal strife and in massacres carried out by the populations themselves (not in the official capacity of hangmen, firing squads, punitive detachments, etc.). Such hatred is engendered by an internalization of the distinction between 'us' and 'them' in its most extreme form.
A famous example of a massacre instigated by a government and carried out by civilians was that of the Protestants, authorized by King Charles IX of France on 23 August 1572. The killings began at dawn on Sunday, 24 August (St Bartholomew's Day), and continued in Paris until 17 September and in the provinces until 3 October. The number of victims has been estimated at 50,000. The people who broke into Huguenot homes and killed whole families were not under orders to kill. They were given license to kill, to vent their rage on someone. The 'someone' in such cases is whoever happens to be differentiated as alien in whatever way the semantic environment singles out as significant (Rapoport, 1974).

* Conditions for 'guilt-free' massacre
"An essential element in most massacres or atrocities is a preceding psychological step in which the victims are relabeled and identified as being different, inferior or even subhuman, which then allows one to commit acts that would be unthinkable if the victims were viewed as human beings like ourselves...
Any reader of the accounts of the My Lai massacre will be struck by the fact that it was not a single isolated event, but the culmination [apotheosis] of lesser acts which had gradually escalated in their scope and brutality over many months... There is a thrill in killing that lies latent in most of us, but which can readily surface under the right circumstances" (Bourne, 1971)

Duster (1971) discusses the 'Conditions for guilt-free massacre' as follows:
The most general condition for guilt-free massacre is the denial of the humanity of the victims. This is reflected in the derogatory or invective epithets: You call the victims names like gooks, dinks, niggers, pinkos, and Japs.
One other general condition is the existence of what we can literally call a target population. There has to be a population to massacre, a vulnerable population, a population that has inferior firepower (or better, no firepower at all).
Massacres clearly have occurred within racial groups: whites have massacred whites as in centuries of European war, blacks have massacred blacks as in the Nigerian, Liberian and Somalian civil wars and the Hutu/Tutsi reciprocal massacres in Rwanda-Burundi, and the Far East has witnessed internecine slaughters on a large scale. It is foolish to treat race, therefore, as a necessary condition for massacre. Nonetheless, the existence of racial groups in structurally superior positions, exploiting and oppressing other racial groups, is one of the most conducive setting for massacre.
As Duster (1971), among others, has pointed out: whole societies or whole armies do not commit massacres. Certain men are always singled out to do the work. The men do their work, however, in the name of the society, the nation, the army, the police, or the church. War atrocities, massacres and genocides are ultimately committed by collectively-operating individuals (Ignatieff, 1993).
A further condition for guilt-free massacre is a connection between whatever fragment remains of individual responsibility and the organization with its rules. Loyalty to the organization takes precedence over every other consideration, every other loyalty, every other morality, and individuals are ostracized for violation of this loyalty.
When men see themselves and are seen only as members of an organizational arm, even their illegal actions cannot be charged as guilty, for that would reflect upon the organization; and this charge is avoided at all costs because of the original connection between faith in army or police and faith in the nation.
Finally, just as the individual policeman or soldier can avoid blame by obtaining organizational cover for his actions, organizations have their strategies for avoiding blame. Of these, the most important and the most effective are secrecy and isolation, usually in combination. Any military action or document that may be incriminating can be classified top secret in the national interest. When outside investigations reveal a scandal and blame must be located, top officials claim total ignorance. The culprits, the lower level actors who did the dirty deeds, "did so on their own", always.


Sanctioned Massacres

The slaughter at My Lai is an instance of a class of violent acts that can be described as sanctioned massacres (Kelman, 1973, Kelman & Hamilton, 1989): acts of indiscrimate, ruthless, and often systematic mass violence, carried out by military or paramilitary personnel while engaged in officially sanctioned campaigns, the victims of which are defenseless and unresisting civilians, including old men, women, and children. Sanctioned massacres have occurred throughout history.
Sanctioned massacres tend to occur in the context of an overall policy that is explicitly or implicitly genocidal: designed to destroy all or part of a category of people defined in ethnic, national, racial, religious, or other terms. Massacres of the kind that occurred at My Lai were not deliberately planned, but they took place in an atmosphere in which the rural Vietnamese population was viewed as expendable and actions that resulted in the killing of large numbers of that population as strategic necessities.
The targets have not themselves threatened or engaged in hostile actions toward the perpetrators of the violence. The victims of this class of violence are often defenseless civilians

Can we identify, in massacre situations, psychological forces so powerful that they outweigh the moral restraints that would normally inhibit unjustifiable violence?
Any explanation involving the attackers' strong sadistic impulses is inadequate. There is no evidence that the majority of those who participate in such killings are sadistically inclined. Indeed, speaking of the participants in the Nazi slaughters, Arendt (1964) points out that they "were not sadists or killers by nature; on the contrary, a systematic effort was made to weed out all those who derived physical pleasure from what they did" (p. 105).

A more sophisticated type of dispositional approach seeks to identify certain characterological themes that are dominant within a given culture. An early example of such an approach is Fromm's (1941) analysis of the appeals of Nazism in terms of the prevalence of sadomasochistic strivings, particulary among the German lower middle class... However general such dispositions turn out to be, it seems most likely that they represent states of readiness to participate in sanctioned massacres when the opportunity arises rather than major motivating forces in their own right. Similarly, high levels of frustration within a population are probably facilitators rather than instigators of sanctioned massacres, since there does not seem to be a clear relationship between the societal level of frustration and the occurrence of such violence.
Could participation in sanctioned massacres be traced to an inordantely intense hatred toward those against whom the violence is directed? The evidence does not seem to support such an interpretation. Indications are that many of the active participants in the extermination of European Jews, such as Adolf Eichmann (Arendt, 1964), did not feel any passionate hatred of Jews.

To be sure, hatred and rage play a part in sanctioned massacres. Typically, there is a long history of profound hatred against the groups targeted for violence - the Jews in Christian Europe, the Chinese in Southeast Asia, the Ibos in northern Nigeria - which helps establish them as suitable victims. Hostility also plays an important part at the point at which the killings are actually perpetrated, even if the official planning and the bureaucratic preparations that ultimately lead up to this point are carried out in a passionless and businesslike atmosphere. For example, Lifton's (1973) descriptions of My Lai, based on eyewitness reports, suggests that the killings were accompanied by generalized rage and by expressions of anger and revenge toward the victims. Hostility toward the target, however, does not seem to be the instigator of these violent actions. The expressions of anger in the situation itself can more properly be viewed as outcomes rather than causes of the violence. They serve to provide the perpetrators with an explanation and rationalization for their violent actions and appropriate labels for their emotional state. They also help reinforce, maintain, and intensify the violence, but the anger is not the primary source of the violence.

Thus it is more instructive to look not at the motives for violence but at the conditions under which the usual moral inhibitions against violence become weakened. Three social processes that tend to create such conditions can be identified: authorization, routinization, and dehumanization. Through authorization, the situation becomes so defined that the individual is absolved of the reponsibility to make personal moral choices. Through routinization, the action becomes so organized that there is no opportunity for raising moral questions. Through dehumanization, the actors' attitudes toward the target and toward themselves become so structured that it is neither necessary nor possible for them to view the relationship in moral terms (Kelman & Hamilton, 1989; These processes are more fully discussed in the section on genocide).


Repugnance toward Violence

Despite the social legitimation of violence provided by military institutions, the repugnance many soldiers feel toward killing is a recurring feature of the military literature.
Marshall (1947) claimed that army psychiatrists studying combat fatigue in the European theater had found that fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure in the individual; fear of failure ran a strong second. The Stouffer study also noted this repugnance toward killing and quoted a veteran rifleman who reported feeling 'funny inside' the first time he fired a shot at an enemy soldier (Stouffer et al., 1949). The stupid 'giggling' and out-of-context-looking grimaces on the faces of soldiers in the midst of carnage testifies to the same conclusion.
Cashman (1993), Grossman (1995) and Ehrenreich (1997), among others, have discussed the arguments against a simple aggression-warfare linkage in more detail. The following is summarized from Ehrenreich's account.
Fighting itself is only one component of the enterprise we know as war. Wars are not barroom brawls writ large, or domestic violence that has been somehow extended to strangers. In war, fighting takes place within battles _ along with much anxious waiting, of course - but wars do not begin with battles and are often not decided by them either. Most of war consists of preparation for battle - training, the organization of supplies, marching and other forms of transport - activities which are hard to account for by innate promptings of any kind. There is no plausible instinct, for example, that impels a man to leave his home, cut his hair short, and drill for hours in tight formation. As anthropologists Kroeber and Fontana point out, "It is a large step from what may be biologically innate leanings toward indivual aggression to ritualized, socially sanctioned, institutionalized group warfare" (Kroeber & Fontana, 1986: 166).
War, in other words, is too complex and collective an activity to be accounted for by a single warlike instinct lurking within the individual psyche. Instinct may, or may not, inspire a man to bayonet the first enemy he encounters in battle. But instinct does not mobilize supply lines, manufacture rifles, issue uniforms, or move an army of thousands from point A on the map to B. These are "complicated, orchestrated, highly organized" activities, as social theorist Robin Fox writes, undertaken not by individuals but by entities on the scale of nations and dynasties (Fox, 1992: 15).
Throughout history, individual men have gone to near-suicidal lengths to avoid participation in wars - a fact that proponents of a warlike instinct tend to slight. Men have fled their homelands, served lengthy prison terms, hacked off limbs, shot off feet or index fingers, feigned illness or insanity, or, if they could afford it, paid surrogates to fight in their stead. "Some draw their teeth, some blind themselves, and others maim themselves, on their way to us", the governor of Egypt complained of his peasant recruits in the early nineteenth century. So unreliable was the rank and file of the eighteenth-century Prussian army that military manuals forbade camping near woods or forests: The troops would simply melt away into the trees (Delbrück, 1985: 303).
Proponents of a warlike instinct must also reckon with the fact that even when men have been assembled, willingly or unwillingly, for the purpose of war, fighting is not something that seems to come 'naturally' to them. In fact, surprisingly, even in the thick of battle, few men can bring themselves to shoot directly at individual enemies (Grossman, 1995).
The difference between an ordinary man or boy and a reliable killer, as any drill sergeant could attest, is profound. A transformation is required: The man or boy leaves his former self behind and becomes something entirely different, perhaps even taking a new name.
As if to emphasize the discontinuity between the warrior and the ordinary human being, many cultures require the would-be fighting man to leave his human-ness behind and assume a new form as an animal. The young Scandinavian had to become a bear before he could become an elite warrior, going 'berserk' (the word means 'dressed in a bear hide'), biting and chasing people.
Often the transformation is helped along with drugs or social pressure of various kinds. Tahitian warriors were browbeaten into fighting by functionaries called Rauti, or 'exhorters', who ran around the battlefield urging their comrades to mimic 'the devouring wild dog' (Keeley, 1996: 146).
The ancient Greek hoplites drank enough wine, apparently, to be quite tipsy when they went into battle (Hanson, 1989:126); Aztecs drank pulque; Chinese troops at the time of Sun Tzu got into the mood by drinking wine and watching 'gyrating sword dancers' perform (Griffith, 1971: 37). Almost any drug or intoxicant has served, in one setting or another, to facilitate the transformation of man into warrior.
In seventeenth-century Europe, the transformation of man into soldier took on a new form, more concerted and disciplined, and far less pleasant, than wine. New recruits and even seasoned veterans were endlessly drilled, hour after hour, until each man began to feel himself part of a single, giant fighting machine.


Some Conclusions

(1) Ideological factors - not in the sense of voicing of or believing in easy slogans, propaganda, etc., but in the sense of 'latent ideology': underlying attitudes, cognitions, belief-systems, ideals and moral strivings, in short: symbol systems-cum-sentiment structures - may have, with a few exceptions, been systematically underestimated in the motivational make-up of combat soldiers.
(2) 'Aggression' - whether translated as 'furor', vindictiveness, revenge, pugnacity, hatred, enmity, animosity, bellicosity, 'fighting spirit' or something else - does not seem to play a major role in the motivational make-up of the ordinary contemporary combat soldier. For more remote military operators, like for instance pilots, bombardiers, gunners etc., this component is probably even less. This is not to say that for some individuals 'destructiveness' may not permeate their entire personality, and that for some individual soldiers the hatred of the enemy may not become their principal raison d'être. Such cases are, however, highly exceptional. Hatred of the enemy is not a necessary ingredient of combat motivation. The cases of orgiastic overkill, or the 'status orgasticus' of the massacres which occasionally occur, reveal at the same time atavistic as well as transcendent, trance-like, aspects. Van der Dennen (1985) suggested that such ecstatic behavior could perhaps be understood as a massive, eruptive discharge of fear of death: a fear-violence excess. It is not clear how this sudden, catastrophic reversal from fear of death into explosive violence takes place (physiological transfer?, violence as the magical denial of fear?); it is, however, in accordance with Lifton's (1971) observation that "killing can relieve the fear of being killed".
We can fully agree with Opton & Duckles' (1970) conclusion: "No evil intent is necessary for men to tolerate, or even reluctantly to applaud war crimes, all that is required is self-centeredness".





Appendix 1: A list of massacres and ancient, medieval and contemporary battles which resulted in routing, massacres or great losses of life (page numbers refer to Bennett et al. [1998] The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval Warfare; T + page numbers refer to Brownstone & Franck [1994] Timelines of War) The list does not include the many battles, civil wars, raids, campaigns, conquests, sacks, sieges, revolutions, revolts and uprisings of which the number of victims has not been documented:

The Assyrian Offensives (about 883 BC) Under Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883-859 BC), the Assyrians used cavalry, plus mass executions, impalements, deportations, and other brutalities, in major offensives in Mesopotamia, Syria, and the Kurdish mountains, where they sacked the city of Nishtun (Nusaybin) (T. p. 11)
The Second Battle of Megiddo (609 BC) At the second Battle of Megiddo - called Armageddon - pharaoh Necho and his Egyptian army decisively defeated a Jewish army under Josiah, with great losses of life (T. p. 15)
The Battle of Carchemish (605 BC) At Carchemish, Babylonian forces under Nebuchadnezzar II crushed Necho's Egyptian army (T. p. 15)
The Battle of the Thymbra Plain (546 BC) On the Plain of Thymbra, Croesus and his Lydian army were routed by Cyrus the Great, who pursued the retreating forces into Lydia, taking Sardis (T. p. 14)
The Battle of Sepeia (494 BC) Rout of the Argives (6,000 said to have died), made even worse by Cleomenes' treacherous massacre of fugitives who took refuge in a nearby sacred grove ( p. 289)
The Battle of Marathon (490 BC) After their defeat against the Greeks, 6,400 Persians were allegedly killed (p. 204)
The Battle of Syracuse (413 BC) The Athenian fleet and land forces were virtually annihilated by the Syracusans and Corinthians. The surviving Athenians were enslaved in stone quarries (T. p. 26)
The Invasion of Sicily (409 BC) Hannibal invaded Sicily with an army of 50,000 and quickly sacked Selinus, massacring 16,000 inhabitants and enslaving the rest (p. 139)
The Battle of Maling (Ma Ling) (354 BC) Feigning a retreat to draw Wei forces into an ambush, Qi (Ch'i) crossbowmen virtually destroyed the Wei army (T. 31).
The Battle of Crimisus (341 BC) Over 10,000 Carthaginians were reportedly killed by the Greeks (p. 89)
The Battle of Issus (333 BC) Using oblique battle tactics introduced at Leuctra by Epaminondas, Alexander the Great overcame great odds - some 30,000 Greeks against 100,000 Persians - to defeat Darius III on the costal plain of Issus. Perhaps half the Persians fell. (T. p. 35)
The Battle of the Hydaspes (326 BC) Battle between Alexander the Great and Indian King Porus, resulting in a massacre (p. 156)
The Battle of River Himera (309 BC) Some 7,000 Greeks perished for the loss of only 500 Carthaginians (p. 138)
The Battle of Heraclea (280 BC) In a long and hard-fought battle both sides suffered heavy casualties: 15,000 Romans and 13,000 Epirotes according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (p. 148)
The Battle of Ausculum (279 BC) Battle in which Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, defeated the Roman legions. Dionysius of Halicarnasuus recorded that the dead on both sides came to 15,000 (p. 26)
The Taking of Kalinga (about 274 BC) Mauryan Emperor Asoka was so appalled by the carnage at the taking of Kalinga, in which 100,000 people were reportedly killed, that he gave up expansionist aims (T. p. 41)
The Battle of Changping (Ch'ang-p'ing) (260 BC) The 400,000 remaining Zhao troops surrendered but the Qin massacred them all (p. 67)
The Battle of Tunis (255 BC) The disciplined formation of the Carthaginian infantry made short work of the surviving Romans. Only 2,000, out of 16,000, men escaped (p. 323)
The Massacre of the Mercenaries (238 BC) At the end of the Mercenary War against Carthage, surrendered and weakened mercenaries, numbering 40,000, were massacred (p. 298)
The Battle of Telamon (225 BC) Battle fought between the Romans and a large force of invading Gauls. It turned into a massacre when the Gallic cavalry fled. About 40,000 were killed and 10,000 captured. The Romans conducted a counter-raid in the territory of the Boii, with unknown number of casualties.
The Battle of Trebia (218 BC) The Romans were thrown into confusion and routed by Hannibal, leaving 20,000 dead (p. 321)
The Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 BC) Hannibal lured the Romans into an ambush and inflicted a resounding defeat. Some 15,000 Romans were killed and an equal number were captured (p. 186)
The Battle of Cannae (216 BC) Between 45,000 and 70,000 Romans (out of 87,000) were killed in this disastrous battle due to the trap laid by Hannibal (p. 55; T. p. 46)
The Battle of the Methaurus (207 BC) Between 10,000 (according to Polybius) and 50,000 (according to Livy) Carthaginians were killed (p. 212)
The Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC) Some 8,000 Macedonians were killed and 5,000 captured against a Roman loss of 700 (p. 92)
The (Second) Battle of Thermopylae (191 BC) The army of Antiochus the Great, Syrian king, 10,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, is almost completely annihilated by the Romans (p. 314)
The Battle of Magnesia (190 BC) After their defeat against the Romans, the Seleucid losses were 53,000 killed (p. 199)
The Battle of Pydna (168 BC) The Macedonians were massacred by the Roman swordsmen, 20,000 being killed and 11,000 captured against a Roman loss of only 100 (p. 260)
The Cauca Massacre (151 BC) The entire male population of the Spanish town of Cauca or Coca (some 20,000 men) were treacherously slaughtered by Roman General Lucullus, after their surrender (Appianus, Iberica: 52)
The Siege of Carthage (146 BC) Of an estimated population of 200,000 only 50,000 survived to be enslaved (p. 59)
The First Servile War (135-132 BC) Slaves - some estimate as many as 200,000 - revolted in Sicily, eventually being suppressed by Publius Rupilius, with perhaps 20,000 slaves being crucified (T. p. 52)
The Xiongnu Campaigns (121-119BC) Huo Qubing, Chinese commander against the Xiongnu killed about 100,000 Xiongnu during a number of raids (p. 156)
The Battle of Aruasio (105 BC) The Cimbri and Teutones gave the Romans one of their worst defeats ever, at Aruasio (Orange); the army of some 80,000 Romans, led by consul Mallius Macimus, was destroyed with an estimated 40,000 noncombatants also killed (T. p. 54)
The Battle of Aquae Sextae (102 BC) Plutarch gives the undoubtedly exaggerated figure of 100,000 Germans (Teutones and Ambrones) killed by the Romans (p. 19; T. 54)
The Battle of Vercellae (101 BC) The Cimbri, entering Italy, were slaughtered by Marius' Roman troops with losses claimed as 140,000-120,000 dead and 60,000 taken prisoners (p. 330; T. p. 54)
The Conquest of Asia Minor (about 86 BC) Mithridates (VI) Eupator, king of Pontius, massacred 80,000 Romans in overrunning Asia Minor (p. 218)
The Battle of Cyzicus (73 BC) A small Roman army destroyed a large Pontic army (p. 92)
The Spartacus Revolt (71 BC) Spartacus was killed and 6,000 captured slaves were crucified along the length of the Via Appia after the crushing of the Spartacus Revolt in 71 BC (p. 297)
The Battle of Tigranocerta (69 BC) The large Armenian army collapsed and routed with heavy losses (p. 316)
The Conquest of Gaul (58-50 BC) Caesar's conquest of Gaul is estimated to have claimed at least one million Gallic casualties
The Battle of Bibracte (58 BC) Caesar's Roman forces destroyed a Helvetian army crossing the Arar (Saône) River (June 58 BC), then defeated the Helvetians at Bibracte (Mount Beuvray), killing more than 100,000 Helvetians, including noncombatants (T. p. 58)
The Battle of Belfort (58 BC) Caesar's forces campaigned against the Germanic tribes under Ariovistus (Aug.-Sept. 58 BC), routing them near modern Belfort, Mulhaus, or Cernay and pursuing survivors back across the Rhine (T. p.58)
The Battle of the Sambre (57 BC) A Belgae coalition led by the Nervii anbushed the Romans encamped on the Sabis (Sambre) River; both sides suffered heave losses. Some 55,500 Gauls are claimed to have been killed or wounded by Caesar's army (p. 281; T. p. 60)
The Battle of Maastricht (55 BC) Caesar's Roman forces reportedly killed more than 400,000 Germans, three-quarters of them noncombatants, who had settled on the west bank of the Rhine, near Maastricht (T. p. 60)
Gallic Revolt (54/53 BC) During revolt of Gallic tribes agains the Romans, Ambiorix ambushed and slaughtered a legion and five cohorts (p. 13)
The Battle of Atuatuca (53 BC) Annihilation of 15 cohorts of Romans by Gauls (p. 76)
The Battle of Carrhae (53 BC) Some 20,000 Romans died and 10,000 were captured by the Parthians (p. 58)
The Capture of Avaricum (52 BC) During a heavy rainstorm the Romans were able to storm the walls of the besieged Avaricum and the population and defenders (nearly 40,000) were slaughtered (p. 28)
The Battle of Pharsalus (48 BC) Caesar had 200 casualties, but claimed to have killed 15,000 and captured 24,000 men of Pompey's army (p. 251)
The Battle of Zela (47 BC) The Romans destroyed the army of Pharnaces, king of Pontus and the Bosporus (p. 355)
The Battle of Munda (45 BC) Battle between the forces of Caesar and Pompey the Great. Caesar lost 1,000 men, Pompey allegedly 30,000 (p. 222)
The Battle of the Teutoburger Forest (9) The Roman army (about five legions) led by P. Quintilius Varus was ambushed and completely annihilated by the Germans under Arminius (Herman) (p. 312; T. p. 68)
The Battle of Idistaviso (16) Germans routed with heavy losses by Germanicus Caesar (p. 158)
The Massacre of the Lusitaniams (150) Roman commander Galba massacred a tribe of Lusitanians after he had disarmed them on promise of fair treatment (p. 124)
The Battle of Issus (194) The Roman army of Percennius Niger panicked and fled, with a loss of 20,000 soldiers (p. 162)
The Battle of Forum Terebronii (251) Romans forces were beaten badly by the Goths (T. p. 76)
The Battle of Naissus (269) The Gothic army, defeated by the Romans, lost some 50,000 men (p. 226)
The Battle of Placentia (271) The Alemanni, defeated by Aurelian's Roman forces south of the Danube, escaped and headed for Rome, badly defeating the pursuing Romans at Placentia before losing twice more, decisively, at Fano and Pavia (T. p. 76)
The Battle of Lingones (298) A major Alemanni invasion was twice defeated by Constantius, at Lingones (Langres) and Vindonissa (Windisch, Switzerland) (T. p. 78)
The Chinese Massacre (310) Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu) and Xianpei (Hsien-pei) peoples raided widely in China for more than two centuries from circa 300. Shi Le, leader of the Jie, a Xiongnu tribe, in a great raid in 310 massacred 100,000 Chinese (p. 291; T. p. 79)
The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312) Maxentius was drowned and many of his 100,000-strong army suffered a similar fate when the bridge collapsed, or were slaughtered by their pursuers (p. 215)
The Battle of Adrianople (323) Roman coemperors Licinius and Constantine I met with massive armies at Adrianople; Licinius' army lost badly and was routed with the loss of 40,000 men (p. 2; T. p. 78))
The Battle of Xiangyi (Hsiang-i) (369) Xianbei tribal cavalry defeated Chinese infantry; 30,000 men were killed (p. 344)
The Battle of the Tanais River (about 373) Huns, descendants of Asia's Xiongnu, began pressing into Europe, invading the lands between the Volga and Don (Tanais) rivers occupied by the Alans, whom they decisively defeated at the Tanais. The Alans were dispersed. In 376 The Huns crossed the Dnieper River to invade the Gothic Empire. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled across the Danube (T. p. 82)
The Battle of Ad Salices, or the Second Battle of Adrianople (378) An estimated 40,000 Romans were slaughtered by Goths and Alans. The Romans suffered one of their worst defeats in history (p. 3; T. p. 84)
The Invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire (441-443) Huns under Attila invaded the Eastern Roman Empire, reaching all the way to Constantinople and largely destroying the main defending army (T. p. 88)
The Invasion of Champa (446) The Chinese governor Tan Hezhi invaded Champa and massacred the city of Qusu as well as the Champa army (p. 115)
The Massacre of the Odoacer troops (about 493) Theodoric the Great treacherously massacred the troops of his former enemy Odoacer (p. 313)
The Battle of Taginae (522) More than 6,000 Goths were killed with minimum Roman losses (p. 306)
The Massacre of Loyang (528) Erzhu Rong massacred thousands of Chinese in the city of Loyang (p. 111)
The Battle of Casilinum (553) A Roman army of 10,000 men defeated and annihilated a much larger force of Alamanni and Franks (p. 59)
The Battle of Hyrcanian Rock (588) Ambush and destruction of a Turkish army by a small Persian force (p. 157)
The Battle of Chester (605) 'Countless numbers' of Britons slain (p. 71)
The Battle of the Salsu River (612) Ambush and resulting massacre of a Chinese army of 300,000 men (p. 281)
The Battle of the Halys River (623) Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeated the much larger Persian army at Issus (622), then routed the Persians at the Halys River (T. p. 99)
The Siege of Constantinople (626) A huge Avar army besieged Constantinople. Constantine led a successful defense and inflicted heavy losses on the Avars, who withdrew (T. p. 101)
The Battle of Yarmuk (636) Thousands of Byzantine soldiers were routed and slaughtered by pursuing Muslims (p. 348)
The Battle of Dunnichen Moss (685) Anglo-Saxon army ambushed and destroyed by Pictish army (p. 104)
The Battle of Tongguan (T'ong-kuan) (756) Tang imperial forces under Qoshu advanced wth 180,000 men, and were ambushed in a defile between the Yellow River and the mountains, and the entire army was wiped out (p. 318)
The Siege of Constantinople (717) A major assault of Arab Muslim forces was repelled, with heavy Muslim losses (T. p. 108)
The Battle of Xindian (Hsin-tien) (757) The rebels broke and lost 100,000 men to savage Uighur pursuit (the allied cavalry of the Tang army) (p. 345)
The Battle of Roncesvalles (778) The Frankish army was forced to retreat from Spain, attacked by both the Muslims and the Christian Basques; Charlemagne's nephew Roland and his rear guard, who covered the retreat, were annihilated in the pass of Roncevalles, an event commemorated in the epic poem Chanson de Roland (T. p. 112)
The Massacre of Verden (782) In the massacre of Verden, at the Aller River, Charlemagne and the Franks reportedly killed thousands of Saxon rebels surrendered to them by the Saxon nobles (T. p. 112)
The Danube Campaign (791-796) Campaigning in the Central Danube Valley, Charlemagne and his son Pepin defeated Avar forces and, farther south, Slavs, conquering parts of Croatia and Slovenia. According to Pirenne (19???), these were 'campagnes d'extermination' (T. p. 12)
The Huang Ch'ao Rebellion (878) Chinese rebels in Canton reportedly killed an estimated 120,000 Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Persian traders (T. p. 117)
The Battle of Lechfeld (955) Many Magyars were killed in the vigorous pursuit following their defeat (p. 188)
The Battle of Peshawar (1001) Jaipal's Hindu army was routed and lost 15,000 soldiers (p. 248)
The Battle of Balathista (1014) Emperor Basil II of Byzantium blinded 15,000 Bulgarian prisoners-of-war (p. 32; T. p. 128)
The Battle of Kuju (1018) Battle in which the Koryo state in Korea defeated and wiped out the invading Khitan forces (p. 182)
The Battle of Stamford Bridge (1066) England's King Harold defeated the Norwegian invaders, who returned with only 24 of their original 300 ships; Harold also suffered heavy losses (T. p. 132)
The Battle of Manzikert (1071) Possibly weakend by treachery within their own ranks, Byzantine forces under Emperor Romanus were surprised by Alp Arslan's Seljuk Turk army, then overwhelmed at the fortress of Manzikert, all being either killed or captured (T. p. 135)
The Massacre of Kumbi (1076) Almoravids took Kumbi, massacring its citizens and imposing Islam on the region of Ghana (T. p. 135)
The First Crusade (1996-1099) Thousands of unarmed pilgrims attacked and massacred Jews in many cities, such as Cologne, Mainz, and most notably Prague (T. p. 136)
The Battle of Ascalon (1099) Crusader forces routed the Mulsim forces (p. 23)
The Siege of Jerusalem (1099) Captured defenders and noncombatants - both Muslims and Jews - were massacred by the Crusaders (T. p. 139)
The Battle of the Field of Blood (1119) Sevenhundred knights and 4,000 foot soldiers killed by Ilghazi of Aleppo (p. 117)
The Battle of Myriocephalon (1176) The Byzantine forces, a large army, were unable to deploy and were massacred by the Seljuks (p. 224)
The Battle of Legnano (1176) On Frederick I Barbarossa's fifth expedition to Italy, the Germans were badly defeated by the Lombard League at Legnano (T. p. 144)
The Battle of Alarcos (1195) Muslim forces routed the Castilians (p. 8)
The Albigensian Crusade (1203-1226) Many 'heretical' cities in southern France were captured by the Crusaders, and their inhabitants massacred (T. p. 146)
The Conquest of China (1213) Genghis Khan's Mongols conquered China up to the Great Wall. then defeated the main Chin army to take northern China, sacking Peking (1215) (T. p. 149)
The Mongol Campaigns (1220) The Mongols took and destroyed Samarkand, killing many of the inhabitants, as they had at Khojend and Otrar; Bokhara surrendered but was also destroyed (T. p. 151)
The Massacre of Merv (1221) Surrendering on a promise that their lives would be spared, the population of Merv (or Marv) of over a million were massacred by a Mongol army (p. 212)
The Battle of the Yellow River (1226) Genghis Khan attacked the western Xia (Hsia) in Kansu, in a battle on the frozen Yellow River, annihilating the Tangut forces, which suffered an estimated 300,000 dead (T. p. 151)
The Battle of the Sil River (1238) Mongol forces under Batu and Subotai invaded eastern Europe, defeating the Bulgarians and then destroying the Russian principalities; at the Sil River, the Mongols annihilated the Russian army (T. p. 152)
The Siege of Kiev (1240) Mongols under Subotai attacked Kiev, which refused to surrender and was destroyed (T. p. 152)
The Battle of Cracow (1241) Mongols under Subotai invaded central Europe. One army defeated four larger Polish armies, including that of Boleslav V of Poland at Cracow, and raided widely throughout north-central Europe (T. p. 152)
The Battle of the Sajo River (1241) Anther Mongol army, under Ogatai's son Kadan, swept through Transylvania and the Hungarian plain. At the Sajo River, they met and routed an army under Hungary's King Bela IV, ambushing the retreating forces and killing more than 40,000. On their way back east, the Mongols ravaged and effectively destroyed Serbia and Bulgaria (T. p. 152)
The Battle of Lake Peipus (1242) The Teutonic knights suffered heavily after defeat by the Russians under Alexander Nevsky (p. 185)
The Massacre of Baghdad (1258) The Mongol Khan Hülegü took Baghdad and massacred 200,000 (he claimed) of its inhabitants, ending the Abbasid Caliphate (p. 155; T. p. 155)
The Golden Horde Mongol raids (1259) Mongols from the Khanate of the Golden Horde raided the Balkans, Hungary, Poland, and Silesia, taking and sacking Cracow, Sandomir, and Bythom (T. p. 154)
The Battle of Evesham (1265) Rebellious barons were brutally massacred (p. 35)
The Battle of Vochan (1277) Yuan (Mongol) troops routed the Burmese army of 40,000 - 60,0000 strong (p. 334)
The Battle of The Bay of Canton (1279) Naval battle in which the Sung fleet was destroyed by the Mongols under Bayan (T. p. 157)
The Second Invasion of Japan (1281) In their second invasion of Japan, the Mongols were again defeated, by Japanese military strategy, including raiding the fleet itself, and by a storm wrecking many of their ships; only a few invaders survived (T. p. 159)
The Campaign of Ala-ud-din (1300-1305) Sultan of Delhi, Ala-ud-din, retook Malwa and Gujarat after bitter sieges at Ramthanbor (1301) and Chitor (1303), where defenders made final suicide attacks after reportedly burning their wives and children on a funeral pyre (T. p. 161)
The Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) Thousands of Scottish casaulties (p. 137)
The Campaign of Mohammed bin Tughluk (1337) Mohammed bin Tughluk, sultan of Delhi, campaigned in northern India and Tibet, losing an estimated 100,000 soldiers in his vain attempt to dominate the mountain peoples (T. p. 165)
The Battle of Auberoche (1345) A small English force routed a French force of some 7,000 troops (p. 25)
The Siege of Caen (1346) The French defenders were massacred (p. 51)
The Battle of Crécy (1346) Some 10,000 to 20,000 knights - the 'flower of French chivalry' - were slaughtered, while English losses totaled perhaps 200 (T. p. 166).
The Battle of Poyang (1363) After this naval battle, 60,000 men of the Han fleet were killed, while the Ming forces also suffered heavy losses (p. 256)
The Battle of Dingxi (Ting-hsi) (1370) Ming Chinese forces defeated the Mongols who lost 86,000 men (p. 100)
The Sack of Limoges (1370) Edward the Balck Prince took and sacked Limoges, killing most of its inhabitants (T. p. 168)
The Sack of Moscow (1382) Khan of the Golden Horde Toktamish reconquered Russia and took Moscow, killing many of its inhabitants (T. p. 170)
The Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) Portuguese and English forces routed the Castilians (said to have numbered 30,000) (p. 12)
The Battle of Kossovo (1389) Ottoman Turks defeated a combined army of Serbs, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Wallachians, and Albanians under Lazar of Serbia, who was killed in the fightng, along with much of the Serbian nobility (T. p. 170)
The Massacres of the Jews (1391) Widespread massacres of Jews in Castile caused many to convert (sometimes only outwardly) to Christianity (T. p. 170)
The Battle of the Terek River (1395) Pursuing Toktamish and his Golden Horde, Timur Leng (Tamerlane) administered a crushing defeat at the Terek River, then campaigned widely in southern Russia, killing and destroying, especially at Astrakhan and the capital, Sarai (T. p. 172)
The Massacre of Delhi (1398) Timur Leng (Tamerlane) massacred the inhabitants of Delhi, and devastated northern India (p. 98; T. p. 173)
The Sack of Baghdad (1401) After an uprising, Tamerlane retook Baghdad, punishing its inhabitants with a territble massacre and destroyig the city (T. p. 173)
The Battle of Tannenberg (1410) Ended in the slaughter of several thousand Knights of the Teutonic Order (p. 310)
The Battle of Agincourt (1415) Henry V decimated the French forces (25 to 30,000 strong). English longbowmen again cut down the cumbersomely armored French, with the loss of perhaps 5,000 knights (p. 5; T. p. 174)
The Siege of Aussig (1426) The Hussite forces routed the German forces (p. 26)
The Second Battle of Kossovo (1448) Turks defeated a much smaller Hungarian force under Janos Hunyadi; both sides suffered extremely heavy losses (T. p. 180)
The Battle of Tumu (or Tumu Incident) (1449) Half the Chinese Ming army (500,000 troops) were killed by Mongol cavalry. Chinese soldiers trying to surrender were slaughtered (p. 323)
The Battle of Formigny (1450) At Formigny, near Bayeux, French forces used cannon to batter the English longbowmen; almost all the longbowmen, nearly 4,000, were killed (T. p. 180)
The Battle of Belgrade (1456) At Belgrade, Janos Hunyadi's Hungarian forces first defeated the Ottoman Turks on the Danube, then routed the Turkish army besieging the city (T.pv. 180)
The Battle of Northampton (1460) An unknown number of Lancastrians were massacred by the Yorkists during the Wars of the Roses (p. 232)
The Battle of Towton (1461) When the Lancastrians broke they suffered - again - great slaughter. Edward and his Yorkists forces pursued the Lancastrians, routing them at Towton, at which an estimated 28,000 soldiers were killed, perhaps 20,000 of them Lancastrians (p. 319; T. p. 184)
The Vijaya Massacre (1471) Vietnamese King Lê Thanh Ton took the Cham capital Vijaya in 1471, killing 60,000 people and deporting 30,000 (p. 190)
The Inquisition (1478) After establishment of the Inquisition in Castile and Aragon, many religious dissenters, especially Jews and Muslims, were persecuted and massacred (T. p. 186)
The Battle of Bosworth Field (1485) Lancastrian leader Henry Tudor utterly defeated the Yorkist forces (T. p. 188)
The Battle of Stoke (1487) Ended in massacre of the rebel forces (8,000 men) with possibly 50% casualties (p. 300)
The Battle of Flodden (1513) James IV of Scotland, invading England, was defeated and he was killed at Flodden by English forced under Thomas Howard, with massive losses on both sides (T. p. 192)
The Battle of Marignano (1515) The Swiss and French each lost an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 dead (T. p. 192)
The Siege of Pavia (1525) The French besieged Pavia and were decisively defeated there with an estimated 8,000 casualties of the 20,000 engaged (T. p. 194)
The Battle of the Mohács Plain (1526) Suleiman I led a Turkish invasion army into Hungary, meeting a Hungarian force less than half its size under Louis of Hungary on the plain of Mohács. The ensuing battle was a decisive victory for the Turks, who killed an estimated 15,000 (T. p. 196)
The Battle of Panipat (1526) Babur's army decisively defeated a Delhi army of 30,000 to 40,000 at Panipat. Sultan Ibrahim of Delhi and an estimated 15,000 died in the rout (T. p. 197)
The Invasion of Hungary (1537) Austrian forces invaded the Turkish-held portion of Hungary; soon defeated, the Austrians fled, closely pursued by the Turks, who destroyed what remained of the invasion army, with an estimated 20,000 dead (T. p. 198)
The Siege of Algiers (1541) Holy Roman Emperor Charles V mounted a failed siege of Algiers. He lost 7,000 of the 21,000 in his invading army (T. p. 201)
The Battle of Pinkie (1547) Somerset's English forces invaded Scotland and, with naval support, decisively defeated Scottish forces at the Battle of Pinkie, on the Firth of Forth. Scottish casualties numbered more than 5,000, English in the hundreds (T. p. 200)
The Battle of Jemmingen (1568) Louis of Orange was decisively defeated by the Spanish at Jemmingen, suffering an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 dead of 15,000 engaged (T. p. 204)
The Battle of Lepanto (1571) Don Juan of Austria decisively defeated the main Turkish fleet at Lepanto. Less than a quarter of the more than 200 Turkish ships survived, with an estimated 20,000 Turkish deaths and many thousands of other casualties. Allied losses included fewer than 15 ships and approximately 15,000 casualties (T. p. 206)
The St. Bartholomew's Eve Massacre (1572) Catholics killed thousands of Protestants overnight in Paris, sparking the Fourth Huguenot War (T. p. 206)
The Ikko-ikki Uprising (1574) Oda Nobunaga ruthlessly put down a major uprising by a militant Buddhist sect (Ikko-ikki), slaughtering some 20,000 people (p. 235)
The Spanish Armada (1588) The Spanish Armada of 132 ships, carrying an invasion army, proved a military disaster. Scores of ships and thousands of men were lost in the disarrayed voyage home (T. p. 208)
The Battle of Kerestes (1596) Turkish forces numbering an estimated 80,000 defeated a smaller Austrian army at Kerestes, near Erlau, with losses exceeding 20,000 on each side (T. p. 210)
The Battle of Sekigahara (1600) The 72,000-strong forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated and effectively destroyed the coalition army of the feudal nobles; the coalition reportedly suffered losses of 40,000 of the 82,000 engaged (T. p. 211)
The Battle of Kircholm (1604) Swedish forces 14,000 strong, under Charles IX, attacked Polish-held Estonia but were defeated at Kircholm by a much smaller Polish army led by Jan Chodkiewicz; the Swedes retreated after suffering heavy losses (T. p. 210)
The Battle of Sis (1606) Persian forces led by Shah Abbas I decisively defeated a massive Turkish army lead by Ahmed I at Sis; Turkish losses reportedly included 20,000 dead (T. p. 211)
The Siege of Osaka Castle (1614-1615) Japanese government forces besieged Osaka Castle, then took it by storm, with massive losses on both sides (T. p. 217)
The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) This massive, multinational series of wars began as a Protestant-Catholic religious conflict in central Europe; it cost an estimated 8 million lives, more than 7 million of those civilians. The main human and material devastation occurred in Germany and Bohemia; large areas of both countries were blasted during the wars (T. p. 214)
The Battle of Weisser Berg (1620) Austrian forces decisively defeated and routed Bohemian forces, who lost an estimated 5,000 of the 15,000 engaged; Austrian casualties were fewer than 1,000 (T. p. 216)
The Powhatan Massacres (1622) Powhatan forces attacked the Jamestown colony, massacring more than 350 settlers and destroying more than 70 small settlements in Virginia. English forces defeated the Powhatans (1622-1625), massacring an estimated 1,000 Powhatans at Pamunkey (T. p. 217)
The Siege of Breda (1625) Spanish forces 60,000 strong besieged and took the Duch fortress of Breda; of its 9,000 defenders 5,000 died (T. p. 218)
The Battle of the Bridge of Dessau (1626) Peter Ernst von Mansfield's Protestant army was nearly destroyed by Wallenstein's Austrian forces at the Bridge of Dessau, losing 4,000 dead and 4,000 captured of 12,000 engaged (T. p. 218)
The Battle of Lutter (1626) Austrian forces decisively defeated the Danes, who suffered massive losses (T. p. 218)
The Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) At Breitenfeld, the Swedes and their Saxon allies decisively defeated and routed the Austrians, who lost more than 7,000 dead and 6,000 captured of 35,000 engaged (T. p. 220)
The Battle of Nördlingen (1634) At Nördlingen, Swedish forces in Germany were decisively defeated by an Austrian-Spanish army, suffering 16,000 casualties and captured of 25,000 engaged (T. p. 220)
The Pequot War (1636-1637) A small force of English colonists attacked and massacred Pequot Indians on Block Island; a brief war followed in which the Pequots were defeated; the war ended with the massacre of an estimated 600 Pequots by fire (T. p. 221)
The Siege of Hara Castle (1637) Japanese government forces besieged Christian insurgents at Hara Castle, massacring its defenders after their surrender (T p. 221)
The Battle of the Downs (1639) Dutch naval forces destroyed a large Spanish fleet off the English coast, sinking 51 and capturing 14 of the 77 Spanish ships; 7,000 Spanish sailors died; the Dutch lost 1 ship and 500 sailors (T. p. 220)
The Second Battle of Breitenfeld (1642) Swedish forces killed or captured nearly half of the 20,000-strong Austrian army (T. p. 222)
The Battle of Rocroi (1643) Spanish forces invaded southern France, besieging Rocroi, where they were met by a French relief force. In the ensuing battle, 15,000 of the 26,000 Spanish soldiers were killed or taken by the French, who suffered an estimated 8,000 casualties (T. p. 222)
The Battle of Freiburg (1644) The French retook Freiburg, with the French and Bavarian armies losing amost half of their soldiers in the battle (T. p. 222)
The Battle of Marston Moore (1644) A Roundhead army defeated Cavalier forces, which lost more than 5,000 of a total force of 18,000; Rondhead losses were approximately 2,000 (T. p. 222)
The Powhatan Massacre (1644) Powhatan forces again attacked the Jamestown colony, massacring 400; English forces responded by massacring the entire Powhatan people (T. p. 223)
The Battle of Preston (1648) A Scottish and Cavalier army of 24,000 invaded from the north; it was decisively defeated by Cromwell's 8,500-man New Model Army at Preston (T, p. 224)
The Cossack-Polish War (1648-1654) During this war, the atrocities committed by Chmielnicki's Cossack forces included the massacre of an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Jews (T. p. 222)
The Invasion of Ireland (1949) A 20,000-strong English Protestant army led by Cromwell arrived in Ireland, and systematically put down the insurrections there, committing considerable atrocities in the process. At Drogheda, 3,000 to 4,000 Irish soldiers and civilians were massacred; at Wexford, 2,000 to 3,500 were massacred; similar massacres occurred at several other locations (T. p. 224)
The Battle of the Guarapes Hills (1648) Portuguese forces defeated Dutch forces at the Guarapes Hills, near Recife, Brazil; the Dutch suffered an estimated 1,000 casualties of 4,500 engaged (T. p. 225)
The Battle of Dunbar (1650) Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army invaded Scotland and at Dunbar decisively defeated a much larger Scottish and royalist army, killing 3,000 and capturing 9,000, with negligible Roundhead losses (T. p. 226)
The Battle of Worchester (1651) At Worcester, Cromwell's New Model Army decisively and finally defeated Scottish and royalist forces, killing 2,000 and capturing 9,000 of 16,000 engaged (T. p. 226)
The Battle of Scheveningen (1653) At this decisive naval battle, the Dutch lost 1,600 men, and 18 warships (T. p. 226)
The Battle of the Dardanelles (1656) In this naval battle the Turks lost most of their war fleet against the Venetians, with an estimated 10,000 casualties (T. p. 227)
The Battle of North Foreland (1666) In this naval battle, the English destroyed 20 Dutch warships with 7,000 casualties, 4,000 of these dead; th English lost 1 ship (T. p. 230)
The Battle of Seneffe (1674) At Seneffe, in the Spanish Netherlands, French and Dutch forces fought a major, inconclusive battle; the Dutch lost an estimated 14,000, including more than 5,000 prisoners, the French an estimated 6,000 (T. p. 230)
The King Philips' War (1675-1676) New England militia decimated the Wampanoag Indians and their allies; the most notable massacre of noncombatants occurred when an entire walled Wampanoag village was burned with all its inhabitants, numbering 600 to 700, inside (T. p. 231)
The Battle of Lund (1676) Swedish forces allied with the French defeated Danish forces allied with the Dutch, at a cost 3,000 Swedish casualties of 8,000 engaged and 5,000 Danish casualties of 8,000 engaged (T. p. 232)
The Battle of Vienna (1683) A 76,000-strong relief force attacked the Turks besieging Vienna, and routed the Turkish army, with losses of an estimated 30,000 (T. p. 232)
Bacon's Rebellion (1676-1677) Nathaniel Bacon led a small group of colonists agains the Susquehannock Indians, massacring an estimated 100 friendly Occaneechees while doing so (T. p. 233)
The Pueblo Massacre (1680) Pueblo Indians under Popé mounted a successful insurrection against Spanish rule in Santa Fe, killing 400 people (T. p. 233)
The Battle of Fleurus (1690) French forces decisively defeated allied forces at Fleurus. French casualties totaled an estimated 6,000; of the 37,000 in the allied army, 6,000 died, 8,000 were captured, and 8,000 more suffered casualties (T. p. 234)
The Battle of Neerwinden (1693) Allied forces of 50,000 led by William of Orange were attacked by French forces of 80,000 led by the duke of Luxembourg, whose cavalry broke through the allied defensive line, turning retreat into rout. Allied losses totaled 19,000; French losses totaled 9,000 (T. p. 236)
The Battle of Zenta (1697) At Zenta, Turkish invasion forces were decisively defeated by an Austrian army; the Turks suffered massive losses, in the 20,000 to 30,000 range, while the Austrian losses were than 1,000 (T. p. 234)
The Battle of Narva (1700) Charles XII of Sweden destroyed the Russian siege army of 40,000, which lost an estimated 8,000 and ceased to be an effective fighting force (T. p. 240)
The Battle of Hochstadt (1703) French forces 30,000 strong decisively defeated an Austrian army; 11,000 of 20,000 Austrians were casualties or prisoner, to French losses of 1,000 (T. p. 240)
Queen Anne's War (1703) French and Indian forces attacked New England frontier settlements; notable was the massacre at Deerfield, Massachusetts (T. p. 241)
The Battle of Blenheim (1704) At Blenheim, on the Danube, English and Austrian forces decisively defeated a French and Bavarian army. Of 60,000 French and Bavarians, more than 38,000 were reportedly casualties or prisoners, with 12,000 allied casualties (T. p. 242)
Queen Anne's War (1704) English and colonial forces razed the largest Acadian settlement, while French forces and their Indian allies wiped out the English settlement of Bonavista (T. p. 243)
The Battle of Fraustädt (1706) A Swedish army of 8,000 decisively defeated a 30,000-strong Polish-Saxon force (T. p. 242)
The Battle of Turin (1706) The 60,000-strong French siege army was routed with more than 9,000 casualtues and prisoners taken, to allied losses of 3,000 to 4,000 (T. p. 242)
The Battle of Oudenaarde (1708) At Oudenaarde, on the Scheldt River in Flanders, an 80,000-strong allied army attacked the French army of similar strength. Ultimately, the French retreated, after suffering 15,000 casualties or prisoners taken; there were more than 7,000 allied casualties (T. p. 244)
The Battle of Poltava (1709) Swedish and allied Cossack forces were decisively defeated by a much larger Russian army led by Peter the Great. Of the 31,000 Swedes and Cossacks, an estimated 7,000 were killed, 2,000 wounded, and 14,000 captured (T. p. 244)
The Battle of Malplaquet (1709) At Malplaquet in Flanders, the French fought allied forces in a major, inconclusive battle that cost the Duke of Marlborough's allied army more than 20,000 casualties of 90,000 engaged, 6,500 of these dead; French casualties were more than 12,000, some 4,500 of these dead (T. p. 244)
The Tuscarora War (1713) Conflict in the Carolinas ended with the massacre of more than 500 Tuscaroras in their burning village on Contentnea Creek (T. p. 247)
The Battle of Peterwardein (1716) An Austrian army of more than 60,000 led by Prince Eugène decisively defeated a reportedly 150,000-strong Turkish army, which suffered 20,000 casualties to 5,000 Austrian casualties (T. p. 248)
The Battle of Herat (1719) Attacking Persian forces numbering about 30,000 were defeated by much smaller Afghan forces at Herat (T. p. 248)
The St. Johns Massacre (1734) Danish and French troops massacred 1,000 Black inhabitants of St. Johns, in the Virgin Islands (T. p. 255)
The Invasion of Turkey (1736) Russian forces 60,000 strong invaded Turkey, but withdrew after suffering heavy losses (T. p. 256)
The Battle of Karnaj (1739) At Karnaj, Persian forces led by Nadir Shah decisively defeated a Mogul army of 80,000, then took Delhi. A failed rising in Delhi the next day ended with a Persian massacre of thousands (T. p. 257)
The Battle of Mollwitz (1741) Austrian and Prussian armies met at Mollwitz. The Austrians had 4,000 to 5,000 casualties and prisoners taken, with a similar number of Prussian losses (T. p. 258)
The Battle of Wilmanstrand (1741) At Wilmanstrand, a 10,000-strong Russian army defeated a Swedish army of 6,000, which suffered 3,300 casualties and 1,300 prisoners taken, losing in all more than two-thirds of its force (T. p. 258)
The Battle of Chotusitz (1742) Frederick the Great's Prussian army of 28,000 defeated an Austrian army of the same size; the Prussians suffered almost 7,000 casualties, the Austrians 3,000, with more than 3,000 Austrians captured (T. p. 258)
The Chinese Insurrection (1743) On java, a Chinese insurrection was defeated by the Dutch, who then massacred thousands of Chinese (T. p. 259)
The Battle of Fontenoy (1745) The allied forces of 50,000 suffered huge losses when massed infantry were ordered to attack entrenched French positions across an open field. Allied losses were considerably larger than the 7,500 reported; the French reportedly suffered 7,200 casualties (T. p. 260)
The Battle of Hohenfriedberg (1745) Frederick the Great's Prussian army quickly and decisively defeated an Austrian-Saxon of 70,000, whch lost more than 15,000, 3,000 of them dead; Prussian losses were fewer than 1,000 (T. p. 260)
The Battle of Sohr (1745) Frederick the Great's army, now numbering 18,000 and retreating, defeated an allied army of 39,000. In a series of battles during he months that followed, the Prussians scored several major victories, the last at Kesselsdorf, which cost Austria more than 10,000 casualties and prisoners taken (T. p. 260)
The Battle of Raucoux (1746) French forces taking the Austrian Netherlands defeated allied forces at Raucoux, near Liège; the French suffered 3,000 casualties and the allies 6,000 (T. p. 260)
The Battle of Culloden Moor (1746) Jacobite forces were decisively defeated by English forces; the Scottish army lost 1,000 dead, 1,000 taken prisoner, and many more casualties, of a total force of less than 5,000 (T. p. 262)
The War of the Seven Reductions (1754-1756) Spanish and Portuguese forces destroyed all the Jesuit missions in Paraguay, with thousands of Guarani Indian casualties (T. p. 265)
The Battle of the Monongahela River (1755) A French and Indian force of 900 attacked and decisively defeated a British army of almost 2,000, led by General Braddock. Braddock and almost 1,000 of the British and colonials were killed (T. p. 267)
The Battle of Prague (1757) Frederick the Great's forces invaded Bohemia, defeated an Austrian army before Prague, with casualties close to 14,000 for each side (T. p. 266)
The Battle of Kolin (1757) Frederick's army of 34,000 was defeated, with more than 8,000 casualties and more than 5,000 prisoners taken, after attacking a 60,000-strong Austrian relief army, which had more than 8,000 casualties (T. p. 266)
The Battle of Rossbach (1757) Frederick's army of 21,000 decisively defeated a French army twice its size, losing fewer than 600 to French casualties of 3,000 and 5,000 prisoners taken (T. p. 266)
The Battle of Leuthen (1757) At Leuthen, near Breslau, Frederick's army of 36,000 sharply defeated an Austrian army of 65,000, with Prussian casualties of more than 6,000 to Austrian casualties of 10,000 and 12,000 prisoners taken (T. p. 266)
The Battle of Zorndorf (1758) Prussian and Russian armies fought to a draw with huge losses on both sides. Of 36,000 Prussians, there were more than 11,000 casualties; of 44,000 Russians, there were more than 21,000 casualties (T. p. 268)
The Battle of Hochkirch (1758) At Hochkirch, in Saxony, the Prussians were defeated by the allies, again suffering enormous losses: of 39,000 Prussians, more than 9,000 were casualties, with allied casualties totaling more than 7,500 of 80,000 engaged (T. p. 268)
The Battle of Minden (1759) A German-British army of 43,000 suffered almost 3,000 casualties while defeating a French army of 60,000 that had more than 7,000 casualties (T. p. 268)
The Battle of Kunersdorf (1759) At Kunersdorf, near Frankfurt, Frederick the Great suffered his greatest loss, with his attacking army of 50,000 having more than 17,000 casualties and more than 1,000 captured; the allied army of 98,000 had almost 16,000 casualties (T. p. 268)
The Siege of Quebec (1759) British forces 9,000 strong, led by General James Wolfe, besieged Quebec; the fortress on the St. Lawrence River was defended by a garrison of 14,000, commanded by Louis Montcalm. Making a daring night assault up the cliffs to the Plains of Abraham, British regulars won the decisive battle, and routed the French army with an infantry charge. Both leaders died (T. p. 269)
The Battle of Torgau (1760) At Torgau, near the Elbe River, the Prussians and Austrians fought essentially to a draw; the Prussians suffered more than 13,000 casualties and 4,000 captured of an army of nearly 49,000; the allies had more than 4,000 casualties and 7,000 captured of an army of 52,000 (T. p. 268)
The Battle of Panipat (1761) At Panipat, Ahmad Shah's Afghan army of 50,000 decisively defeated a Maratha army numbering 70,000, reportedly with 20,000 Maratha casualties (T. p. 271)
The Battle of Trincomalee (1767) British forces defeated Mysore and Hyderabad armies, with reported Mysore losses of more than 4,000 and negligible British losses (T. p. 273)
The Invasion of Burma (1769) Unsuccessful Chinese invasion forces withdrew from Burma, having suffered heavy losses (T. p. 273)
The American Revolution (1778) British and Indian forces attacked American settlements; massacres occurred in many locations, as at Cherry Valley by Walter Butler's Tory irregulars and Joseph Brant's Iroquois. American forces also conducted massacres, primarily of Indians in western Pennsylvania and western New York (T. p. 281)
The Battle of Cowpens (1781) Banastre Tarleton's British force of 1,100 lost more than 900 killed or captured to an American force of 1,000 led by General Daniel Morgan (T. p. 283)
The Battle of the Saints (1782) The British decisively defeated the French, with French casualties of almost 5,000 and 8,000 prisoners taken; there were more than 1,000 British casualties (T. p. 285)
The Second Battle of Svenskund (1790) At his naval battle, the Swedish fleet decisively defeated the Russians, who lost more than 60 ships, with more than 7,000 casualties (T. p. 288)
The Battle of Warsaw (1794) Russian forces defeated the Polish insurgents in several battles. Warsaw fell with tens of thousands of casualties (T. p. 290)
The Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1797) A British fleet captured 4 of 17 Spanish battleships, with almost 4,000 Spanish casualties and prisoners taken (T. p. 292)
The Battle of Camperdown (1797) Off Camperdown, in Holland, British naval forced captured 9 of 15 Dutch battleships, with more than 1,000 Dutch casualties and almost 4,000 prisoners taken; there were more than 1,000 British casualties (T. p. 292)
The Battle of the Nile (1798) A British war fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson surprised and destroyed a French war fleet; of 13 French battleships, 11 were sunk or captured, with more than 3,000 casualties and 3,000 prisoners taken; the British had fewer than 1,000 casualties (T. p. 294)
The Massacre of Seringapatam (1799) British Indian forces attacked Mysore, besieging and taking Seringapatam, then massacring a reported 6,000 of its remaining defenders (T. p. 295)
The Haiti Massacre (1799) Pierre Toussaint L'Ouverture's forces defeated the republic in southern Haiti, massacring thousands (T. p. 295)
The Battle of Zurich (1799) French victory cost the allies 8,000 casualties of 20,000 engaged (T. p. 296)
The Battle of Marengo (1800) Napoleon Bonaparte's army of 28,000 decisively defeated an Austrian army of 31,000 at Marengo; the Austrians suffered more than 9,000 casualties and 4,000 prisoners taken; the French almost 6,000 casualties (T. p. 296)
The Second Haiti Massacre (1804) Jean Jacques Dessalines took power in Haiti; his forces quickly massacred all the Whites they could find on the island, numbering in the thousands (T. p. 299)
The Battle of Austerlitz (1805) Napoleon, with an army of 73,000 [68,000], destroyed an allied army of 85,000 [90,000], under General Kutuzov at Austerlitz. Allied losses included 13,000 [15,000] casualties and more than 10,000 [11,000] prisoners taken, with French casualties at more than 8,000 [9,000] (T. p. 298; In [] the figures in Encycl. Brit., 1977, I: 659)
The Battle of Trafalgar (1895) Off Cape Trafalgar, Horatio Nelson's British fleet won a decisive victory over a French-Spanish fleet, capturing 20 of 33 battleships in a five-hour battle that cost almost 7,000 French casualties and 7,000 prisoners taken, with British casualties at fewer than 2,000 but including Nelson (T. p. 300)
The Battles of Jena and Auerstädt (1896) At Jena, Napoleon's French army of 95,000 to 100,000 routed a Prussian-Saxon army of 50,000, with 5,000 French casualties to 10,000 Prussian casualties and 15,000 prisoners taken. On the same day, at Auerstädt, the French defeated a second Prussian army of 50,000, which was routed with losses of 12,000 casualties and 3,000 captured, with French losses at 8,000 (T. p. 300)
The Battle of Eylau (1807) Napoleon' forces met the Russian forces in an inconclusive battle that cost 23,000 casualties of the 65,000 to 75,000 French and 22,000 of the 83,000 Russians and Prussians engaged (T. p. 300)
The Battle of Friedland (1807) Napoleon's army of 65,000 had more than 10,000 casualties in decisively defeating a Russian army of 60,000, which suffered 18,000 casualties (T. p. 300)
The Battle of Talavera (1809) The allies and French fought to a draw at Talavera, with French losses of more than 7,000 and British losses of more than 6,000 (T. p. 302)
The Battle of Wagram (1809) In Bavaria, Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Abensberg, Landeshut, Eckmuth, and Ratisbon, with total Austrian losses of 35,000 to 40,000 and French losses of 10,000 to 15,000. Napoleon then took Vienna, but at Aspern-Essling on the Danube, he encountered his first major defeat, withdrawing after losses of 22,000 to 24,000; Austrian losses were in the same range. Napoleon responded with a decisive victory over the Austrians at Wagram, at a cost of more than 33,000 French and 24,000 Austrian casualties; 18,000 Austrian were taken during or soon after the battle (T. p. 302)
The Siege of Tarragona (1811) besieged Tarragona fell to the French, with 7,000 Spanish dead and 8,000 captured; there were 4,000 French casualties (T. p. 304)
The Battle of the Bridge of Calderon (1811) The forces of Spanish general Calleja decisively defeated Miguel Hidalgo's poorly armed Mexican rebel forces, estimated at 80,000, reportedly with 10,000 casualties (T. p. 305)
The Battle of Borodino (1812) Napoleon's Grand Army attacked Russia. The Russians retreated, following a scorched earth policy; fought at Smolensk, with 10,000 casualties on each side; and again retreated. At Borodino, Mikhail Kutuzov's army turned to fight a major battle that cost the Russians 45,000 casualties of 120,000 engaged and the French 28,000 of 130,000 engaged. On their disastrous retreat the French were trapped crossing the Berezina River, and lost 30,000 of their estimated 50,000 men (T. p. 306)
The Battle of Salamanca (1812) At Salamanca, Wellington's retreating army turned and defeated the pursuing French, at a cost of 5,000 allied and 6,000 French casualties, with 7,000 prisoners taken (T. p. 306)
The Battle of the Nations (1813) Napoleon, having raised a new army, attacked allied forces in Germany. At Lützen, his army of 110,000 defeated an allied army of 73,000, breaking through Ludwig Wittgenstein's center but failing to exploit the opportunity. Both sides suffered massive losses, in the 15,000 to 20,000 range, and took similar losses at Bautzen, another French victory. A third major French victory came at Dresden; French casualties were 10,000, but the allies retreated after suffering 38,000 casualties of 170,000 engaged. In the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, Napoleon was decisively defeated; his army of 200,000 suffered 38,000 casualties and 15,000 prisoners taken; the remainder retreated across the Rhine River, while the allies captured more than 100,000 French soldiers stranded in Germany. Leipzig cost the allies more than 53,000 casualties (T. p. 306)
The Creek-American War (1813-1814) Creek forces attacked and took Fort Mims, Alabama, massacring more than 500 people. Tennessee and Georgia militia led by General Andrew Jackson and others responded with a series of attack on Creek towns, burning several (T. p. 309)
The Battle of Waterloo (1815) Napoleon's final battle was at Waterloo, where his army of 71,000 met Wellington's army of 66,000 and Blücher's Prussian army of 45,000, which joined the battle later in the day. The French broke and fled (T. p. 310)
The Battle of the Maipo River (1818) The Argentine revolutionary army won a decisive battle on the Maipo River, with minor casualties; Spanish casualties were 1,000 and more than 2,000 captured.
The Zulu-Ndwandwe War (1819) Attempting to withdraw after a failed attack, Zwide's Ndwandwe forces were annihilated by Shaka's Zulu (T. p. 314)
The Battle of Boyacá (1819) Simon Bolivar's army of 2000 defeated a Spanish and colonial force of 3,000 (T. p. 315)
The Mfecane (1820) Shaka's Zulu army began the period called the Mfecane (Crushing) (ca. 1820-1835), attacking and destroying, absorbing, or driving out neighboring peoples, mostly Bantu, with an estimated death toll of 1 million to 2 million (T. p. 314)
The Tripolitsa Massacre (1821) Greek forces took much of Morea (the Peloponnesus) and many Aegean islands from the Turks; the rising was accompanied by many massacres of Muslims by Greeks, most notably at Tripolitsa, where 10,000 Turkish soldiers and civilians were reportedly killed after the fortress was taken (T. p. 314)
The Chios Massacre (1822) Turkish seaborne forces took Greek Chios, massacring or enslaving most of its population of 20,000 (T. p. 314)
The Battle of Karpenizi (1822) Greek forces surprised and routed Turkish forces led by Mustai Pasha at the battle of Karpenizi (T. p. 316)
The Battle of Ayacucho (1824) Antonio de Sucre's Venezuelan republican army of 7,000 defeated José de La Serna's Spanish army of 10,000, with more than 1,000 republican casualties to more than 2,000 Spanish casualties and more than 2,000 captured (T. p. 317)
The Janisssary Massacre (1826) After a Janissary revolt in Constantinople, a reported 6,000 Janissaries were massacred (T. p. 318)
The First Carlist War (1833-1839) A Spanish civil war of succession which was largely a long guerrilla war that cost an estimated 120,000 lives (T. p. 322)
The Battle of Vegkop (1836) South African Boer parties defeated much larger Matabele Zulu forces at Vegkop in the Transvaal (T. p. 324)
The Battle of San Jacinto (1836) The main Texan army of fewer than 800, led by Sam Houston, decisively defeated the Mexicans, with more than 900 Mexican casualties and more than 700 captured, including Mexican President Santa Anna (T. p. 325)
The Battle of Huesca (1837) Althought the Spanish Carlists won a substantial victory at Huesca, they failed to take Madrid, and in the subsequent retreat to the Ebro River, they lost 13,000 of their 17,000 soldiers (T. p. 326)
The Durban Massacre (1838) Boer negotiators led by Piet Retief were massacred by Dingane's Zulu forces in Natal (T. p. 326)
The Battle of the Blood River (1838) At the Blood River in southern Africa, Andries Pretorius's small Boer force, equipped with guns and horses, defeated Dingane's large Zulu army, fighting on foot and without firearms; the Zulu lost 3,000; Boer losses were negligible (T. p. 326)
The Khyber Pass Massacre (1842) British refugees, approximately 4,500 soldiers and 12,000 civilians, who had been promised safe conduct on their evacuation from Kabul to India, were massacred by Afghan forces in the Khyber Pass; only a few survived (T. p. 329)
The Battle of Palo Alto (1846) At Palo Alto, an American force of 2,200 sharply defeated a Mexican army of 4,500; they did so again the next day, ar Resaca de la Palma (T. p. 331)
The Battle of Buena Vista (1847) At Buena Vista, in northern Mexico, Zachary Taylor's army of fewer than 5,000 defeated Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's army of 15,000, with more than 700 American and more than 1,500 Mexican casualties. At Cerro Gordo, the Americans, 8,000 to 9,000 strong, decisively defeated Santa Anna's army of 12,000, with 1,000 Mexican casualties and 3,000 prisoners taken; American casualties were fewer than 500 (T. p. 333)
The Mayan Insurrection (1847) Mayan insurrection began in southern Mexico; the long, largely guerrilla war (1847-1900) would ultimately take more than 100,000 lives (T. p. 333)
The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) Massive Chinese civil war that would ultimately cost an estimated 20 million lives, pitting the Taipings, led by Tian Wang ('Heavenly King') against the ruling Manchus (T. p. 335)
The Battle of the Alma River (1854) Allied seaborne forces numbering more than 55,000 attacked in the Crimea. Allied and Russian forces met at the Alma River; the Russians retreated after a battle that cost 2,000 allied and 4,000 Russian casualties (T. p. 226)
Battle of Balaklava (1854) During the Crimean War, at Balaklava, Russian forces tried to break through to the rear of besieging British forces; during the battle British commanders ordered the 'charge of the Light Brigade', a cavalry charge through artillery crossfire that was doomed before it was ordered [[This charge is the epitome of 'military incompetence']] (T. p. 336)
The Battle of Inkerman (1854) At Inkerman, the Russians unsuccessfully tried to drive a wedge between elements of the allied siege army, suffering casualties of 12,000 in the failed effort; the allies suffered more than 4,000 casualties (T. p. 336)
The Battle of Sevastopol (1855) Allied forces unsuccessfully stormed Sevastopol, at a cost of 7,000 allied and 8,500 Russian casualties. The allies tried and failed again 10 days later. The Russians again unsuccessfully tried to breach siege lines, at a cost of more than 8,000 casualties. Allied forces successfully stormed the fort, at a cost of 23,000 casualties, 13,000 of them Russian and 10,000 allied (T. p. 338)
The Ash Hollow Massacre (1855) American forces numbering 600 massacred Brulé Sioux villagers at Ash Hollow, Nebraska, with at least 150 dead or wounded of 250 total, many of them noncombatants (T. p. 339)
The Indian Massacres (1857) During the Indian-British War, massacres of Europeans began at Meerut, then spread to Delhi and throughout India; 200 were massacred after surrendering with a promise of safe conduct. In the same period, British forces massacred many hundreds, and probably thousands, ot Indian prisoners (T. p. 339)
The Jhansi Massacre (1858) British forces besieged and took Jhansi, massacring an estimated 5,000 Indians, many of them noncombatants, after they had surrendered (T. p. 341)
The Battle of Bull Run (1861) At Bull Run (Manassas), Virginia, the first major battle of the American Civil War, Union forces of 28,000 were routed by Beauregard's Confederate army of 32,000, with 1,500 Union and 2,000 Confederate casualties and 1,300 Union prisoners (T. p. 343)
The Battle of Shiloh (1862) At Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), on the Tennessee River, Grant's army of 62,000 defeated Beauregard's army of 40,000 in one of the costliest battles of the war. Union casualties were more than 10,000, with almost 3,000 captured or missing; Confederate casualties were almost 10,000, with almost 1,000 captured or missing (T. p. 343)
The Seven Days' Battles (1862) Union losses in the campaign included almost 10,000 casualties and 6,000 captured or missing; Confederate casualties were kore than 20,000, with fewer than 1,000 captured or missing. At the second battle of Bull Run, Union losses were more than 16,000, Confederate losses more than 9,000. At Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland, Lee's army, now 45,000 strong, defeated McClellan's army of 87,000 in the worst single day of the war, costing almost 12,000 Union and more than 11,000 Confederate casualties. At Fredericksburg, the Union army, now 106,000 strong, suffered more than 12,000 casualties before withdrawing; Confederate losses were fewer than 5,000 (T. p. 345)
The Minnesota Massacre (1862) long-standing conflicts grew into war when Santee Sioux forces in Minnesota massacred several hundred settlers (T. p. 345)
The Wuchang Massacres (1863) Manchu and Western forces commanded by British officer Gordon took Wuchang, then Soochow and other major cities, usually with massacres of thousands of those surrendering, including civilians (T. p. 347)
The Battle of Chancellorsville (1863) At Chancellorsville, on the Rappahannock River, Lee's Confederate army of 61,000 decisively defeated Hooker's Union army of 97,000, with Union casualties of more than 11,000 and more than 6,000 captured or missing; Confederate casualties were almost 11,000 (T. p. 347)
The Battle of Gettysburg (1863) At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in the most decisive and costliest battle of the war, Meade's Union army of 88,000 defeated Lee's Confederate forces of 75,000. Southern losses included an estimated 23,000 casualties and 5,000 missing or captured, with Northern losses of 15,000 casualties and 5,000 missing or captured. At Chickamauga Creek, Bragg's Confederate army of 66,000 sharply defeated Rosecrans's army of 58,000. Southern losses were more than 18,000, Northern losses more than 16,000. Grant's army of more than 60,000 defeated Bragg's siege army of 40,000 at Chattanooga, with Union losses almost 6,000 and Confederate losses of almost 7,000 (T. p. 347)
The Siege of Petersburg (1864) Grant's 120,000-strong Army of the Potomac attacked Lee's 64,000-strong Army of Northern Virginia. Grant steadily moved south while both sides suffered enormous casualties in this war of attrition. North and South fought major battles at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, then began the long, costly siege of Petersburg. Grant's forces lost an estimated 66,000 and Lee's an estimated 35,000 during the campaign (T. p. 349)
The Sand Creek Massacre (1864) At Sand Creek, Colorado, American forces massacred at least 300 Cheyennes and Arapahos, most of them noncombatants (T. p. 351)
The Bhutan Massacre (1865) British Indian army forces defeated Bhutanes resistance forces at the Dewangiri Stackade and massacring more than 100 after their surrender (T. p. 351)
The Battle of Sadowa (1866) Prussian armies totaling 220,000 decisively defeated a a slightly smaller Austrian and Saxon army at Sadowa (Königsgrätz). Prussian losses were 9,000; Austrian and Saxon losses were more than 15,000, with 22,000 captured (T. p. 350)
The Battle of Custozza (1866) An Austrian army of 80,000 invaded Italy, defeating a larger Italian army at Custozza (T. p. 352)
The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) Prussian forces defeated two major French armies. The battle of Vionville-Mars-La Tour cost almost 16,000 German and almost 14,000 French casualties. The Gravelotte-St. Privat battle cost more than 20,000 Prussian and more than 12,000 French casualties. At Sedan, Napoleon III surrendered his army of 83,000, which had already suffered 17,000 casualties and 21,000 prisoners taken (T. p. 354)
The Blood River Massacre (1870) At the Blood River, in Montana, the American cavalry massacred at least 170 Blackfoot villagers, all but a few of them noncombatants (T. p. 355)
The Philippolis Massacre (1876) Turkish forces defeated risings in Bulgaria, massacring an estimated 15,000 near Phillippolis (T. p. 356)
The Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876) In an unequalled underestimation of his enemy, General Custer, at the head of 220 of his 750-strong Seventh Cavalry, charged the entire Sioux and Cheyenne force at the Little Bighorn; he and his entire cavalry force died in battle (T. p. 357)
The Battle of Isandhlwana (1879) At Isandhlwana, Zulu forces numbering 20,000, led by Cetshwayo, attacked and destroyed a British and colonial force of 1,800, with almost 1,400 British and Black African colonials dead; an estimated 2,000 Zulu died (T. p. 358)
The Battle of Tacna (1880) At Tacna, Chilean forces numbering 14,000 defeated slightly smaller allied forces, with more than 2,000 Chilean and more than 3,000 allied casualties (T. p. 361)
The Battle of Chorillos (1881) A Chilean army of 24,000 defeated Peruvian forces of 18,000, with 3,000 Chilean and more than 9,000 Peruvian casualties (T. p. 361)
The First Sudanese-Egyptian-British War (1881-1885) Sudanese Dervish forces, led by the Mahdi, defeated a 2,000-strong Egyptian force, with more than 1,000 Egyptian casualties (T. p. 360)
The Battle of Tell el-Kebir (1882) British seaborne forces numbering 25,000 landed at Ismailia, Egypt. At Tell el-Kebir, the British attacked and routed an Egyptian army of 38,000, with 2,500 Egyptian and minimal British casualties (T. p. 360)
The Battle of Kashgal (1883) An Egyptian army of 11,000, commanded by British general William Hicks, was entirely destroyed, with few survivors, by Mahdist forces at Kashgal, in the southern Sudan; Sudanese casualties were minimal (T. p. 362)
The Battle of El Teb (1884) Mahdist forces destroyed a British-led army of 3,500 at El Teb, with fewer than 1,000 survivors. British regular army forces then sharply defeated Mahdist forces at El Teb and Tamai, with a reported 4,000 Sudanese dead (T. p. 362)
The Siege of Khartoum (1885) Besieged Khartoum fell to Mahdist forces. General Charles Gordon and the entire remaining garrison were killed (T. p. 364)
The Battle of Metemma (1889) Mahdist forces numbering 60,000 defeated Abyssinian forces numbering 70,000 at Debra Sin. Abyssinian forces, reportely numbering 90,000 decisively defeated the Mahdists at Metemma (T. p. 366)
The Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) An American cavalry force of 500, with cannons, massacred a captive Sioux band of 350, consisting of 230 women and children and 120 men, many of them noncombatants (T. p. 367)
The Armenian Massacres (1894) Massacres of Armenians by Turks in western Turkey killed an estimated 100,000 (T. p. 370)
The Battle of Ambu Alagi (1895) At Ambu Alagi, an Italian force of almost 2,500 lost more than half its strength in a defeat by a much larger Abyssinian force (T. p. 370)
The Battle of Adowa (1896) At Adowa, the Italian main force of almost 18,000 was destroyed by an Abyssinian force reportedly numbering 90,000, suffering almost 7,000 dead, 1,400 wounded, and 1,700 captured (T. p. 372)
The Battle of Omdurman (1898) Outside Omdurman, Kitchener's army, now 26,000 strong, met and decisively defeated the main Dervish army of 40,000 to 50,000, led by Khalifa Abdullah. Dervish losses were reportedly 20,000, with 5,000 prisoners taken; British and Egyptian losses totaled less than 500 (T. p. 374)
The Russian Pogroms (1903) An estimated 50,000 Russian Jews were murdered in a series of massive pogroms that began at Kishinev, Bessarabia (Moldova) (T. p. 378)
The Herero-Nama Uprising (1904-1908) This revolt, led by the Herero tribe in German-held Southwest Africa (Namibia), was joined by many of the Nama (Hottentots). It was suppressed by the Germans only with difficulty (T. p. 378). "The slaughter of the Herero by the German rulers of South West Africa was among the most exterminatory and horrifying of the reprisals for rebellion. The genocide of the Herero occurred between August 1904 and mid-1905, and was a systematically organized military offensive concentrated into a single effort. By 1905 the Herero population was reduced from 80,000 to 16,000, mostly ill and weak children, women and old people" (Palmer, 1998)
The Siege of Port Arthur (1905) Port Arthur surrendered after a seen-month siege which had cost an estimated 60,000 Japanese and 30,000 Russian casualties (T. p. 379)
The Battle of Mukden (1905) This was the decisive and final major land battle of the Russo-Japanese War, in which the Japanese ultimately forced back the Russians at an estimated cost of 100,000 Russian and 70,000 Japanese casualties (T. p. 381)
The Battle of Tsushima (1905) In this naval battle Togo's Japanese navy destroyed the Russian war fleet; the Russians had 10,000 casualties. Japanese losses included three torpedo boats and fewer than 1,000 casualties (T. p. 381)
The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) An estimated 1 million died in the series of civil wars following the revolution (T. p. 1908)
The Battle of Monastir (1912) In this decisive battle, Serbian forces routed the Turkish army, with an estimated 20,000 Turks dead or captured by the Serbs (T. p. 384)
World War I (1914-1918) Estimated human costs were 8 million war dead of 65 million mobilized, 21 million wounded, and an estimated 6 million to 7 million civilian dead, including those killed in the Armenian Holocaust, but without adding those killed by famine and the massive influenza pandemic that followed the war. In one battle, the First Battle of the Marne, an estimated 240,000 to 260,000 Allied and 260,000 to 270,000 German soldiers died; the Russians lost an estimated 125,000 men in the Battle of Tannenberg, 125,000 to 150,000 in the Battle of the Masurian Lakes, 90,000 to 100,000 in the Battle of Lodz, and 100,000 to 110,000 in the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes. Other battles claiming huge numbers of casualties were Gallipoli (250,000 Allied and about the same Turkish), the Second Battle of Ypres (100,000), the Battle of Verdun (1 million), the Battles of the Isonzo River (1 million), and the Russian Summer Offensive of 1916 (2 million) (T. p. 386-402)
The Armenian Massacres (1915) Turkish massacres of Armenians in Anatolia generated an Armenian insurrection (T. p. 390)
The Armenian Holocaust (1916) In the Armenian Holocaust, the Turkish government committed the mass murder of an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians, most of them dying due to disease and famine while in concentration camps in the Syrian Desert. Approximately 1 million more Armenians fled (T. p. 392)
The Second Armenian Massacres (1919) Following the Turkish collapse, Armenia rebelled; resurgent Turkish forces recaptured Armenia, and once again massacring large numbers of Armenians (T. p. 404)
The Amritsar Massacre (1919) At least 379 Indians were killed and 1,200 wounded at Amritsar, in the Punjab, when British troops under General Reginald Dyer fired on an estimated 10,000 unarmed demonstrators (T. p. 405)
The Ukrainian Pogroms (1920) The Ukrainians, led by Simon Petlyura, conducted massive anti-Jewish progroms in the Ukraine. Tens of thousands of Jews were murdered (T. p. 406)
The Battle of Anual (1921) At the battle of Anual, Moroccan forces ambushed and destroyed a Spanish army of 20,000, killing 12,000 and capturing most of the remainder (T. p. 408)
The Smyrna Massacre (1922) Mustapha Kemal's strong counteroffensive defeated and routed the Greeks, who fled back to Smyrna; the pursuing Turks took the city and massacred tens of thousands of soldiers and noncombatants (T. p. 408)
The Extermination of the Senussi (1923) Italian forces in Lybia began their eight-year campaign of extermination of the Senussi people, led by Omar Mukthar. It would cost at least 50,000 Senussi lives (T. p. 410)
The Shanghai Massacre (1927) Chinese Civil War (1927-1949) began with the Shanghai Massacre. Kuomintang army forces led by Chiang Kai-shek, attacked their Communist allies in Shanghai and several other cities, execuring 5,000 to 6,000 of those captured (T. p. 415)
The Stalin Reign of Terror (1928) Joseph Stalin began the purges that would culminate in the Great Purge (1934-1939), a great reign of terror and millions of death in the Soviet Union (T. p. 414)
The Blood Purge (Night of the Long Knives) (1934) Nazi mass murders of Ernst Roehm and the rest of the Storm Trooper (SA) leadership, as well as other out-of-favor Nazis (T. p. 420)
The Long March (1934-1935) In battle with Kuomintang forces as they retreated, the Communists suffered 150,000 to 170,000 casualties and defections of the approximately 200,000 who started from Kiangsi (T. p. 421)
The Rape of Nanking (1937) After the fall of Nanking, China, the Japanese army committed such a wave of extraordinarily brutal atrocities that they were condemned worldwide as the 'Rape of Nanking' (T. p. 425)
The Battle of the Ebro (1938) In the battle of the Ebro, during the Spanish Civil War, the Republicans suffered an estimated 70,000 casualties (T. p. 426)
The Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) (1938) German fascists attacked Jews throughout the country; Thousands died, and an estimated 30,000 more Jews were imprisoned (T. p. 426)
World War II (1939-1945) War began with an invasion of Poland by German army groups, using the new blitzkrieg tactics. [An estimated 55 million human lives were ultimately claimed by this disastrous war] (T. p. 426)
The Battle of Suomussalmi (1939-1940) Finnish forces defeated much more numerous Soviet forces; in heavy fighting, the Red Army lost 25,00 to 30,000 men, with Finnish losses of fewer than 1,000 (T. p. 428)
The Katyn Massacre (1940) In the Societ-occupied portion of Poland, in the Katyn Forest, Soviet troops murdered an estimated 10,000 Polish prisoners, including most of the Polish officer corps. The Soviets blamed the massacre on the Germans until 1990 (T. p. 430)
The Invasion of Yugoslavia (1941) German forces invaded Yugoslavia and quickly took the country. Yugoslav casualties were in the 50,000 to 100,000 range, with 250,000 to 3000,000 prisoners taken, while German losses were fewer than 1,000 (T. p. 434)
The Siege of Leningrad (1941) German forces invaded the Soviet Union, overwhelming the frontier forces. They took more than 1.5 million Soviet prisoners. In the north, they began the long, unsuccessful siege of Leningrad, which would eventually be relieved (1944) after an estimated 750,000 to 1 million people had died (T. p. 436)
The Shoah (1942-1944) Mass extinctions began at Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oswiecim), a German concentration camp complex in Poland; at least 2 million people, most of them Jews from Poland and the Soviet Union, were murdered there by the Germans. An estimated total of 6 million Jews were killed in the extermination camps (T. p. 438)
The Warsaw Ghetto Rising (1943) Warsaw's remaining 60.000 Jews mounted an insurrection. They knew that they had very little chance of surviving the mass murders that would - and did follow (T. p. 440)
Terror Bombardments: Air raids and Firestorms (1943) Massive Allied air raids on Hamburg destroyed much of the city, generating firestorms; an estimated 50,000 people died. Similar firestorms claimed an estimated 100,000 dead and several hundred thousands injured in Dresden (1945), and more than 80,000 in Tokyo. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima (an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 people died immediately, 75,000 to 125,000 more in the years that followed), and Nagasaki (40,000 to 70,000 immediate deaths, and 50,000 to 100,000 later) added violent air blasts and radiation to the fire storm (T. p. 442-449)
The Warsaw Rising (1944) German garrisons massacred the lightly armed partisans, as well as tens of thousands of noncombatants (T. p. 444)
The Ouradour Massacre (1944) On June 10, the SS-division 'Das Reich' massacred the inhabitants of the village Ouradour sur Glane. Of the 642 victims, 205 were children.
The Malmédy Massacre (1944) German SS troops murdered 86 American war prisoners at Malmédy during the Battle of the Bulge (T. p. 446)
The Partition of British India (1947) Hindu-Muslim rioting intensified with the partition of British India into the new nations of India and Pakistan; 500,000 to 1 million people died, and internal migrations totaled 10 million to 18 million (T. p. 455)
The Deir Yasin Massacre (1948) Israeli Irgun Zvai Leumi and Stern Gang forces massacred the 254 Palestinian Arab inhabitants of the village Deir Yasin, near Jerusalem, most of those killed were noncombatants (T. p. 454)
The Battle of Hwai Hai (Battle of Süchow) (1948) Last and most decisive battle of the Chinese civil war, involving approximately 500,000 on each side. Kuomintang losses were an estimated 250,000 (T. p. 455)
La Violencia (Colombian Civil War) (1948-1958) The massive Liberal-Conservative guerrilla war was fought mainly in the countryside and cost an estimated 200,000 to 30,000 lives and uncounted other casualties (T. p. 455)
The Sharpeville Massacre (1960) South African police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators at Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, killing 67, with 200 more casualties (T. p. 470)
The Rwanda Massacre (1963) Following the failed Tutsi revolt in Rwanda, the Hutu-dominated government manssacred 10,000 to 15,000 Tutsis; an estimated 200,000 Tutsis fled into exile (T. p. 476)
The Vietnam War (1965-1973) The Vietnam War cost an estimated 50,000 allied and 200,000 South Viernamese battle-related deaths; 160,000 other allied casualties and more than 5,000 prisoners of war or missing in action; and 500,000 South Vietnamese wounded. North Vietnamese and guerrilla casualties were unavailable, as were massive civilian casualties throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (T. p. 491)
The Indonesian Massacres (1965) Failed Communist Party of Indonesia coup generated army and militia mass murder of 200,000 to 300,000 people, including many noncommunists, and the arrest of tens of thousands more, many of them murdered in prison (T. p. 481)
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-ca. 1971) Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong instiruted a campaign and a set of purges designed to make China an entirely classless society; the movement's main instruments were irregulars called the Red Guards, who attacked 'revisionist' elements in the Party, with disastrous effects on the country's society and culture. [Countless people were brutally murdered] (T. p. 481)
The Nigeria-Biafra Civil War (1967) In Nigeria, the largely Ibo-populated eastern region of Biafra seceded, generating civil war with the Muslin-dominated Nigerian government. Deaths numbered 1.5 million to 2 million, most of them children and other noncombatants who died of starvation and disease (T. p. 482)
The My Lai Massacre (1968) The mass murder of approximately 150 unarmed civilians, most of them women, children, and old men, by a platoon of the American Division, was commanded by Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., at the hamlet of My Lai, in Quang Tri province; it was part of a larger body of atrocities committed by American forces in the area at the time. Calley was the only one convicted; he was later paroled (T. p. 485)
The Bangladesh War of Independence (1971) Insurgent forces were defeated in six weeks, with tens of thousands dead; 6 million to 10 million refugees fled (T. p. 489)
The Burundi Massacre (1972) In Burundi, a Hutu rebellion failed; it was followed by the massacre of an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated Burundi armed forces (T. p. 490)
The Pinochet Reign of Terror (1973) Chilean military forces, led by General Augusto Pinochet, mounted a military coup and engaged in reign of terror in which tens of thousands died (T. p. 491)
The Cambodian Holocaust (1975) In power, the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, instituted a genocidal reign of terror - the Cambodian Holocaust - in which an estimated 1 million to 3 million Cambodians died T. p. 495)
The South African Riots (1976) South African police killed more than 600 people and injured thousands more as rioting broke out in Soweto and spread throughout the country (T. p. 496)
The Argentine 'Dirty War' (1976) The military government of Argentine, initially headed by General Videla, instituted a campaign of state terrorism against all dissidents - the 'dirty war' that saw the murders of tens of thousands, called the desaparicios (disappeareds) (T. p. 497)
The Ethiopian-Eritrean War (1978) This long war of attrition continued, with more than 1 million civilian victims (T. p. 498)
Ugandan Reign or Terror (1979) Tanzanian forces invaded Uganda and defeated Idi Amin. An election reinstalled President Milton Obote, who instituted yet another reign of terror and generated a civil war (T. p. 500)
The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) Iraq attacked Iran. The long war would cost more than 1 million lives (T. p. 502)
The Sabra and Shatilla Massacres (1982) Lebanese Maronite Christian Phalange militia murdered 400 or more people at the Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, while Israeli troops in the area stood by, causing worldwide charges of Israeli complicity (T. p. 506)
The Punjab Insurrection (1984) Indian army forces assaulted and took the Sikh Golden Temple, killing an estimated 1,000 armed Sikh irregulars(T. p. 509)
The Sudan Civil War (1985) General Abdul Rahman Siwar al-Dahab took power by coup in Sudan, imposing even harsher Muslim rule on the Christian and animist south. The civil war intensified, becoming a full-scale southern guerrilla war for independence, accompanied by massive starvation an disease that by the early 1990s had cost an estimated 1 million to 2 million lives; millions more emigrated to escape the war (T. p. 510)
The South Yemen Civil War (1986) A week of factional fighting claimed an estimated 4,000 deaths (T. p. 512)
The Kurdish Massacres in Iraq (1988) Iraqi forces moved against Kurdish insurgents, using chemical warfare to kill tens of thousands, most of them civilians, and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees (T. p. 516)
The Second Burundi Massacre (1988) Failed Hutu Rebellion against the Tutsi-dominated government of Burundi was followed by the massacre of an estimated 5,000 or more Hutus by the Burundi armed forces (T. p. 516)
The Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989) As the world watched and condemned, Chinese troops attacked students evacuating the square, killing hundreds; this was the beginning of a reign of terror against dissidents throughout the country (T. p. 519)
The Romanian Revolution (1989) Romanian government forces attacked prodemocracy protestors at Timisuara, Transylvania, and massacred hundreds the next day, triggering the revolution (T. p. 518)
The Disintegration of the Soviet Union (1989) As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, violent conflicts broke out in many areas. Rival Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim forces fought in Uzbekistan, as did Uzbeks and Kirghiz in Kirghizia. Civil war spread in Georgia. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh (T. p. 519)
The Yugoslavian Collapse (1990) Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, beginning the sequence of events that would lead to the dismemberment of that country, accompanied by a series of communal wars, atrocities, massacres and 'ethnic cleansing'. Tens of thousands were killed and millions were in flight from Bosnia and Kosovo (T. p. 518)
The Persian Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm (1991) Iraq suffered at least 30,000 dead and 70,000 other casualties; 60,000 to 65,000 Iraqi prisoners were taken. Allied losses were fewer than 1,000 (T. p. 520)
The Ayodha Riots (1992) Fundamentalist Hindus destroyed the Babri Mosque in Ayodha, Uttar Pradesh, triggering nation-wide Hindu-Muslim rioting in which at least 1,000 people died. Separatist forces continued to wage guerrilla civil wars in Kashmire, Jammu, Andhra Pradesh, and the Punjab (T. p. 523)
The Bangkok Massacre (1992) Thai troops fired on tens of thousands of demonstrators in Bangkok, killing hundreds (T. p. 523)
The Angolan Civil War (1993) Massive fighting continued in the resumed war. During 1993, the war took an estimated 50,000-100,000 lives (T. p. 526)





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