January 2016 Readers' Letters | HistoryNet MENU
Confederate battle flag captured at the Battle of Mine Creek, Kansas, Oct. 24, 1864.

January 2016 Readers’ Letters

By HistoryNet Staff
11/23/2015 • Military History Magazine

Confederate Controversy
[Re. “NPS Pulls Confederate Flag From Civil War Battlefields,” News, November:] One cannot erase history to suit one’s own biases. The Confederate flag may be a symbol of oppression to some, but it is still a part of history. For the NPS to pull the flag from Civil War battlefields is plain nonsense. Does the politically correct crowd really think that by removing the flag, history will somehow right itself, and slavery will no longer be a part of America’s past? It happened. The Civil War happened. Not all soldiers who fought under the Stars and Bars were sadistic slave owners. In fact, during the war the percentage of slave owners was small in comparison to the Southern population as a whole. That might not exonerate them as being on the right side of history, but the facts cannot be changed.

Does the politically correct crowd really think that by removing the flag, history will somehow right itself, and slavery will no longer be a part of America’s past?

If we’re talking about flags as symbols of oppression, let’s take a quick look at the Stars and Stripes: How many American Indians died fighting the government? Yet many went on in following years to fight for the flag that flew while they were being slaughtered by the likes of George Armstrong Custer. When I served in Vietnam, we had a couple of great guys more than willing to fight under the American flag even though their ancestors fought tooth and nail to keep their land from soldiers who served under the flag.

You have to accept history for what it is, warts and all. World War II vets kept Nazi flags as relics of the war. In fact, British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery had one in his den after the war. These men did not glorify the Nazi flag—to them it was an artifact of something they were part of. So it is with the Confederate flag. It is part of history. You can’t change that. Live with it.

Tom R. Kovach
Nevis, Minn.

Churchill
[Re. “Churchill Rejoins the Ranks,” by Bradley P. Tolppanen, November:] The stories of Winston Churchill’s early military experiences are truly fascinating. In addition to his Dardanelles blunder in World War I, however, during World War II he recommended attacking the Axis through the “soft belly of the crocodile”—Italy. Ask any American or British veteran of the slog up the Italian peninsula how “soft” the going was, especially at Anzio and Monte Cassino. It seems that the only “soft belly” in Europe was Churchill’s.

Harold Ranzenhofer
Port Hueneme, Calif.

Spanish Civil War
On P. 29 of your September 2015 issue, in an article written by Anthony Brandt titled “They Shall Not Pass!” is an oft-used image of three Spanish Republican assault guards utilizing the corpses of dead horses as a parapet. Your photo caption misidentifies the Republican assault guards as Nationalist soldiers.

Larry Campos
Winters, Calif.

Editor responds: Our mistake. The photographer was Augusti Centelles, who did indeed fight on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War.

Falklands War
[Re. your May 2015 cover lines: Fight for the Falklands: 11 Warships, 134 Aircraft, 907 Lives. Worth the Cost?:] Yes, it was worth it. The British servicemen who died spent their lives basically to prove that their country collectively has the courage, toughness, fighting spirit and martial ability to travel halfway around the world and beat the crap out of people who try to mess them over. The freedom and sovereignty of a nation does not come without cost, and the truth of the matter is that in an elemental way this world is run by the law of the jungle. The way in which any nation responds to aggression will garner it either respect or disrespect over the ages. The response and performance of the British armed forces in World War II, the Falklands, Desert Storm, Sierra Leone, etc., around the world has bought the kind of respect that pays for the freedom and sovereignty of their nation, period. If there are people in the United Kingdom who don’t want to fight for that, then they should give up their citizenship, move somewhere else, stick their heads in the sand and hide from the reality of the world.

Tech. Sgt. Chris Dierkes
N.Y. Air National Guard
Monroe, Conn.

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