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歷史學 – 開欄文
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胡卜凱

我在《 政治學開欄文》一文中提到:年輕時我因為「急功近利;對政治學的興趣不大。由於同樣的原因,雖然初、高中時讀過幾篇《史記》的選錄歷史學也一直興趣缺缺。


家父2004年過世後,他的藏書幾乎都捐給了武漢大學圖書館。保留了20本左右;陳序經教授的中國文化的出路,大概有10本以「歷史哲學」為主題的著作我保留和閱讀它們的原因在於:家父雖然以政論家」聞名但他把自己定位在歷史學家和歷史哲學家在他老人家逝世10周年的紀念演討會上,發表過一篇《胡秋原史學方法論》;可惜文檔不慎遺失。


所以,我在60歲以後才開始重視歷史學20年來我發表過關於歷史」的看法以及轉載過一些史學論文;相形之下,寥寥無幾



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蘇西迪底斯會怎麼看?--Mark Fisher
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費雪教授應該是政治學學者下文從馬克思《拿破崙三世的霧月十八日》切入以蘇西迪底斯伯羅奔尼撒戰爭史為主軸,看起來在討論「以史為鑑」或「歷史教訓」的適用性。

我一時三刻還真沒看懂他篇大作的「意旨」;例如他在「全文提示」中說的 the real lessons” 指的是啥子不過風俏皮帶刺之外,費雪教授點出幾個有趣的議題;先行刊出,腦子管用的時候再仔細琢磨琢磨

索引:

Ambraciot:屬於古希臘城市Ambracia
apocryphal
杜撰的,可疑的,不足為信的
bastardise
:此處:亂搞,胡亂拼湊
consulting firm McKinsey:世界最大的諮詢管理公司之一;此處為揶揄意
curated:精心策畫的
déjà vu
:似曾相識
exegesis
注解,導讀,詮釋
gloss
:此處:狡辯,掩飾,花言巧語;光澤
metropole殖民地的母國:如羅馬帝國的母國為義大利
parse
解析,推敲
shower thoughts
:洗澡時冒出來的想法,突發奇想
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte:《拿破崙三世的霧月十八日》(法國共和日曆第八年霧月十八日;對應於公曆11/09/1799。該日曆為法國大革命後所頒布;使用時間為1793 – 1805巴黎公社1871年使用了18)
unuttered thoughts
言外之意,字裏行間


What would Thucydides say?

In constantly reaching for past parallels to explain our peculiar times we miss the real lessons of the master historian.

Mark Fisher, Edited by Sam Haselby, 04/26/24

In the weeks after Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte seized power and declared himself Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, Karl Marx sat down to write a history of the present. The purpose of this work was straightforward. Marx wanted to understand how the class struggle in France had ‘made it possible for a grotesque and mediocre personality to play a hero’s part.’ Much of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852/69), as the work would be known, accordingly consisted of fine-grained political and economic analysis. But Marx opened in a more philosophical vein. After quipping that history repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce, he reflected upon the role that historical parallelism played in shaping revolutionary action:

The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle-cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language.

This tendency had pervaded European history, Marx thought, and occasionally served the ends of progress. The cloak of Roman republicanism, for instance, had helped French society lurch blindly forward during the revolution of 1789. In the present case, however, the appropriated symbolism of that earlier revolution served no higher purpose than to veil a grifter’s power grab in a more compelling guise.

Marx points toward one of the more paradoxical tendencies of modern political life: the more times feel unprecedented, the more we reach for past parallels. We do so, however, not only to legitimate new regimes. Just as often, historical analogies are invoked to explain, predict and condemn. The past decade alone offers a trove of examples. Among them, the use of ‘fascism’ to characterise Right-wing populist movements has generated the most heat, giving rise to a multifaceted debate about the legitimacy of historical analogy as a mode of political analysis. But there are others that have occasioned less self-reflection. In reckoning with the possibility of open conflict between the United States and China, for instance, foreign policy experts have routinely likened the escalating tension to the Cold War, the First World War, and even the Peloponnesian War. Similarly, in the early days of COVID-19, many dealt with the uncertainty of the pandemic by turning to the Spanish Flu, the Black Death, and the Great Plague of Athens for guidance. Something of the sort is also happening in real time with generative AI. How we interpret the risk that it poses hinges in large part on which analogy we favour: will it be most akin to the Industrial Revolution, the nuclear bomb, or – perhaps most horrifying of all – the consulting firm McKinsey?

If many of these parallels seem self-evident, one recurring point of reference does not: Thucydides, the ancient Athenian general and author of History of the Peloponnesian War. Though hardly a household name, he has been a favourite of those intent on doom-scrolling the historical record for relevant exempla. In the first month of the COVID-19 shutdown, for instance, so much was written about his account of the Athenian plague that one prominent scholar
deemed Thucydides himself to be a virus. Something comparable could be said of Thucydides’ role in the viral discourse surrounding Sino-American relations. Ever since the early 2010s, when Graham Allison began referring to the stress on global order produced by hegemonic rivalry as ‘Thucydides’ Trap’, foreign policy discussions have themselves often appeared trapped by the need to balance geopolitical analysis with exegesis of an ancient text.

However strange Thucydides’ prominence may seem, the tradition of looking his way in moments of existential crisis is well established. During the American Civil War, for example, his ‘Funeral Oration of Pericles’ served as a model for Abraham Lincoln’s famed Gettysburg Address, while his account of Athenian defeat helped
inspire an overhaul of the US Naval War College curriculum during the war in Vietnam. In Europe, both English and German propagandists excerpted History of the Peloponnesian War during the First World War in support of their causes, and soldiers reported reading Thucydides in the trenches. In subsequent decades, prominent writers in both England and Italy used Thucydides to reflect their concerns over the rise of European fascism.

This cultish appeal has nevertheless come at a cost. While many have tried in earnest to wring wisdom from Thucydides’ text, others have sought little more than an ancient authority for their shower thoughts. Careless glosses and misattributed quotes abound, both in the anarchic spaces of social media and in others that should be held to a higher standard: the website for Harvard’s Belfer Center, for instance, which
features an apocryphal quote lifted from the first Wonder Woman movie, or on the desk of the late Colin Powell when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If this should seem a sad fate for any writer, it is a particularly ironic one for Thucydides. He was both a vocal proponent of accurately accounting for the past and a careful analyst of the textured nature of historical repetition. Resistant to simplification and rich in ‘unuttered thoughts’ (to quote Friedrich Nietzsche), Thucydides recognised that an effective understanding of the relationship between past, present and future would be both highly complex and absolutely critical for prudent political judgment. This combination did not bode well for the ancient Athenians, who ended up suffering dearly for their mishandling of historical analogies, and it is not clear that we have the resources to do much better. But we stand to learn more by thinking with Thucydides about the role of historical analogy in political life than by simply pilfering his text in search of such analogies. If nothing else, taking such a tack helps to remind us of the risks involved in abusing specious parallels in the way that we are prone to do.

Thucydides was unusual among classical writers in stating directly what he hoped his readers would gain from his work. He would be content, he says, if History of the Peloponnesian War was deemed ‘useful’ by those who wanted ‘to scrutinise what actually happened and would happen again, given the human condition, in the same or similar fashion’ (my translation). The description nevertheless leaves readers wanting. How exactly such knowledge should prove useful is underspecified, and scholars have long disagreed over what Thucydides expected the utility of his text to be.

Most assume that Thucydides tried to offer his reader a type of foreknowledge that could potentially translate into active control over the politico-historical process. Taken to its extreme, this ‘optimistic’ interpretation reads History of the Peloponnesian War as a sort of ‘political systems users’ manual’, as Josiah Ober
put it, capable of creating expert political technicians. Recognising regularities in the historical process, it is thought, should lead to predictive capacity, which in turn allows for political mastery. Proceeding in this fashion, Thucydides takes himself to be training master statesmen capable of solving the fundamental problems of political life.

Others
detect a more pessimistic outlook in Thucydides’ stated ambition. They suggest that the lessons on offer are insufficient to produce control over events even if they can help the reader detect regularities in the political process. Unexpected events will often upset our expectations, as the plague did in Athens, and the ignorance of non-experts will often disrupt the translation of technical insight into effective policy. This problem will be particularly acute within a democratic context, where a popular eagerness to apply bastardised versions of such insights may even make matters worse. In this interpretation, Thucydides is ‘useful’ to the extent that he can temper the ambitions of those wishing to impose rational order onto political life. The best we can hope for, it seems, is to minimise our self-harm.

At issue between these two interpretive poles is the basic presumption of applied social science: to what extent can the recognition of recurring patterns translate into effective political policy? Yet, Thucydides was not writing social science as we know it. To the extent that his text articulated anything like fundamental laws of political behaviour, it did so through exemplary instances and carefully curated parallelisms. The Peloponnesian War served as a paradigmatic event for Thucydides: a particular instance that revealed general truths. It served this representative role, however, not because it was typical. Rather, it was exemplary because it was uniquely ‘great’. The war would prove useful, in other words, not because of history’s strict repetition, but by the pregnancy of similarity and the reader’s ability to parse analogies effectively.

Thucydides schools his readers in just how difficult such acts of analogical interpretation can be. A series of carefully considered verbal parallels, or what Jacqueline de Romilly has
called fils conducteurs (‘guiding threads’), extend through Thucydides’ narrative like a web, ensnaring the reader in a constant and, at times, overwhelming sense of déjà vu. Sometimes, repetitions point towards important explanatory insights. But they also suggest likenesses that can lead the reader astray. Time and again, Thucydides confounds the expectations he has created. Even upon rereading, one can feel an internal tension between what one knows to be the case and what one is nonetheless led to expect will happen. Whether it is your first or your 15th read, you can still catch yourself thinking: this time surely Athens will win.

The evident lesson behind all of this is that we must learn how to choose the right parallels if we are to judge well in politics. But Thucydides also knew that we did not have full control of the analogies that shape our deliberations, especially in public life. Our analogical vocabulary is woven directly into the cultural fabric, a product of the contingencies that shape collective memory. We choose them no more than we choose the language we speak. (Once again, Marx: ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.’) Some events, such as the Persian Wars in Thucydides’ day or the Second World War in our own, simply loom too large to avoid, and we are easily held captive by the emotional weight of their cultural significance. Thucydides measured this gravitational pull also in terms of ‘greatness’, a concept that he identified closely with the production of collective trauma.

The danger inherent in this, of course, is that emotional resonance is often a poor guide to explanatory power. The most immediately compelling analogies can prove deeply misleading. The most haunting Thucydidean parallelism to highlight this point occurs through the phrase ‘few out of many returned home again’. Thucydides repeats this line three times, each to memorialise a harrowing military defeat: two massive Athenian expeditions, first to Egypt and then to Sicily, and a surprise attack that caught an entire army of Ambraciots asleep in their beds. Thucydides’ verbal repetition tempts the reader into seeing these events as an analogous set. Yet the last of these to occur, the Sicilian disaster, could not have been prevented by learning the lessons of the previous two. Quite the opposite. Rather than suffer from neglect by the metropole, as the Egyptian Expedition had, the Sicilian Expedition failed in large part due to the city’s miscalculated interventions. Rather than profit from the creative generalship of Demosthenes, which had proven decisive in the victory over the Ambraciots, his arrival in Sicily only further exacerbated the carnage.

The seductive pull of ‘great’ events is not an incidental danger to the use of historical analogies. If historians tend to debate the appeal of these parallels primarily in terms of their explanatory value, the motive behind their day-to-day use is arguably more visceral. Analogies serve more as vehicles for generating awe and outrage than for unearthing more nuanced understandings. Yet, even when used merely as rhetorical tools, they can carry serious diagnostic implications.

These implications aren’t always detrimental. Figurative rhetoric can use the resources of collective memory to move people toward better policy when explanatory traction aligns with affective resonance. Thucydides’ Pericles appears exemplary of this. Early in the war, the celebrated Athenian leader faces a crowd wearied by plague and the general miseries of war. In an attempt to steel their resolve, he draws on two coordinated analogies. In the first, he describes the Athenian struggle in terms of a Greek hero overcoming labours in the pursuit of glory. In the second, he likens the democracy’s empire to a tyranny that, in defeat, must confront the widespread hatred it has incurred.

In paralleling the Athenians to two of the most provocative figures in the Greek imagination, Pericles goads the people back to their original resolve with the alternating spikes of pride and fear. And he does so perceptively. Thucydides draws on the same analogical models when characterising Athenian power and political culture in the opening pages of History of the Peloponnesian War. It’s to Pericles’ further credit that he doesn’t simply discard the analogies after they’ve served his immediate purposes. Rather, the need to balance the ‘heroic’ and ‘tyrannical’ elements of the imperial democracy serves as a framing priority for his entire war strategy – a strategy that Thucydides himself explicitly praises.

This is not to say that Periclean policy does not prove costly for the Athenians. It serves to enhance the devastation of the plague by demanding that the Athenians crowd together behind their city walls, thereby exacerbating Athenian deaths. But the costs of this policy do not arise from Pericles’ misuse of analogical rhetoric. The experience of the plague only proves a point that should already be obvious, namely, that using analogies well cannot save us from forces beyond our control. Elsewhere, however, Thucydides makes it clear that the misuse of analogies can actually invite catastrophes on par with those suffered by chance.

Nowhere is this message more clearly drawn than in Athens’ climactic defeat in Sicily. The toll of this disaster is hard to overstate: not only did Athenian casualties approach those of the plague, the mishap so shook the city’s faith in popular rule that an oligarchy temporarily displaced the democracy in its aftermath. Many events contributed to this grim result. Yet Thucydides’ own explanation of why the expedition failed began with a story about an event that had occurred nearly a century before the Athenian fleet set sail.

Harmodius and Aristogeiton were towering figures in Athenian civic legend. As ‘the Tyrannicides’, they were credited with putting an end to Athenian despotism and instigating the transition towards democracy. For this, they were heroised and memorialised with unparalleled reverence. And yet, Thucydides tells his reader, their reputation was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what they’d actually done. Far from being civic benefactors or even tyrannicides, Thucydides reveals, they’d murdered the tyrant’s younger brother in a romantic rivalry gone wrong. The consequences of this murder were devastating: the previously beneficent ruler spiralled into paranoia, resulting in increasingly harsh treatment of the Athenian people.

Athenian lore had gotten everything backward: the so-called Tyrannicides, far from saving the city from despotism in an act of self-sacrifice, had caused this despotic turn for eminently personal reasons. Nevertheless, it was this false version of the story that weighed heavily on the minds of the Athenians as they made a series of bad decisions in the early days of the Sicilian Expedition. It did not do so unprompted. Rather, this misunderstanding proved a useful tool among aspiring elite leaders within Athens, each of whom was eager to clear a path for their own ascent. Standing in the way of most, however, was the Sicilian Expedition’s most talented general, a brash and charismatic leader named Alcibiades. When a series of sacrilegious acts occurred on the eve of the expedition, Alcibiades’ rivals pushed the (false) Tyrannicide parallel, suggested a tyrannical coup was afoot, and implicated Alcibiades. There was no evidence for this, but in the resultant hysteria it did not matter. Faced with certain prosecution, Alcibiades defected to Sparta, turning the tide of war against Athens.

This elite manipulation of popular misunderstanding effectively inverts Pericles’ constructive use of heroic and tyrannical parallels. By painting Alcibiades as a potential tyrant, his opponents easily conjured up an exaggerated state of fear that allowed them to achieve their private ends at the expense of the city. In the end, Thucydides shows that the analogy between past and present was indeed illuminating: personal rivalries once again led to civic casualties that resulted in brutal and self-undermining politics. But the cost of this collective delusion would become clear only later. Hindered by increasingly poor generalship and an opponent emboldened by Spartan help, ‘few out of many’ would make it home from Sicily, and Athens would soon devolve into civil war.

In May 1861, Marx found himself increasingly depressed about the American Civil War. The best he could do to mitigate his low mood, he told a friend, was to read Thucydides. ‘These ancients,’ he explained, ‘always remain new.’ They do so, we might add, by forever remaining old, thereby creating the space we need to find ourselves in the contrast.

It is tempting to see Thucydides’ digression about the tyrannicide analogy as the key to understanding his historical method. Had the Athenians only understood the truth of their own history, we might think, they wouldn’t have made such easy prey for self-serving politicians. In this vein, Thucydides’ project may seem to be that of saving future generations from comparable mistakes. As the ‘greatest’ conflict to ever beset the Greeks, unique in both its glory and its trauma, the Peloponnesian War would soon usurp the Tyrannicides and the Trojan War as the privileged source of political analogy. As such, it promised unparalleled resources for anyone trying to persuade others to their cause. It is reasonable to think that Thucydides expected his work to hinder the ability of bad actors to abuse this power. At the same time, it is unclear just how far it was in his ability to do so. The Athenians, after all, had everything they needed to realise the truth about the Tyrannicides. What they lacked was the will to scrutinise something that they felt to be intuitively correct. Thucydides could give posterity an account of the Peloponnesian War that might stop it from becoming fodder for false parallels if considered carefully. But he could not thereby prevent opportunists from constructing misleading analogies on its back.

Approaching Thucydides’ text from the angle of historical analogy does not resolve the age-old disagreement between his optimistic and pessimistic readers. It may nevertheless encourage us to recognise that a more realistic approach to political agency must exist somewhere between these two poles. Thucydides intimates that the careful art of drawing fitting analogies, honed as it may be through the diligent study of political history, will assist some to think more clearly about the present. But mastering this art should not be confused with political mastery. The power of ‘great’ events will remain too easily harnessed, and too hard to control, to serve only those who are clear-headed and well-intentioned. Specious analogies will remain a danger for as long as people stand to benefit from them, and their emotional pull will continue to knock even the most astute off balance. And yet, if there’s little chance that political life will ever be freed from distortive thinking, it may still prove less hazardous for those who look toward history as something more than a sourcebook of convenient parallels.


Mark Fisher is assistant professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the history of democratic thought and, especially, on early attempts to understand and theorise Athenian democracy.

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秦始皇和兵馬俑 ----- Arthur Lubow/Sonja Anderson
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秦始皇陵兵馬俑為何都不戴頭盔
兵馬俑真的不是用來陪葬的?


What You Need to Know About China’s Terra-Cotta Warriors and the First Qin Emperor

The thousands of clay soldiers guarding Qin Shi Huang’s tomb are enduring representations of the ruler’s legacy

Arthur Lubow; 07/2009Updated by Sonja Anderson, 04/19/24

In March 1974, a group of peasants digging a well in China’s drought-parched
Shaanxi province unearthed fragments of a clay figure—the first evidence of what would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. Near the unexcavated tomb of Qin Shi Huang—who proclaimed himself first emperor of China in 221 B.C.E.—lay an extraordinary underground treasure: an entire army of life-size terra-cotta soldiers and horses, interred for more than 2,000 years.

The site, where Qin Shi Huang’s ancient capital of
Xianyang once stood, lies a half-hour drive from traffic-clogged Xi’an, population nine million. It is a dry, scrubby land, planted with persimmon and pomegranate—bitterly cold in winter and scorching hot in summer—and marked by dun-colored hills pocked with caves. But hotels and a roadside souvenir emporium selling five-foot-tall pottery figures suggest that something other than fruit cultivation is going on here.

Over the past 50 years, archaeologists have located some 
600 pits, a complex of underground vaults, across a 22-square-mile area. Some are hard to get to, but three major pits are easily accessible, enclosed inside Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, constructed around the discovery site and opened in 1979 as the four-acre Museum of Qin Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses. In one pit, long columns of warriors, reassembled from broken pieces, stand in formation. With their topknots or caps, their tunics or armored vests, their goatees or close-cropped beards, the soldiers exhibit an astonishing individuality. A second pit inside the museum demonstrates how they appeared when they were found: Some stand upright, buried to their shoulders in soil, while others lie toppled on their backs, alongside fallen and cracked clay horses. The site ranks with the Great Wall and Beijing’s Forbidden City as one of China’s premier tourist attractions.

An aerial view of a pit filled with terra-cotta soldiers
Thierrytutin via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 2.0 請至原網頁觀看照片

Specimens unearthed from the pits in Xi’an have stunned audiences around the world. Between 2007 and 2009, the
British Museum, Atlanta’s High Museum, California’s Bowers Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the National Geographic Society Museum in Washington, D.C. all hosted traveling exhibitions featuring original terra-cotta warriors. More recently, the soldiers have made appearances at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and England’s World Museum Liverpool.

Exhibitions have featured statuary—armored officers, infantrymen, and standing and kneeling archers—as well as terra-cotta horses and replicas of intricately detailed
bronze chariots, drawn by bronze horses. These artifacts offer a glimpse of the treasure trove that attracts visitors to the Xi’an museum site, where more than 2,000 of the estimated 8,000 warriors have been disinterred so far.

The stupendous find at first seemed to reinforce conventional thinking—that the first emperor had been a relentless warmonger who cared only for military might. As archaeologists have learned, however, that assessment was incomplete. Qin Shi Huang may have conquered China with his army—believed to consist of
500,000-plus men—but he held it together with a civil administration system that endured for centuries. Among other accomplishments, the emperor standardized weights and measures and introduced a uniform writing script.

Qin Shi Huang's terra-cotta army boasts intricate bronze chariots and sculptures of horses.
Zossolino via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 請至原網頁觀看照片

Digs have revealed that in addition to the clay soldiers, Qin Shi Huang’s underground realm, presumably a facsimile of the court that surrounded him during his lifetime, is also populated by delightfully realistic
waterfowl, crafted from bronze and serenaded by terra-cotta musicians. The emperor’s clay retinue includes terra-cotta officials and even troupes of acrobats, slightly smaller than the soldiers but created with the same methods. “We find the underground pits are an imitation of the real organization in the Qin dynasty,” says Duan Qingbo, head of the mausoleum excavation team. “People thought when the emperor died, he took just a lot of pottery army soldiers with him. Now they realize he took a whole political system with him.”

Qin Shi Huang decreed a
mass-production approach; artisans turned out figures almost like cars on an assembly line. Clay, unlike bronze, lends itself to quick and cheap fabrication. Workers built bodies, then customized them with heads, hats, shoes, mustaches, ears and so on, made in small molds. Some of the figures appear so strikingly individual that they seem modeled on real people, though that is unlikely. “These probably weren’t portraits in the Western sense,” says Hiromi Kinoshita, who helped curate the 2007 exhibition at the British Museum. Instead, they may have been aggregate portraits: The ceramicists, says Kinoshita, “could have been told that you need to represent all the different types of people who come from different regions of China.”

The first emperor’s capital, Xianyang, was a large metropolis, where he reportedly erected more than 270 palaces, of which only a
single foundation is known to survive. Each time Qin Shi Huang conquered a rival state, he is said to have transported its ruling families to Xianyang, housing the vanquished in replicas of palaces they had left behind. At the same time, the emperor directed construction of his tomb complex; some 720,000 workers reportedly labored on these vast projects.

A 19th-century portrait of Qin Shi Huang
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. A close-up view of a terra-cotta warrior J. Arpon via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0 請至原網頁觀看照片

Upon the death of his father,
Yiren, in 246 B.C.E., the future Qin Shi Huang—then a 13-year-old prince named Ying Zheng—ascended the throne of the Qin kingdom. Celebrated for its horsemen, Qin sat on the margin of civilization, regarded by its easterly rivals as a semi-savage wasteland. Its governing philosophy was as harsh as its terrain. Elsewhere in China, Confucianism held that a well-run state should be administered by the same precepts governing a family: mutual obligation and respect. Qin rulers, however, subscribed to a doctrine known as legalism, which rested on the administration of punitive laws.

In his early 20s, Ying Zheng turned for guidance to a visionary statesman,
Li Si, who likely initiated many of the sovereign’s accomplishments. Under Li’s tutelage, Ying Zheng introduced a uniform script (thereby enabling subjects of vastly different dialects to communicate). Standardization, a hallmark of the Qin state, was applied to weaponry as well: Should an arrow shaft snap or the trigger on a repeating crossbow malfunction, the component could be easily replaced. The young ruler also presided over the creation of an advanced agricultural infrastructure that incorporated irrigation canals and storage granaries.

With methodical zeal, Ying Zheng set about conquering the warring states that surrounded him in the late third century B.C.E. As his armies advanced, principalities fell. No one could thwart consolidation of an empire that eventually stretched from parts of present-day
Sichuan in the west to coastal regions along the East China Sea. Having unified the entire civilized world as he knew it, Ying Zheng in 221 B.C.E. renamed himself, adopting the title of huangdi, or emperor.

He then invested in infrastructure and built massive fortifications. His
road network likely exceeded 4,000 miles, including 40-foot-wide speedways with a central lane reserved for the imperial family. On the northern frontier, the emperor dispatched his most trusted general to reinforce and connect existing border barriers, creating a bulwark against nomadic marauders. Made of rammed earth and rubble, these fortifications became the basis for the Great Wall, most of which would be rebuilt in stone and brick during the 15th century under the Ming dynasty.

As the grandeur of his tomb complex suggests, Qin Shi Huang kept an eye on posterity. But he also longed to
extend his life on earth—perhaps indefinitely. Alchemists informed the emperor that magical herbs could be found on what they claimed were three Islands of the Immortals in the East China Sea. The emissaries most likely to gain entry to this mystical realm, they asserted, were uncorrupted children. Around 219 B.C.E., Qin Shi Huang reportedly dispatched several thousand youngsters to search for the islands. They never returned. A few years later, the emperor sent three alchemists to retrieve the herbs. One of them made it back, recounting a tale of a giant fish guarding the islands. Legend has it that the emperor resolved to lead the next search party himself; on the expedition, he used a repeating crossbow to kill a huge fish. But instead of discovering life-preserving elixirs on his journey, the emperor apparently contracted a fatal illness.

As he lay dying in 210 B.C.E., 49-year-old Qin Shi Huang decreed that his estranged eldest son,
Fusu, should inherit the empire. The choice undercut the ambitions of a powerful royal counselor, Zhao Gao, who believed he could govern the country behind the scenes if a more malleable successor were installed. To conceal Qin Shi Huang’s death—and disguise the stench of a decomposing corpse—until the body returned to the capital, Zhao Gao took on a cargo of salted fish. The delaying tactic worked. Once Zhao Gao managed to return to Xianyang, he was able to operate on his home turf. He managed to transfer power to Ying Huhai (胡亥), a younger, weaker son.

A kneeling archer featured in a exhibition of terra-cotta warriors at the British Museum in 2007
Leon Neal / AFP via Getty Images 請至原網頁觀看照片

Ultimately, however, the scheme failed. Zhao Gao could not maintain order, and the country descended into civil war. The Qin dynasty outlived Qin Shi Huang by only four years. The second emperor died by suicide; Zhao Gao eventually was killed. Various rebel forces coalesced into a new dynasty, the
Western Han.

For archaeologists, one indicator that Qin rule had collapsed suddenly was the
extensive damage to the terra-cotta army. As order broke down, marauding forces raided the pits where clay soldiers stood guard and plundered their real weapons. Raging fires, possibly set deliberately, followed the ransacking, weakening support pillars for wooden ceilings, which crashed down and smashed the figures. Some 2,000 years later, archaeologists discovered charring on the walls of one pit.

Throughout recorded Chinese history, the first emperor’s
Epang Palace (阿房宫)—located on the Wei River (渭水), south of ancient Xianyang—was synonymous with ostentation. The structure was said to have been the most lavish dwelling ever constructed, with an upper-floor gallery that could seat 10,000 and a network of covered walkways that led to distant mountains to the south.

A view of terra-cotta soldiers in pit one of Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum
Maros Mraz via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0 請至原網頁觀看照片

“All Chinese people who can read, including middle-school students, believed that the Qin dynasty collapsed because it put so much money into the Epang Palace,” says Duan. “According to excavation work from 2003, we found it was actually never built—only the base. Above it was nothing.” Duan notes that if the palace had been erected and demolished, as historians thought, there would be potsherds (ceramic fragments) and telltale changes in soil color. “But tests found nothing,” he says. “It is so famous a symbol of Chinese culture for so long a time, showing how cruel and greedy the first emperor was—and archaeologists found it was a lie.” Duan also doubts accounts of Qin Shi Huang’s expedition for life-prolonging herbs. His version is more prosaic: “I believe that the first emperor did not want to die. When he was sick, he sent people to find special medicines.”


The emperor’s tomb lies beneath a forested hill, surrounded by cultivated fields about a half-mile from the museum. Out of reverence for an imperial resting place and concerns about preserving what might be unearthed there, the site has
never been excavated. According to a description written a century after the emperor’s death, the tomb contains a wealth of wonders, including man-made streambeds contoured to resemble the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, flowing with shimmering, quicksilver mercury that mimics coursing water. (Analysis of soil in the mound has indeed revealed a high level of mercury.)

Answers about the tomb are not likely to emerge anytime soon. “I have a dream that one day science can develop so that we can tell what is here without disturbing the emperor, who has slept here for 2,000 years,” says
Wu Yongqi, former director of the original Museum of Qin Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses. “I don’t think we have good scientific techniques to protect what we find in the underground palace. Especially if we find paper, silk or textiles from plants or animals; it would be very bad if they have been kept in a balanced condition for 2,000 years, but suddenly they would vanish in a very short time.” He cites another consideration: “For all Chinese people, he is our ancestor, and for what he did for China, we cannot unearth his tomb just because archaeologists or people doing tourism want to know what is buried there.”

Whatever future excavations reveal about Qin Shi Huang’s enigmatic nature, some things seem unlikely to change. The emperor’s importance as a seminal figure of history won’t be diminished. And the mysteries that surround his life will likely never be completely resolved.



Arthur Lubow is a journalist who has written for national magazines since 1975 and is the author of Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer.


Sonja Anderson is a writer and reporter based in New York City.


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Shiro Ishii and the Dark Legacy of Japan’s Unit 731

Elisabeth Edwards, Guest Author, 04/17/24

Photo Credit: 1. Unknown Author / Bulletin of Unit 731 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain 2. Unknown Author / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain (Colorized by Palette.fm) (請至原網頁參看照片)

Shiro Ishii’s early life


Japanese physician Shiro Ishii presided over a series of abhorrent medical experiments that stand as some of the most egregious atrocities in modern history. Ranging from the development and testing of biological warfare agents to conducting live dissections on victims, the actions of Unit 731 constituted unspeakable crimes against humanity, targeting men, women and children in ways that defy comprehension, even by contemporary standards.

Shiro Ishii upon graduating from Kyoto Imperial University, 1920. (Photo Credit: Aising / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain) (
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Shiro Ishii’s background was one of prominence in feudal Japan, with his family being the largest landowners in their community. One of four siblings, his father earned a living as a local sake maker. Noted for his assertive demeanor, Ishii was characterized by his peers as “brash, abrasive, and arrogant” from a young age.

Following the completion of his medical studies at Kyoto Imperial University in 1920, Ishii embarked on a career in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) as a military surgeon. His exceptional performance garnered the admiration of his superiors, leading to an invitation to return to Kyoto Imperial University for post-graduate research in 1924.

Preferring bacterial cultures over human interaction

Shiro Ishii, 1932. (Photo Credit: Masao Takezawa / Bulletin of Unit 731 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain) (
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During this period, accounts from those who collaborated with Shiro Ishii paint a picture of his demeanor, characterized by what some described as “pushy behavior” and “indifference” toward his peers. Instead of forming connections with fellow his humans, Ishii’s affections were directed toward the bacterial cultures he cultivated in Petri dishes, which he treated as companions.

Known for his habit of lingering in laboratories well past regular hours, Ishii would use equipment painstakingly cleaned by students, intentionally leaving behind soiled instruments with the expectation that others would be punished. This odd and detached behavior foreshadowed Ishii’s later treatment of human subjects as mere objects.

Shiro Ishii wanted Japan to create a biological weapons program

Japanese troops marching toward Manchuria, 1930s. (Photo Credit: Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group / Getty Images) (
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By 1927, Shiro Ishii began promoting his aspirations to establish a Japanese biological weapons program, despite Japan having ratified the Geneva Protocol two years earlier, which prohibited the use of biological and chemical warfare. In early 1931, his dedication and loyalty to Emperor Hirohito, coupled with his frequent late-night endeavors in the laboratory, culminated in his promotion to Senior Army Surgeon, Third Class.

Around the time of Ishii’s promotion, China and Japan found themselves locked in a tense conflict. With the latter’s annexation of Chinese territories, an opportunity arose to establish testing facilities and capitalize on the ample number of Chinese prisoners to conduct abhorrent experiments on.

Ishii’s initial testing site was a facility known as Zhongma Fortress (中馬城)
, in Beiyinhe (背蔭河), China. Approximately 1,000 prisoners were held within and subjected to harrowing tests, such as rigorous blood extraction sessions recurring every three to five days, relentlessly sapping their strength until they were rendered incapable to go on.

The facility ceased operations in 1936. However, by then, Ishii had set his sights on the establishment of a facility designed for even more depraved experiments.

Establishment of Unit 731

Unit 731 main ‘square building,’ 1940. (Photo Credit: Aising / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0) (
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Promoted to the rank of Senior Army Surgeon, Second Class, Shiro Ishii assumed command of what became the infamous Unit 731 in 1936.

Operating under the guise of the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (
關東軍), Unit 731 was a clandestine entity dedicated to chemical warfare research and development. However, the façade of its bureaucratic label belied its true nature. Unit 731 was a vehicle for the systematic torture and murder of countless innocents under the pretext of scientific advancement and national progress.

Under Ishii’s leadership, Unit 731 began a macabre initiative known as Maruta, wherein human beings were ruthlessly subjected to experimentation. The term originates from the Japanese word for “logs,” a grim reference to the callous manner in which test subjects were derisively labeled by their tormentors.

Officially cloaked as lumber mills, Unit 731 facilities operated under the guise of mundane industrial endeavors. To maintain the veil of secrecy surrounding their heinous activities, researchers and guards would casually refer to prisoners and victims as “logs,” employing coded language such as “How many logs fell today?” to obscure the true nature of their work.

Prisoners were subjected to horrific experimentation

Staff conducting tests at the Unit 731 experimentation site in northeast China. (Photo Credit: Pictures From History / Universal Images Group / Getty Images) (
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Prisoners endured a litany of barbaric experiments under Unit 731.

They were systematically injected with virulent diseases, subjected to excruciating vivisections without anesthesia and compelled to endure a spectrum of torturous medical experiments. Procedures ranged from limb amputations aimed at studying blood loss to confinement in overheated chambers equipped with fans. Women were routinely subjected to assault, their bodies exploited to provide infants for further experimentation.

Many of these experiments were orchestrated to replicate battlefield conditions, serving as macabre simulations to enhance military medical knowledge and treatment protocols for combat-related injuries. Some prisoners were subjected to chilling conditions, forced to endure prolonged exposure to cold temperatures with their hands submerged in water. These aimed to provide insights into the treatment of frostbite injuries.

Meanwhile, others were subjected to the relentless forces of centrifuges, enduring intense pressure until the point where the sheer force caused their eyes to protrude from their sockets. These harrowing tests were conducted in an attempt to ascertain the limits of bodily endurance under extreme pressure.

Shiro Ishii had an obsession with the plague-bomb

Japanese plague-bombs developed during World War II. (Photo Credit: Xinhu / Getty Images) (
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A significant portion of Unit 731’s research was dedicated to Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night, an initiative orchestrated by Shiro Ishii that aimed at disseminating plague-infected rats across Allied-occupied territories during World War II. While the plan never came to fruition, the purported “research” phase of the project exacted a devastating toll on countless lives.

At least 12 large-scale field trials were conducted across 11 Chinese cities. One particularly attack in 1941 resulted in the deaths of 10,000 locals and an additional 1,700 Japanese troops from cholera. Pathogens such as smallpox, anthrax, botulism and bubonic plague were weaponized and deployed in defoliation bacilli bombs or flea bombs, targeting densely populated areas.

Following the release of these plague-bombs, researchers, dressed in hazmat suits, monitored the effects on unsuspecting victims. By 1945, the Japanese had advanced preparations for the implementation of Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night, with plans to unleash thousands of plague-infested rats along California’s coast on September 22 of that year. However, the surrender of Japan occurred five weeks prior to the scheduled date.

Shiro Ishii was arrested for his war crimes

Shiro Ishii during his later years. (Photo Credit: Aising / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain) (
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Shiro Ishii was arrested by the United States during the post-war Occupation of Japan. However, justice remained elusive. He and his associates negotiated a deal granting them immunity in return for divulging their insights into the Japanese military and their research endeavors.

Japanese medical authorities, when interviewed by American officials, adamantly portrayed themselves as mere microbiologists. An interviewer of Ishii’s associates attested to the “absolutely invaluable” nature of the information they supplied.

Following the 1948 immunity agreement, Ishii evaded prosecution for his war crimes and retreated from the public eye. Rumors regarding his whereabouts varied, with some suggesting he moved to Maryland, while others claimed he continued to reside in Japan, possibly practicing medicine.

Ishii passed away on October 9, 1959, succumbing to throat cancer in Shinjuku, Tokyo.


Elisabeth Edwards is a public historian and history content writer. After completing her Master’s in Public History at Western University in Ontario, Canada Elisabeth has shared her passion for history as a researcher, interpreter, and volunteer at local heritage organizations.

She also helps make history fun and accessible with her podcast The Digital Dust Podcast, which covers topics on everything from art history to grad school.

In her spare time, you can find her camping, hiking, and exploring new places. Elisabeth is especially thrilled to share a love of history with readers who enjoy learning something new every day!

The Digital Dust Podcast
linkedin.com/in/elisabethcedwards

Read also:

The Italian-Anglo-American Armistice – The Background
Phantom Fortress: The Crewless Landing of a B-17
Strange But True: During WWII the British Government Bought all of The World’s Tea
Read also: Flame and Citron: This WW2 Thriller is Based Historic Danish Resistance Heroes
The Last Great Clash of the Galleys: The Battle of Lepanto 1571
Teddy Roosevelt’s Son Quentin: Lost in Action, Honored by his Foe
Major Don Boyer, the Unsung Hero of St. Vith, German Grenades Came Tumbling into the American Trenches
Almost 250,000 Boys Under The Age Of 18 Fought In The British Army In WWI
USS Missouri (BB-63): American Battleship and the Site of the Japanese Surrender


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04/1704/18馬丁.路得在沃爾姆斯會議發表他著名演說503周年。馬丁.路得是基督教改革運動開山祖師之一地位崇高;他在歷史社會和文化各方面有重大影響。


Luther's Speech at the Diet of Worms

Joshua J. Mark, 12/09/21

Martin Luther's speech at the Diet of Worms (also known as the Here I Stand Speech) is considered one of the greatest pieces of oratory in world history. It was given in response to the council's questions on whether Luther would stand by his doctrine or recant. His refusal to recant is a classic defense of personal freedom.

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms. Emile Delperée (Public Domain) ()

Martin Luther (l. 1483-1546) was a German theologian, priest, monk, and professor at the University at Wittenberg, who began to question the policies of the
Roman Catholic Church at a time when the Church's authority was absolute. He was not the first to do so as there had been earlier movements and figures such as John Wycliffe (l. 1330-1384) and Jan Hus (l. c. 1369-1415) advocating for church reform. The Church was able to silence these proto-reformers but could not do so with Luther owing to his brilliant use of the printing press, which enabled widespread dissemination of his views, and his personal power as a speaker and writer.

Luther never initially intended to break with the Church, only to amend what he saw as abuse and corruption, but when the Church attempted to silence him, as it had with Hus, he stood his ground and, supported by 
peasants and some powerful nobles, inspired and informed the movement that became the Protestant Reformation. His speech at Worms is central to the beginning of that movement.

Luther & Worms

Luther first came to the attention of the Church as a potential problem when his 95 Theses were translated from Latin to German and published in 1518.
Martin Luther's 95 Theses were ninety-five disputations offered for scholarly debate by Luther to fellow clergy and, according to the traditional account, posted on the door of the Wittenberg church on 31 October 1517. Luther's supporters translated and published the work in Germany, which was then part of the Holy Roman Empire, in early 1518, and it was then translated and spread to other countries by 1519.

Luther's views were challenged by the Church repeatedly between 1518-1520, but he remained faithful to his vision, claiming he would gladly recant if he could be proven wrong by scripture. Around 1513, he had become convinced that one only needed the Bible and one's faith to commune with the divine and the Church's policies were unbiblical and self-serving. In January 1521, he was excommunicated and called to appear before the Diet of Worms.

The Diet of Worms (an imperial assembly at the
city of Worms, Germany) was not called specifically to deal with Luther, his case was only one of many matters to be dealt with, but it has come to be synonymous with Luther's vision and the Protestant Reformation. It was convened by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1519-1556) and was a secular assembly which, even so, included church officials because the Church was deeply involved in secular affairs at the time. Further, the Church required representation to deal specifically with Luther. He had been granted safe passage to and from Worms by the nobleman Frederick III (the Wise, l. 1463-1525) of Saxony, who secretly supported him, as did a number of others. The assembly convened in January 1521, but Luther did not appear until April.

On 17 April 1521, he was asked if the books, whose titles had been read aloud by the council were his and whether he would stand by their contents – some of which was considered heretical and a threat to the Church's authority – or recant. If he chose to recant and repent of the works, he could be welcomed back into the Church; if he refused, he would be branded a heretic and could be burned at the stake.

Joseph Fiennes as Luther; Eikon Film and NFP Teleart (Copyright) ()

Luther requested an adjournment to formulate a response, and the Diet reconvened the next day. The papal nuncio, Aleander, who questioned Luther, had been careful to formulate the examination to prevent Luther from making a speech. Luther's tactic of the adjournment negated Aleander's in that Luther was now expected to provide a longer answer. In a remarkable display of courage and conviction, Luther delivered his speech, first in German and then in Latin, on 18 April 1521, refusing to recant and clearly stating what he stood for and why. 

The Text

The following translation comes from The History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century by Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigne (l. 1794-1872), translated by David Dundas Scott. Slight changes have been made in spelling and punctuation and passages clarified by Lyndal Roper's Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet and Roland H. Bainton's Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. Biblical citations are from the original text.

Most Serene Emperor, Illustrious Princes, Gracious Lords:

I this day appear before you in all humility, according to your command, and I implore your Majesty and your august highnesses, by the mercies of
God, to listen with favor to the defense of a cause which I am well assured is just and right. I ask pardon, if by reason of my ignorance, I am wanting in the manners that befit a court; for I have not been brought up in king's palaces, but in the seclusion of a cloister and I claim no other merit than that of having spoken and written with the simplicity of mind which regards nothing but the glory of God and the pure instruction of the people of Christ.

Two questions were yesterday put to me by his imperial majesty; the first, whether I was the author of the books whose titles were read; the second, whether I wished to revoke or defend the doctrine I have taught. I answered the first directly, and I adhere to that answer: that these books are mine and published by me, except so far as they may have been altered or interpolated by the craft or officiousness of opponents. As for the second question, I am now about to reply to it and I must first entreat your Majesty and your Highnesses to deign to consider that I have composed writings on very different subjects. In some, I have discussed faith and good works, in a spirit at once so pure, clear, and Christian, that even my adversaries themselves, far from finding anything to censure, confess that these writings are profitable, and deserve to be perused by devout persons. The pope's bull, violent as it is, acknowledges this. What, then, should I be doing if I were now to retract these writings? Wretched man! I alone, of all men living, should be abandoning truths approved by the unanimous vote of friends and enemies, and should be opposing doctrines that the whole world glorifies in confessing!

I have composed, secondly, certain works against the papacy, wherein I have attacked such as by false doctrines, irregular lives, and scandalous examples, afflict the Christian world, and ruin the bodies and souls of men. And is not this confirmed by the grief of all who fear God? Is it not manifest that the laws and human doctrines of the popes entangle, vex, and distress the consciences of the faithful, while the crying and endless extortions of
Rome engulf the property and wealth of Christendom, and more particularly of this illustrious nation? Yet it is a perpetual statute that the laws and doctrines of the pope be held erroneous and reprobate when they are contrary to the Gospel and the opinions of the Church fathers.

If I were to revoke what I have written on that subject, what should I do but strengthen this tyranny and open a wider door to so many and flagrant impieties? Bearing down all resistance with fresh fury, we should behold these proud men swell, foam, and rage more than ever! And not merely would the yoke which now weighs down Christians be made more grinding by my retraction, it would thereby become, so to speak, lawful, for, by my retraction, it would receive confirmation from your most serene majesty, and all the States of the 
Empire. Great God! I should thus be like to an infamous cloak, used to hide and cover over every kind of malice and tyranny.

In the third and last place, I have written some books against private individuals, who had undertaken to defend the tyranny of Rome by destroying the faith. I freely confess that I may have attacked such persons with more violence than was consistent with my profession as an ecclesiastic; I do not think of myself as a saint, but neither can I retract these books. Because I should, by so doing, sanction the impieties of my opponents, and they would thence take occasion to crush God's people with still more cruelty.

Yet, as I am a mere man, and not God, I will defend myself after the example of
Jesus Christ, who said: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness against me; but if well, why doest thou strike me?" (John 18:23). How much more should I, who am but dust and ashes, and so prone to error, desire that everyone should bring forward what he can against my doctrine. Therefore, most serene emperor, and you illustrious princes, and all, whether high or low, who hear me, I implore you by the mercies of God to prove to me by the writings of the prophets and apostles that I am in error. As soon as I shall be convinced, I will instantly retract all my errors, and will myself be the first to seize my writings and commit them to the flames.

What I have just said will, I think, clearly show that I have well considered and weighed, not only the dangers to which I am exposing myself, but also the parties and dissentions excited in the world by means of my doctrine, of which I was yesterday so gravely admonished. But far from being dismayed by them, I rejoice exceedingly to see the Gospel this day, as of old, a cause of disturbance and disagreement; for such is the character and destiny of God's Word. "I came not to send peace unto the earth, but a sword," said
Jesus Christ. "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man's foes shall be those of his own household." (Matthew 10:34-36)

God is wonderful and terrible in His counsels. Let us have a care, lest in our endeavors to arrest discords, we be bound to fight against the holy word of God and bring down upon our heads a frightful deluge of inextricable dangers, present disaster, and everlasting desolations. Let us have a care that the reign of the young and noble prince, the Emperor Charles, on whom, next to God, we build so many hopes, should not only commence, but continue and terminate its course, under the most favorable auspices.

I might cite examples drawn from the oracles of God. I might speak of Pharaohs, of kings in
Babylon, or of Israel, who were never more contributing to their own ruin than when, by measures in appearances most prudent, they thought to establish their authority! God removeth the mountains and they know not (Job 9:5). In speaking thus, I do not suppose that such noble princes have need of my poor judgment; but I wish to acquit myself of a duty whose fulfillment my native Germany has a right to expect from her children. And so, commending myself to your august majesty, and your most serene highnesses, I beseech you in all humility, not to permit the hatred of my enemies to rain upon me an indignation I have not deserved. I have done.

[At this point in the hearing, Luther was asked by Charles V to repeat what he had said in German in Latin. He was told to answer simply, and without the art of oratory, whether he would retract his statements or stand by them. He then concluded with the most famous passage of his speech.]

Since your most serene majesty and your highnesses require of me a simple, clear, and direct answer, I will give one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is clear that they have fallen into error and even into inconsistency with themselves. If, then, I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture, or by cogent reasons, if I am not satisfied by the very text I have cited, and if my judgment is not in this way brought into subjection to God's word, I neither can nor will retract anything; for it cannot be either safe or honest for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.

"Here I Stand" Line

The now-famous concluding sentence – "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise" – is thought by modern scholars to have been added later, but this claim continues to be debated. Scholar Lyndal Roper notes, "If he did not say these words, this was the phrase that soon became famous. It certainly encapsulated the spirit of his appearance" (172). Scholar Roland H. Bainton comments:

The earliest printed version [of the speech] added the words: "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise." The words, though not recorded on the spot, may nevertheless be genuine, because the listeners at the moment may have been too moved to write. (182)

Bainton could well be right as the power of the speech was recognized when it was given and prompted Charles V to personally write a refutation of it that same night. Luther's eloquent refusal to recant, and defense of his vision, was bold defiance of both secular and ecclesiastical authority, elevating his stature to that of any great saint or legendary heroic
medieval knight.

Luther at the Diet of Worms; Anton Werner (Public Domain)

Conclusion

Luther, always aware of the value of the dramatic, and encouraging this view of himself, is said to have concluded his speech by raising his arm in the traditional gesture of salute given by a knight after winning a bout. He was briefly questioned on whether this was his final statement and replied he had nothing more to add and would not recant. He then left the assembly as it adjourned, remaining in Worms a little over a week before setting out on his return to Wittenberg. During that time, a number of clerics suggested that Charles V revoke Luther's safe passage, arrest him, and have him executed as a heretic – the same as had been done with Jan Hus at the Council of Constance in 1415 – but Charles V refused, noting such an act would be dishonorable.

Luther, meanwhile, had left Worms and was abducted by a group of soldiers under Frederick III's command, posing as highwaymen. Only one among Luther's traveling companions knew this was a ruse and that Luther would be brought safely back to Frederick III's castle at Wartburg; the rest believed he had actually been kidnapped by bandits. If Frederick III had not intervened, it is almost certain that Luther would have been taken by the authorities and executed sooner or later because, on 25 May 1521, Charles V issued the Edict of Worms charging Luther with heresy and branding him a "notorious heretic" and outlaw. The edict meant he could be killed without any legal consequences for the murder. The Edict of Worms was never enforced, however, because Luther had become too popular and was protected by powerful nobles like Frederick III.

As with his 95 Theses, Luther's speech at Worms was printed and published, along with pamphlets depicting him as a champion of
Christianity standing against the forces of darkness of the Church, which Luther and his supporters cast as anti-Christ. After Worms, challenges to the Church's authority increased in Germany and elsewhere through the Protestant Reformation.

The "Here I Stand" speech has remained one of the most popular and well-respected pieces of oratory since its 1521 publication, compared favorably with the greatest orations of all time, and it continues to inspire people in the present day. Although Luther had actively criticized the pope, policies, and ecclesiastics previously, his speech at Worms was the decisive blow that validated his vision in the eyes of his followers, eventually resulting in the end of the monolithic authority of the
medieval Church.


EDITORIAL REVIEW This article has been reviewed by our editorial team before publication to ensure accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards in accordance with our
editorial policy.

Bibliography

Bainton, R. H. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther. Abingdon Press, 2013.
d'Aubigné, J. H. M. & Scott, D. D. History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century. Wentworth Press, 2019.
Gregory, B. S. Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe Harvard University Press, 2001.
Lull, T. F & Russell, W.R. Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings. Fortress Press, 2012.
Roper, L. Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2018.
Rublack, U. The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations . Oxford University Press, 2019.


World History Encyclopedia is an Amazon Associate and earns a commission on qualifying book purchases.

Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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印尼大屠殺之美國政府知多少 - Margaret Scott
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The Indonesian Massacre: What Did the US Know?

Margaret Scott, 11/02/15

A cache of intelligence documents declassified by the CIA this fall offers a new opportunity to revisit the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia, and what the US knew about them.

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President Barack Obama has several things in common with Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, whom he welcomed to the Oval Office last week. The two men are the exact same age, and Widodo, whom everyone calls Jokowi, looks like a shorter and skinnier version of Obama. They also share something else: a personal connection to one of the worst massacres anywhere since World War II. In the late 1960s, Obama lived in Jakarta with his mother, in the years just after the killings of hundreds of thousands of suspected Indonesian Communists, a carefully orchestrated purge that brought the US-backed New Order regime to power; Jokowi grew up in poverty in Central Java, near a river that was filled with corpses in 1965.

As it happens, a cache of intelligence documents declassified by the CIA this fall offers a new opportunity to revisit those events, and the US’s involvement in them. Moreover, Jokowi took office last year as the first president from outside the tight circle of oligarchs and political elite that flourished for decades under the New Order and even after its collapse in 1998. He promised to bring open, pluralist rule to Indonesia’s 250 million people, who are spread across 17,000 islands and who make up the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. Many hoped Jokowi’s reforms would include a full reckoning with the fifty-year-old killings. The question is whether Obama is prepared to support Jokowi, whose troubled administration faces stiff resistance to addressing what happened in 1965.

The Indonesian massacre was a critical moment in the cold war. In the early morning of October 1,1965, six Indonesian generals were killed by a group of junior officers who claimed they were forestalling a takeover by a CIA-backed “Council of Generals.” The putsch was poorly planned and collapsed in twenty-four hours. At the time, Indonesia was led by the leftist, romantic revolutionary-turned-autocrat Sukarno, and also had the third largest Communist Party in the world, the PKI, with some 3 million members. The Indonesian Army and the US government quickly blamed the botched coup on the PKI. (There is still much we don’t know about these events, but the head of the PKI, D. N. Aidit, was at least aware of the coup attempt; he was killed shortly thereafter by the army.) Seizing on an opportunity to unseat Sukarno and roll back communism, the army unleashed a campaign of violence in which perhaps five hundred thousand or perhaps one million suspected Communists were killed—no one knows for sure.

The assassination of the six generals, and fabricated stories that they had been tortured by Communist women, were used to stir up anti-Communist sentiment. Within days, the army and army-affiliated militias spread out across the archipelago, arresting anyone who was associated with the PKI and its many labor and farmer organizations. Then, mostly at night, those arrested were taken out and shot, beheaded, or stabbed to death. The army’s militias did most of the killings, and their members ranged from gangsters to young men who belonged to the country’s two largest Muslim organizations. The victims were thrown in mass graves or into rivers, and there are harrowing stories of rivers in Java, Sumatra, and Bali so filled with bodies that the water turned red.

For the Lyndon Johnson administration, the bloodbath was a momentous victory, shifting the balance of power in Southeast Asia. But for many Indonesians it was a terrifying time. In addition to those murdered, hundreds of thousands more were imprisoned, and their families and the families of the victims were formally shunned. When the killings ended, Indonesians lived under the military rule of General Suharto, who promoted the founding myth that the army saved the nation from the atheist Communists. No one talked about what had happened.

In 1967, a six-year-old Obama moved with his mother, Ann Dunham, to Jakarta as Suharto consolidated his jackboot rule. “Innuendo, half-whispered asides; that’s how she found out that we had arrived in Djakarta less than a year after one of the more brutal and swift campaigns of suppression in modern times,” Obama writes in his memoir, Dreams from My Father. “The idea frightened her, the notion that history could be swallowed up so completely.”

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Since the late 1990s, however, there have been growing efforts to recover that history. In 1998, Indonesians rose up against Suharto, whose military dictatorship had lasted thirty-two years. This movement, known as reformasi, and Suharto’s fall, brought new scrutiny to the events of 1965. Many Indonesians rebelled against the taboo of talking about the mass killings, which they began investigating through journalism, books, and films. In recent years, local organizations have also sought to locate the mass graves and assist the survivors. These efforts have been aided by US records. In 2001, despite the efforts of the CIA to prevent it, the US released Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, a State Department volume that included long-secret government documents from that period. It describes how US officials pushed for the annihilation of the PKI, providing covert assistance and urging the Indonesian army to complete the job.

But the documents did not reveal when the plan for mass killings was devised, and when the US knew about it. Some of these questions have now come more sharply into focus with the release on September 16 of more CIA documents, including, for the first time, records of what the CIA was telling President Johnson as the failed coup quickly became a pretext for mass murder. Prodded by a court ruling, the CIA declassified redacted versions of all of the Presidential Daily Briefs, considered the most important and most closely held intelligence information, from 1961 to 1969. These documents don’t change the underlying story we have about 1965, but they do provide the best evidence yet of how hard the US was pushing for the eradication of the Communists and the routing of the pro-Chinese Sukarno.

Despite the fact that the US was at the time escalating its involvement in Vietnam, Indonesia was the first item on the president’s daily brief almost every day from the failed coup at the beginning of October to the end of November of that year. To read these briefs is to be immersed in the Johnson administration’s analysis of this period as the now-or-never time “to roll up the Communists” in Indonesia, as the October 4 brief puts it. (It is the same period that Joshua Oppenheimer’s extraordinary films, The Act of Killing [2012] and The Look of Silence [2014] explore—first through the eyes of the killers and then of the victims.)

Day after day, President Johnson was updated on the Indonesian army’s move against the Communists, with little regard to the violence involved. “From all indications,” the October 6 brief states, “the army’s leadership still very much wants to have it out with the Communists and is becoming more wary of Sukarno himself.” Two days later, Johnson was told that “the generals’ staying power in a drive against the Communists remains to be established,” and then there are five lines redacted. Some of the briefs mention arrests and army sweeps at night, but there is no mention of the mass killings that continued for months.

Indonesian newspapers did not report on the atrocities. The New York Times and The Washington Post noted that there were reports of secretive, organized killings of suspected Communists, but the army confined foreign correspondents to the capital for months. By December, Indonesia was no longer number one in the briefs, but still appeared regularly, with reports on the continuing power struggle between the army and Sukarno, who still considered himself “president for life” and maintained popular support as Indonesia’s leader in the war for independence from the Dutch. Most of the briefs from December to March describe the slow but sure ascendency of the US’s strongman, General Suharto.

On March 12, 1966, Indonesia once again led the daily brief. “The army now has the situation in hand, but it is too early to assume that Sukarno is down for good. The people in Djakarta nevertheless are clearly with the military and the capital is reported quiet,” the brief explains. “It still remains to be seen whether the army will move quickly to consolidate its position. The first signs look promising; the Communist Party has finally been banned.” By this point, the killing spree was largely over.

Because the released documents are heavily censored, many secrets remain. Obama would do Indonesia’s fragile democracy a lot of good by helping Jokowi pry loose more of this still-hidden history, including other classified documents such as the daily reports of the CIA—which might indicate how much the generals were telling the CIA and how the US responded. This seems unlikely, since further declassification would likely require a forceful request by the Indonesian government or by a truth commission.

That’s too bad for Indonesians, who have been slowly creating a new democratic politics since 1998. Seventeen years later, Indonesia and Jokowi are caught up in a dramatic but predictable mess: a vibrant democracy struggles to exist alongside an entrenched oligarchy and a corrupt political elite. One reason is that while Suharto is long gone, much of the elite of the New Order dictatorship—the generals, the oil and coal tycoons, the political elite and powerbrokers—have thrived. The reformasi era has brought hotly contested direct elections and a boisterous free press, but it hasn’t taken away the impunity of the Indonesian army, which has never had to answer for the 1965 massacre.

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The struggle between reformers and holdovers of the New Order was the backdrop of Jokowi’s presidential campaign. Jokowi grew up in the 1960s in a poor neighborhood in Solo, a regional city in Central Java; in 2005 he became Solo’s immensely popular, can-do mayor. He was the face of reformasi, and his humor, his humble manner, his famous strolls through markets, and his quirky love for Heavy Metal bands made him a darling with the Indonesian press. He soared onto the national stage, becoming Jakarta’s governor in 2012, and then, in 2014, making a successful run for the presidency.

Those who elected Jokowi had sky-high expectations of a reinvigorated fight against corruption, and even an effort to take on the army for its human rights abuses. There was talk before the fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 killings this month that Jokowi would offer a formal apology to the survivors and victims’ families. But Jokowi’s first year in office has revealed the limits of his power. He does not control the parliament, and even the party that nominated him refuses to push his agenda.

China’s downturn has hurt Indonesia’s economy, and Jokowi’s government is scrambling to create jobs while nearly 40 percent of Indonesians live on $2 a day or less. A horrible haze has settled over the region because of forest fires to clear land, often so that oligarchs and well-connected military figures can build palm oil plantations; Jokowi has been unable to do anything. And through his own political missteps, Jokowi has weakened the Anti-Corruption Commission, the most effective reformasi institution. His poll numbers have plummeted, and a recent poll showed that if there were another election, Prabowo Subianto, the establishment politician he defeated last year, would beat him.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that talk of a truth commission or an apology for the killings has stopped. Already in August, leaders in parliament said they opposed it, while generals and Islamist politicians warned darkly of a revival of atheistic neo-communism. Jokowi got the message. Revisiting 1965 is politically risky; too many have acquired great wealth and power because of the New Order and they have no interest in reexamining its founding myth.

Even unofficial discussions of the massacre have provoked a backlash from the political establishment. This month Indonesia was the guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the three novelists receiving the most attention have each placed 1965 in the center of their fiction. The day the book fair opened, Islamist groups protested in Jakarta that these Indonesian authors were actively promoting communism. Indonesia’s own premier annual literary event, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which began on October 28, was forced to cancel three sessions about 1965, including a screening of Oppenheimer’s second film and a panel with the novelist Eka Kurniawan, one of the authors featured in Frankfurt. A police official said that unless those sessions were omitted, the whole festival would be shut down. “The spirit of the festival is not to discuss things that would just open old wounds,” he said.

The new details emerging from the archives in both Indonesia and in Washington, however, may make this history harder to ignore. For example, Jess Melvin, an Australian Ph.D. student, recently discovered, in government archives in Aceh, Indonesian army documents that confirm that the killings were organized by the army as a systematic campaign. According to Melvin, these records show a military chain of command and orders that drove the killings and help explain the civilian participation in them. “The documents,” she writes, “demonstrate that the military leadership understood and implemented what they called the ‘annihilation of the PKI’ as an intentional and centralized national campaign.”

The US ambassador to Indonesia at the time, Marshall Green, has insisted in interviews and in his memoir that the only US covert assistance provided to the Indonesian army was some walkie-talkies and medicine. But from the 2001 volume and from even earlier press reports, we know that the US Embassy in Jakarta also gave the army lists of PKI members—perhaps with thousands of names. And the daily briefs at least hint at greater American involvement. Until more US records are released and until the Indonesian army’s records are made public, however, the full story will not be known.

The US has done a lot to unlock the secrets of the cold war, but it can do more. Indonesia’s struggle to remain democratic, and avoid a return to strongman rule, in part depends on knowing its own history. Obama knows this, and, as president, he has the power to help fill in the historical record.


Margaret Scott teaches at NYU’s Program in International Relations and is a cofounder of the New York Southeast Asia Network. (April 2024)

More by Margaret Scott

The Price of Stability March 30, 2024
Indonesia’s Corrupted Democracy April 4, 2024 issue
Indonesia’s New Islamist Politics April 18, 2019 issue


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印尼大屠殺--Margaret Scott
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下文發表於2018紐約書評它回顧蘇哈托在1965 – 1966主導的印尼全國性大屠殺。請參見:下一篇關於美國政府在此事件中扮演的角色;以及即將刊出的拙作《讀後》。


The Truth about the Killing Fields

Margaret Scott, 06/28/2018 issue

Reviewed:


The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder
by Jess Melvin
Routledge, 319 pp., $140.00
The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965–66
by Geoffrey B. Robinson
Princeton University Press, 429 pp., $35.00

On a baking hot afternoon in 2010, Jess Melvin, a young scholar from Australia, walked out of a government archive in Banda Aceh carrying a cardboard box. It was brimming with three thousand photocopied documents from the Indonesian army, and Melvin could barely believe her luck. These documents prove what has always been officially denied: the Indonesian army deliberately planned the 1965–1966 massacre in which up to a million suspected Communists died, one of the worst but least-known mass killings of the twentieth century.

Melvin’s astonishing discovery forms the core of her groundbreaking book The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder. She chronicles what happened after October 1, 1965, when six high-ranking army generals were yanked from their homes in the early hours of the morning and murdered by left-leaning junior officers who called themselves the 30 September Movement. They claimed they were forestalling a coup by a CIA-backed group of anti-Communist generals. Within hours, the junior officers were outmaneuvered by Major General Suharto, who staged a counter-coup and blamed the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) for the murders. By the end of the day, Suharto sent out orders to “completely annihilate” the 30 September Movement “down to the roots,” according to an army document Melvin discovered.

Melvin’s book will forever alter the telling of what happened next. Suharto, relying on an army command structure outside the control of the revolutionary leader and president-for-life Sukarno, issued orders to carry out mass killings. The documents Melvin uses to explain how the army planned and organized the killings shatter the official narrative that has prevailed for more than fifty years and continues to be taught to Indonesian schoolchildren today. This narrative holds that God-fearing, anti-Communist Indonesians, provoked for years by the PKI and outraged by the 30 September Movement’s treacherous murder of the generals, rose up in a frenzy to annihilate the PKI across the archipelago of 17,000 islands. According to the official 1966 Fact Finding Commission, the army could not contain the violence of the masses. Indonesia’s official history describes civilians seeking revenge, and there is no mention of the military’s participation in the killings. In fact, as Melvin’s book and other new scholarship show, Suharto instituted martial law, leaving the flamboyant leftist-turned-autocrat Sukarno stuck in the presidential palace as his supposedly unrivaled power dwindled away.

Melvin offers a fascinating day-by-day chronicle, based on the archival army documents and the 1965 annual report of the army commander in the northern province of Aceh, unearthed in a Dutch library. The documents reveal the army’s plan to pin the murder of the generals on the PKI and then wipe it out. The army took control of all newspapers and radio, and propaganda—including the fake and endlessly repeated story of how Communist women danced around the kidnapped generals as they castrated them and gouged out their eyes—played a huge part in whipping up support within Muslim militias, mostly organized by the army, for rounding up, detaining, and then killing suspected Communists.

The army’s own chronology, which Melvin annotates, shows how the provincial military commander would go to a town, denounce the PKI, organize a public demonstration, oversee the creation of militias and death squads, and then oversee the killings. They usually started with public executions of well-known PKI members and then escalated into mass roundups. According to Melvin, “The pogroms and public killings broke down normal social bonds and established violence as the manner in which the military’s campaign was to be pursued.”

In addition to proving the army’s involvement, the documents show that the tactics and scale of the killings evolved both for the army and for local civilians, who were often coerced into killing by the logic of “you are with us or against us.” Over the following weeks and months, annihilating the 30 September Movement morphed into annihilating the PKI. Melvin writes that it remains unclear if the army intended killings on such a vast scale. At some point, either because the army was unable to feed all the detainees or because the pogrom took on a life of its own, the army decided to kill them.

While Melvin’s cache of military records focuses on Aceh and the nearby provinces on the northern island of Sumatra, the documents prove conclusively that the Indonesian army expected a showdown with the Communists and devised a plan to exterminate them. Fortuitously, Melvin’s book appears at the same time as Geoffrey B. Robinson’s The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965–66. Robinson, a veteran historian of Indonesia who teaches at UCLA, describes the broader cold war background to the massacre and digs into the available sources to prove that the US and British governments secretly backed the anti-Communist faction of the Indonesian army. The goal of the US and UK covert strategy, Robinson shows, was to provoke the PKI into action so that the army had a pretext to crush it.

An illuminating third perspective on this cold war epic comes from a Chinese scholar, Taomo Zhou, who adds missing information on the involvement of China in the showdown between the left and right in Indonesia. Zhou’s research started at Cornell University and is based on Chinese Foreign Ministry documents that were declassified in 2008, then reclassified in the summer of 2013. In an article in The China Quarterly, part of her forthcoming book, Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War, 1945–1967, Zhou, now teaching at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, documents that Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders knew that the youthful and charismatic head of the PKI, D.N. Aidit, had developed plans to prevent an anti-Communist army takeover (relying on a handful of left-leaning officers), but the Chinese were not the architects of those plans.

For the first time, reading Melvin, Robinson, and Zhou together, the puzzle pieces of who was really behind the 30 September Movement and why its failure led to the murderous extermination of the left nearly fall into place. “Nearly” must be stressed since critical clues are still missing: most importantly from Indonesia, but also from the still-classified records of the CIA and the Defense Department in the US and of Britain’s MI6, and, crucially, from other documents from Chinese sources. But by early 1965, these studies reveal, both the army and the leaders of the PKI yearned to seize power, using President Sukarno as cover in their bid to destroy each other.

They also add to our understanding of how Indonesia, by 1965, was in the path of a cold war collision, with the US and Britain on one side and China on the other. Sukarno, who claimed to be the voice of his people and to reconcile Islam, nationalism, and socialism, marched ever leftward, decrying the “imperialist and neo-colonialist West” while embracing the PKI and the Chinese Communists. By this time, the PKI was the third-largest Communist Party in the world, after China’s and the Soviet Union’s, claiming 3.5 million members and some 20 million sympathizers, mostly peasants and workers.

Robinson captures the high stakes: by 1965 the Vietnam War was raging; after the Sino-Soviet split China was determined to recast itself as the leader of revolution in Asia, and ensuring that Sukarno and the PKI looked to China for support and inspiration mattered to Mao. With China encouraging him, Sukarno had already launched the “Crush Malaysia” campaign, calling for an armed confrontation with the neocolonialists for creating Malaysia, which he called a puppet state meant to encircle Indonesia. Alarmed, President Johnson’s national security adviser McGeorge Bundy approved more intensive covert programs.

The extent of the programs remains unknown, but Robinson has pieced together the documents that have been declassified, which describe support for the Indonesian army and Muslim groups, and psychological operations designed to provoke the PKI into doing something—ideally attempting a coup—that would provide a pretext for the army to smash it and seize power.

The British created a division for covert political warfare against Indonesia in Singapore. By mid-August, Bundy called for a meeting “to alert the President to the seriousness of the situation in which the Communists may take over Indonesia,” a development that Undersecretary of State George Ball said “would be the biggest thing since the fall of China.”


Meanwhile, China also was determined to win in Indonesia. Zhou describes how Mao thought that backing the PKI was essential to show the rest of Southeast Asia that China, not the Soviet Union, led the revolutionary movement. Aidit ingratiated himself with China. He soon became Mao’s—and China’s—man in Jakarta, as well as a forceful figure in Sukarno’s inner circle and in his cabinet. Mao and Zhou Enlai dangled promises of huge shipments of small arms and even nuclear technology. They supported Aidit’s plan, for which he also got Sukarno’s support, to create a Fifth Force and arm workers and farmers for the Crush Malaysia campaign.

By the summer of 1965, Aidit, who was confident one minute and anxious the next that the right-wing generals were about to launch a coup, had created a clandestine group that became the 30 September Movement, without the knowledge of the PKI politburo or the party’s millions of followers. The historian John Roosa, a professor at the University of British Columbia, was the first to delve into Aidit’s role in the poorly organized movement, which relied on a group of “revolutionaryofficers without a clear plan.

Zhou is the first scholar to find a document proving that Aidit described the movement to Mao. On August 5, Aidit was in Beijing when Sukarno collapsed from an unknown illness, and he decided to rush back to a tense Jakarta. Mao met with Aidit before he left, and asked what he would do if Sukarno died or the army moved to take over. Aidit laid out his plan for a preemptive strike. He told Mao, according to minutes of the meeting, that he planned to establish a military committee to confuse his enemies and to ensure that “military commanders who are sympathetic to the right wing will not oppose us immediately.” He then added, “After it has been established, we need to arm the workers and peasants in a timely fashion.”

Zhou writes that the minutes do not include Mao’s exact reply, but that he told Aidit to be ready for both negotiations and armed struggle. It seems clear from Roosa’s and Zhou’s research that while Aidit was emboldened by Mao’s support and expected many guns to follow, China never sent any. Zhou, whose study is designed to add to the global history of the cold war, said in a telephone interview that opening up more of the historical record is unlikely in Xi Jinping’s China, where the 30 September Movement remains a taboo subject. As a result, Zhou said, she can only write about it in English.

By August 1965, with Aidit back in Jakarta, the army and the PKI played out the last moves of this grand game of chicken. Over the next two months, tensions escalated, pro- and anti-Communist students clashed, and Sukarno’s self-proclaimed magic of holding the nation together was waning. Rumors flew. One day there were reports of guns from China arriving to arm the Fifth Force. Another day reports circulated that there was proof that the CIA-backed Council of Generals was going to seize power on October 5, Armed Forces Day. As the showdown was brewing, the US incited the right while China encouraged the left.

Early in the morning of October 1, Aidit launched the plan he had outlined to Mao, only to watch it fizzle. There were no promised guns from China. PKI cadres did not rise up to support the 30 September Movement. Sukarno failed to support Aidit and the leftist officers. The brash and brutal Suharto moved quickly to declare himself commander of the army, and he ignored Sukarno’s order that afternoon to step down. Aidit fled to Yogyakarta and, during his weeks in hiding, he denied that he was involved in the killing of the generals and instructed party officials to call off any demonstrations and avoid any actions that would provoke an army response. Sukarno would protect the PKI, he told his followers. But Sukarno had no protection to offer; instead the unarmed PKI members and poor farmers and workers who belonged to affiliated organizations were defenseless as the army moved to annihilate them. Hiding in a village on the outskirts of Solo in Central Java, Aidit was tracked down by the army on November 22 and summarily executed.

Melvin adds a new understanding of why the army was able to move so quickly on October 1. Under the cover of the Crush Malaysia campaign, it had devised its separate command structure and trained civilian militias, ranging from gangsters to members of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization. When Suharto gave the order, the means to carry it out were already in place. Army commanders quickly met with NU leaders, handing out guns and money.

In Aceh, Melvin follows what she calls “the coordination tour” of the Aceh army commander Brigadier General Ishak Djuarsa to explain how the civilian population was enlisted in the annihilation campaign. Mass rallies were held to rile up hatred for the PKI. Muslim religious leaders joined in, condemning Communists as atheists, giving religious sanction to the murders. The army issued edicts ordering civilians to crush the PKI. Death squads were formed all over the province, and by the end of October, Djuarsa declared war on the PKI. The militias and death squads collected accused Communists from army-run detention centers, mostly at night, and killed them, throwing the corpses into rivers or shallow mass graves.

Robinson argues that what happened in Aceh was not unusual. What makes the massacre in Indonesia remarkable is that the victims were killed for their political and ideological connections, not their ethnicity or religion. There were many willing executioners, especially in the Muslim militias, and Islam was often invoked to justify the violence. Yet in religiously diverse Indonesia, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists also participated in the violence. Without the army, as Melvin and Robinson painstakingly detail, there would have been no mass murder. All of the evidence, Robinson writes, “points to the army as the chief instigator and organizer of the violence.”

One notable exception was the targeting of Chinese Indonesians, long stigmatized as clannish, unfairly wealthy, and not quite Indonesian. Hostility toward Chinese in the archipelago had simmered for hundreds of years, but the antipathy took on a political dimension in 1965. As Sukarno and the PKI allied themselves with China, anti-Communists in Indonesia insisted that Chinese Indonesians were disloyal and untrustworthy. Rumors spread that local Chinese were spies or were bankrolling the PKI. When the army went after the PKI, Chinese Indonesians became targets of violence as well, especially in Medan and Aceh. Melvin writes that indiscriminate violence against Aceh’s Chinese community erupted in 1966, and Djuarsa, the commander, issued an order that all “alien” Chinese had to leave by August 17, 1966. China sent ships to Medan to rescue them. Some ten thousand were expelled.

By March 1966, the killings slowed or stopped in most places. Suharto forced Sukarno to sign over his presidential powers on March 11, and embarked on his thirty-two years of strongman rule. Communism was outlawed. Every Indonesian had to declare belief in one of the official religions (Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and Buddhism)

 to inoculate against Marxism. Chinese characters were banned, and Chinese Indonesians were forced to adopt Indonesian names. China and Indonesia severed relations. The US and Britain, watching their covert dreams in action, rushed to help Suharto and the army and celebrated the elimination of the PKI. It was seen as a momentous victory and a turning point in the cold war. As if the massacre was a down payment for aid, money flowed into Indonesia in the form of loans, foreign aid, military funding and equipment, and private investment, especially in oil and mining.


Suharto’s New Order, as his rule was called, ushered in a period of high growth rates and harsh repression. Not only were up to one million alleged Communists massacred, another 1.5 million were imprisoned, and their families were shunned and discriminated against for generations. Suharto’s authoritarian control of society rested on the “latent danger of communism,” and an elaborate intelligence apparatus reached down to the village level to quash dissent or signs of leftism. Any talk about the killings became taboo except for the official version: the PKI had to be exterminated, and Indonesians themselves supported and joined in the mass murder.

This official version was embraced in high-ranking circles of the US and British governments. Many journalists and scholars accepted it as well. “The US government also went to extraordinary lengths to disguise its own role in the violence,” according to Robinson, including releasing Indonesia—1965: The Coup That Backfired, the CIA’s version of events, which echoed the Indonesian army’s official version. One reason the CIA took the extraordinary step of releasing this report, completed in 1968, was to counter what came to be known as the “Cornell Paper,” a dissenting study by two scholars, Benedict R. Anderson and Ruth T. McVey, who rejected the notion that the PKI was behind the September 30 Movement.

Instead, they claimed that intra-army conflict was the cause. The Cornell Paper and the CIA’s report—both of which turned out to be wrong—gave rise to years of sharp polemics between pro–and anti–New Order officials and scholars.


An exchange of letters in these pages from 1978 gives a taste of the bitter debate.

Francis J. Galbraith, ambassador to Indonesia from 1969 to 1974, lambasted an article by Huang Wen-hsien and David Hinckley, “In Indonesian Prisons,” based on an Amnesty International report that at least 55,000 and perhaps 100,000 political prisoners, rounded up in the annihilation campaign, languished as detainees without trial. Galbraith wrote that the Cornell Paper had been discredited, the role of the PK had been proven, and that Indonesia was still fighting a Communist insurgency:


The Suharto Government has understandably hesitated to turn loose the slightly more than 30,000 Communist cadres still detained (not 100,000 as alleged by Amnesty International) to fuel such an insurgency.

Anderson and McVey’s reply appeared a few months later. The CIA’s own study, they pointed out, showed that the PKI never took up arms or had plans to lead an insurgency. They also dismissed Galbraith’s claim that the PKI was to blame, instead asserting that it was the CIA that had the most to gain in stopping Indonesia’s “headlong slide to the left.” Anderson and McVey got a lot wrong in the Cornell Paper, but so did a subgenre of books in both Indonesian and English, including Marshall Green’s memoir of his time as US ambassador from 1965 to 1968, which obscures the role of the US and UK and the organizing of the killings by the Indonesian army.

According to Green, “The events of October 1, 1965, came as a complete surprise to us.” As for the killings, he describes them as the inevitable result of neighbor-against-neighbor antipathy with no mention at all of the army. In the last analysis, he writes,

The bloodbath visited on Indonesia can be largely attributed to the fact that communism, with its atheism and talk of class warfare, was abhorrent to the way of life of rural Indonesia.

Since Suharto was toppled in 1998 and Indonesia entered its cacophonous and fragile democratic era, many have challenged the official narrative through personal memoirs, documentaries, and novels.

Yet these efforts have led to a backlash, with a growing alliance of the right and Islamists attacking any effort to investigate the past as a neo-Communist threat to the nation. These deeply researched and authoritative new books should offer support to those who are searching for the truth. They have, at the very least, revealed the urgent need for a new account of a tragic chapter in Indonesia’s past that continues to haunt the present.



Margaret Scott teaches at NYU’s Program in International Relations and is a cofounder of the New York Southeast Asia Network. (April 2024)

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古代時期希臘和波斯的關係 -- Laken Bonatch
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轉登這篇文章並非「發思古之幽情」;而是從古希臘和古波斯的關係,我們可以了解幾千年來直到現在和可見的未來,國際上只有利益掛帥的酒肉朋友。其根本原因還是在於:人需要資源才能存活,而地球上的資源或者不夠分配,或者有人認為,資源多多益善,永遠都不夠用

赫拉特斯大概是第一個鼓吹「文明衝突論」的意識型態家(通譯為希羅多得);請見以下 : “Ancient Representations”一節


Ancient Greece and Persia: Foes, Friends, or Both?

The Ancient Greek city-states and the Persian Empire had a complicated relationship that extended beyond the Greco-Persian Wars.

Laken Bonatch02/21/24 

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The 
Greco-Persian Wars have long stuck in the minds of those who study the ancient world. Although this series of battles had a significant impact on ancient Greece, including its history, literature, and identity, there is more to the relationship between ancient Greece and the Persian Empire. Furthermore, we only have the Greek perspective on this relationship, so it’s important to keep that in mind when discussing it. This article will examine the relationship between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire before, during, and after the wars.

Greco-Persian Relations Before the 5th Century

Red-figured hydria, artist unknown, 400-380 BCE. Source: British Museum, London (
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Despite what more popular depictions of the Greco-Persian Wars may say, the relationship between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire was not entirely antagonistic, especially before the 5th century BCE. The Greek city-states and the Persian Empire had a strong trade relationship, leading to the spread of goods, clothing styles (see above image), and art through mainland Greece. Before the Greco-Persian Wars, it was a sign of power for upper-class Greeks, particularly Athenians, to emulate Persian dress and customs.

In addition to a trade relationship, the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire also had a political relationship. There were official envoys from Greek city-states that would be received in one of the
capitals of the Persian Empire. For example, although this is after the Greco-Persian Wars, Antalcidas was a Spartan politician and envoy to Persia in the 4th century. Persian kings often invited Greek artists and orators to their courts, with the Athenian tragedian Euripides being one such example.

Stater of Ionian Revolt, artist unknown, 498-494 BCE. Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (
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Another factor that complicated the relationship between Greece and Persia was the status of the Greek city-states in Ionia. Ionia was a region on present-day Turkey’s coast with Greek colonies. The Lydians had initially conquered the colonies in around 560 BCE. However,
 Cyrus the Great eventually took down the Lydians and brought the area under the Persian Empire. From then on, the Ionian cities would become restless Persian subjects leading to the Ionian Revolt in the early 5th century.

Relief from palace of Darius, artist unknown. Source: British Museum, London (
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The Ionian Revolt (499-493 BCE) is seen as the unofficial beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars by many scholars, as it involved the military rebellions of multiple Greek areas of Ionia against the Persian Empire. The areas that rebelled included Aeolis, Cyprus, Caria, Miletus, Naxos, and more. The revolt lasted around six years, beginning in 499 and ending in 493 with a Persian victory. Although the Greek city-states of Athens and Eretria offered their support, they were unable to substantially help Miletus and the rest of the revolting regions. In fact, their intervention placed them on Darius I’s (
Darius the Great) radar. 

Darius’ Invasion of Greece

Monument to Marathon, artist unknown, ~460 BCE. Source: Institute of Classical Studies (
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In 492, only one year after the end of the Ionian Revolt, Darius I began an invasion of Greece, starting with territories in the Aegean. Before making it to mainland Greece, the Persian military conquered Macedon and some islands off the coast of Greece. By the time the fleet landed and began marching toward Athens, it was 490. At this point, the only major battle in mainland Greece during this invasion occurred: the 
Battle of Marathon.

Athenian hoplites cut off the Persian military’s path to Athens and fended them off in this battle. Most of the information for Marathon (and the second invasion, as well) comes from 
Herodotus, a Greek historian. Herodotus’ account describes a much smaller Athenian army (in addition to some forces from Plataea) taking on the large Persian military in an attempt to prevent them from capturing Athens.

Terracotta Nolan, artist unknown, 480-470 BCE. Source: MET, New York (
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The Persian fleet still attempted to sail to the undefended city, but the Athenian military hurried back and intercepted them, forcing them to sail back to Persia.

It was also in this battle that the famous origin of the marathon race came about. Before the battle, one Athenian named Pheidippides was tasked with running to Sparta from Marathon to seek aid for the battle, which he did. Sparta could not make it in time due to a religious festival. Pheidippides had to run back to Marathon within only a few days, and after the battle, he was tasked with running another 42.195 km (the exact distance of the Marathon race) back to Athens to inform the city of the victory. Pheidippides successfully made it to Athens, announced that “we won”, and died.

The victory at Marathon ended the first invasion of Greece, which, in reality, was a campaign in the Aegean and the northern countries above Greece, with only one battle occurring on the mainland. Although this invasion has often been seen as a failure for the Persian Empire, they conquered many territories and re-subjugated Thrace before their loss at Marathon.

Xerxes’ Invasion of Greece

Jar with inscriptions of Xerxes, artist unknown, 485-465 BCE. Source: MET, New York (
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Ten years after the Battle of Marathon, Darius’ son, 
Xerxes I, began the second invasion of Greece in 480. According to Herodotus, he wished to finish his father’s campaign, but that is only one guess as to why Xerxes decided to resume the invasion. Once again, Herodotus is the main source for this invasion, and many aspects of it are even more exaggerated than Darius’ invasion.

Unlike the first invasion of Greece, where Athens was the only city-state that faced off against the Persian Empire, the second invasion brought more of the Greek city-states together. Although the Athenian role is still emphasized in Herodotus’ works, multiple cities formed an alliance to fight the Persian military. The invasion lasted only one year, but there were multiple notable battles that occurred in these twelve months.

Leonidas at Thermopylae by Jacques-Louis David, 1814. Source: Louvre, Paris (
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After the Persian fleet crossed the Hellespont and landed on mainland Greece, they first encountered Greek forces at 
Thermopylae, a pass that was defended by Sparta and its allies until the Greek forces were defeated. After Thermopylae, the Persian army marched to Athens and ransacked the city, burning the Acropolis and destroying religious sanctuaries. This act was one of the most significant events in the 5th century for Athens, and it would greatly impact the relationship between the Persian Empire and the city-state.

Bay of Salamis drawing by William Simpson. Source: British Museum, London (
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After the sack of Athens, the city-state met the Persian forces in a 
naval battle at Salamis, giving the Athenians a victory and contributing to their naval pride. The final major battle happened nearly a year later at Plataea with a large alliance of Greek forces from Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Megara, and other city-states. At this point, Xerxes had returned to Persia, leaving his general Mardonius in charge of the remaining campaign. After Mardonius’ loss at Plataea, the Greco-Persian Wars are seen as over by some. However, the conflict would continue in the Aegean and beyond for around three more decades, ending around 449 with the Peace of Callias (whose date is debated).

Ancient Representations

Bust of Herodotus, artist unknown, 2nd CE. Source: MET, New York (
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As already mentioned, the relationship between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states was not always hostile. However, during the 5th century, there was a notable shift in how Persia was represented in art and discussed in literature, which evidently ties in with the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars.

Due to a lack of primary sources, Herodotus informs much of our knowledge on how the Persian Empire was represented in literature around the 5th and 4th centuries. However, he contributes to a trend seen in other representations of the Persian Empire that frame the empire as the one true enemy of Greece, which has helped shape the more modern interpretation of the Greco-Persian Wars as a divide between “East” and “West.”

Herodotus begins his account of the Greco-Persian Wars by recounting the history of the Persian Empire and its 
kings, but his characterization of Xerxes, the king responsible for the second invasion of Greece, follows a pattern of portraying the man as effeminate, hubristic, and careless. For example, there is the famous scene of Xerxes whipping the Hellespont after his forces were unable to cross. This scene only appears first in Herodotus and then later in authors who have read his works, but it has still become part of how Xerxes is remembered, despite the high probability that it is not true.

Marble relief from Parthenon frieze by Pheidias, 438-432 BCE. Source: British Museum (
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In addition to a shift in how the Persian Empire is represented in literature, we also see new artistic representations. Following the destruction of Athens after the Battle of Thermopylae, 
Pericles, an Athenian politician, began a reconstruction campaign on the Acropolis. As part of this reconstruction, he funded the Parthenon, which replaced the former temple of Athena that had been destroyed by the Persian military.

The 
frieze running along the Parthenon’s top depicted Athenian mythological heroes in scenes like the Amazonomachy (battle between Greeks and Amazons) and the Centauromachy (battle between Greeks and centaurs), which are often perceived as representing the battle between Greeks and barbarians or in this case probably the Greeks and the Persians. Furthermore, the frieze was likely influenced by Persian reliefs such as the ones from Persepolis.

Greece & Persia: A Shifting Relationship 

Kylix of Greek and Persian soldiers, artist unknown, 460 BCE. Source: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (
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We do not have much evidence of the Greco-Persian Wars from the Persian Empire, so it’s difficult to say if these wars had anywhere near the name impact as they did on the Greek city-states, particularly Athens. However, it’s important to remember that the Persian Empire was enormous. While the failure to conquer mainland Greece may have had some impact, it didn’t erase the amount of power or territory that Xerxes had in the 5th century. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see how the relationship between these two ancient powers shifted over time. Prior to the 5th century, they had a relationship built on trade, and elites in Greece would spend money imitating Persian dress and buying Persian art and goods. Additionally, there were few artistic representations of the empire.

With the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars, we see a shift in how the Persian Empire is represented in literature and art. They were now rebranded as the effeminate enemy of Greece; a common enemy that helped bolster national identity. Also, the Greek wins during the Persian Wars were perceived as major blows to Persian imperial power. Although this interpretation is far from the truth, it is important to understand where it came from and how the relationship between Greece and the Persian Empire changed due to the wars.

READ NEXT: A Complete Timeline of the Greco-Persian Wars

Laken Bonatch
, MA History and MS Archives Management (in-progress), BA History & Classics, Laken has a BA in History and Classics from Bryn Mawr College and is currently pursuing an MA in History and MS in Library Science with a concentration on Archives Management from Simmons University. She is working toward becoming an archivist in order to help others in their research while preserving history at the same time, and her academic interests include medieval and ancient history.

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《拆穿巴勒斯坦當代史神話》讀後
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切蕊教授是經濟學家。我對巴勒斯坦的歷史和當代情況都缺乏了解;因此,沒有能力評論切蕊教授在他大作中對史實的陳述和詮釋。轉載下文只是做為參考(本欄上一篇),並無替他背書的意思。從標題與用字遣詞兩個角度分析,全文難稱公允切蕊教授支持以色列人與貶低巴勒斯坦人的情緒躍然紙上。

我同意齊椰克教授在左派在加薩議題和「解除殖民統治」上的思考盲點》中所引用撒伊德博士觀點:巴勒斯坦人和以色列人都有權利在該地區生活請見以上超連接一欄中2023/12/22貼文

如何將這個觀點落實為現實政治,則有待兩族人民的智慧,以及各國領袖的見識和手腕來決定了。

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拆穿巴勒斯坦當代史神話 ---- Robert Cherry
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Nakba:巴勒斯坦人的浩劫浩劫日 (文中兩義皆有依脈絡定之)

Countering Historical Myths of the Palestinian Experience

Robert Cherry, 01/06/24

Much of the left’s animus towards Israel is based on a false history of the 1948 War: the uprooting of a longstanding Arab population, quelching their aspirations for an independent Palestinian state. Instead, there were longstanding Jewish communities in Palestine; a significant share of Arab refugees were recent migrants to Jewish areas; there was little Palestinian nationalist sentiment; and the Nakba had nothing to do with the refugee problem.

There were longstanding Jewish populations in a number of Palestinian cities. Since at least the nineteenth century, the majority of Jerusalem residents were Jewish despite its home to the third most holy site in Islam.  The reason was that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was never a pilgrimage site and during the Ottoman era was never maintained so by the 1920s had severely deteriorated. Besides organizing pogroms against Jewish communities in 1921 and 1929, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, made a concerted effort to transform the mosque by sending emissaries throughout the Muslim world to obtain funds for renovations.  These successful efforts led him to be revered in the Muslim world. 

The Mufti’s leadership of the 1936-39 Arab Revolt led to his exile in Iraq. In 1941, he fled to Germany where he was an important propagandist for the Nazis, helping to organize a Bosnian contingent in the Nazi Army. After the war, he “escaped” from house arrest in France, and was given a hero’s welcome when arriving in Cairo. The newly formed Arab League made him the head of the Arab Higher Committee, the representative of Palestinian interests.

A significant share of Arabs living in Jewish areas were recent migrants. Throughout the prewar years, Jewish successes drew Arab migrants from other parts of Palestine. The historian Fred Gottheil estimated that between 1922 and 1931 migrants comprised one-quarter of the Arab population growth in areas that would become the state of Israel.

Arab migration to Jewish areas continued during the next decade, fueled by the worsening situations in rural areas. The sociologist Christopher Anderson estimated that as many as half of the Arab peasantry were either agricultural laborers or tenant farmers, with a large share of the remainder having landholdings that were too small to survive long term. Jewish land acquisitions exacerbated the situation. As a result, many Arab workers moved to the dismal slums that had begun to proliferate around coastal cities, especially Haifa and Jaffa.

Poor Muslims who had streamed there regularly returned to their villages for seasonal work and married spouses from their birthplaces. When the 1948 War broke out, they returned to their villages to avoid the military conflict. This was especially the case after news of the Deir Yasim massacre was broadcast throughout Arab communities. At this village, just outside Jerusalem, Jewish forces were indiscriminate in their response to the unexpected resistance they encountered, bombing structures without concern for civilian casualties. As a result, an estimated 110 Arabs were killed, half noncombatants.

The Palestinian leadership more than doubled the numbers, claiming inaccurately that many were killed after the combat had ended.  Their goal was to counter the reluctance of Arab countries to send troops after British rule ended.  The immediate effect, however, was to instill fear of what would happen if Zionist forces attacked Arab villages.  As a result, many Arabs fled even before their villages were attacked. For these reasons, some important historians, including Benny Morris and Meron Benvenisti, distinguish between the 350,000 refugees by the end of May 1948 and the similar numbers afterward.  They argue that military efforts and considerations are responsible for the earlier group while ethnic cleansing objectives dominated the latter group.

During the first phase of the war before foreign armies entered, the Jewish forces were opposed by the Arab Liberation Army (ALA); the hoped-for indigenous army organized by the Arab League, supplemented by foreign volunteers.  However, it was unable to enlist many Palestinians so that as much as 90% was comprised of foreign volunteers.  Indeed, it was led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji, a Lebanese Arab nationalist, rather than a Palestinian.

 He had led the foreign volunteers who had fought during the 1936-39 Arab revolt. Qawugji escaped British capture, going to Syria where he was active in the 1941 Jewish pogroms and helped install a pro-Nazi regime. When the British overthrew this new regime, Qawuqji escaped to Germany where he fought for the Nazis. Released from a Soviet prison camp in 1947, he came to Cairo and was chosen to lead the “indigenous” rebellion.

Gaining meager aid from Arab villagers, the ALA had few victories and many defeats. And a belated attempt by the Arab League to form a provisional Palestinian government failed. Most Palestinian leaders opposed him, particularly for his dictatorial policies during the Arab Revolt ten years earlier. Then he harshly responded to those who questioned any of his decisions, even assassinating some. This opposition not only rejected his provisional government but his efforts to have a say in postwar affairs in the West Bank or Gaza.

That the war was solely against the Jews is clear when the concept of the Nakba was developed. Pan-Arabism was the overriding meaning of the Nakba when first enunciated in 1948 with the publication, The Meaning of the Nakba by Constantin Zureiq, the most important Arab nationalist intellectual at the time. He saw the defeat of the Arab armies as a catastrophe for allowing an alien Jewish state within Arab lands. 

In 1958, the Nakba was commemorated by radio stations of the United Arab Republic calling on the world’s Arab and Muslim states to hold a symbolic five minutes to mourn the establishment of Israel.  The historian Hillel Cohen noted that there was no mention of the Palestinian displacementNegation of Israel became the ideological foundation for Hamas and other fundamentalist Islamic organizations.

Only in the 1990s did the Nakba evolve into a focus on the refugees. At the time, Yasar Arafat was pressed to follow through on the Oslo Accords. In his negotiations, Arafat never offered an alternative map to the ones proposed by the Israeli government. Instead, he demanded an uncapped right-of-return of refugees, strengthening his case by referring to their plight as the Nakba. And for the last twenty-five years, the right-of-return has been the major stumbling block to a two-state solution, not Jewish settlements. Indeed, over this time period, there have only been three small West Bank settlements approved with virtually the entire population growth in long-time settlements around Jerusalem.

None of this denies the harshness of Zionist policies during and after the war: The ethnic clearing that dominated the second half of the war and an unwillingness to allow more than a small share of refugees to return to their villages. However, given the Nazi leadership of the Palestinian struggle, and the universal Arab unwillingness to accept any Jewish state in its midst, Zionist policies towards Arab villagers are understandable.

Finally, without a Jewish state, there would have been nowhere to go for Holocaust survivors stuck in displaced persons camps, the Mizrachi Jews when the Arab countries engaged in ethnic cleansing in the early 1950s, or Russian Jews when Soviet policies turned antisemitic. And the tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews would have remained oppressed. Are these the images of colonial settlers that Palestinian supporters project?

Robert Cherry is an American Enterprise Institute affiliate and author of "The State of the Black Family: Sixty Years of Tragedies and Failures – and New Initiatives Offering Hope."

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奧特曼帝國入侵歐洲與埃及簡史 -- Connor Brighton
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Anatolia
安納托利亞亞洲西南部的半島,位於黑海地中海之間。
Battle of Kosovo
科索沃戰役(1389)
Battle of Nicopolis
尼科波利斯戰役(1396)
Battle of Varna
瓦爾納戰役(1444)
Janissary system
耶尼切里軍團,也譯為加尼沙里軍團、新軍、禁衛軍或蘇丹親兵,是奧特曼帝國的常備軍隊與蘇丹侍衛的統稱。
levy
徵兵(此處用法);徵稅,課稅;徵收額;稅款;徵兵額
Mamluks
布爾吉王朝(此處用法)奴隸
Ottoman Interregnum (1402-1413)
奧特曼帝國大空位期
Thrace色雷斯 (極具歷史和地緣政治價值的地區,位於歐洲東南部)
Turkik tribes
突厥族


The Ottoman Empire: Early Expansion Into Europe And Egypt

Connor Brighton
, 01/02/24 

Starting from humble beginnings, the Ottoman Empire would grow to become one of the largest and most powerful empires the world has ever known. Spanning across three continents, at the height of its power in the 16th century, tens of millions of people lived under its rule. The standard of living, prosperity, and wealth that the Ottomans ushered into their lands had not been seen since the time of the Romans

While the influence and prestige of the empire slowly faded after the failed Siege of Vienna in 1683, the Ottoman's quick and sudden rise to power was nothing short of extraordinary. Beginning as an insignificant nomadic tribe from Central Asia, the Ottomans grew into a mighty empire in only a few short centuries and would last until the end of the First World War.

The story of the Ottoman Empire begins with Osman I. In 1299 AD, in the wake of the Mongol invasion of the Middle East, dozens of Turkik tribes had flooded into Anatolia. One of these tribes was under the rule of Osman I. Osman was a cunning and capable leader who was incredibly perceptive of the weaknesses of his neighbors. Both the other Turkic tribes and the ever-weakening Byzantine Empire were ripe for the taking. Osman conquered the Byzantine province of Bithynia and then moved to eliminate his fellow Turkic chiefs who threatened his rule. 

By 1345, Osman was dead, but his forebearers continued to conquer in his name. The Ottomans controlled a sizeable plot of land in Anatolia and were now in the position to make the daring cross into Europe. The Byzantines, who controlled much of Thrace, were weak and preoccupied with petty internal squabbles. Now was the perfect time to strike. 

Into The Balkans

The Ottoman and Byzantine clashed in many wars in the middle of the 14th century. With each conflict, the Ottomans slowly chipped away at what remained of a once great empire. Soon, the Ottomans controlled both Thrace and Macedonia, and it was not long before the Byzantines were left stranded within the walls of their capital city, Constantinople

Not only did the Byzantines suffer at the hands of the newly arrived Ottomans, but so did the rest of the nations within the Balkans. In 1389, the Ottomans managed to conquer Serbia at the Battle of Kosovo and then destroyed a Crusader force at the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, bringing Bulgaria into the fold as well.

In 1402, the Ottomans would enter into a chaotic and bloody civil war known as the Ottoman Interregnum but emerged from it in 1413 as strong as ever. For the next 30 years, Ottoman sultans made concerted efforts to hold and consolidate their power. In 1444, the Ottomans defeated yet another Crusading army at the Battle of Varna. With no more external threats on the horizon, the Ottomans were finally free to snuff out their stubborn Byzantine rivals once

The Fall Of Rome In The East

Under the command of Mehmed the Conqueror, the Ottoman army laid siege to Constantinople in 1453. This was not the first time the city had been under siege by the Ottomans. In previous decades, Ottoman armies had attacked the city but were unsuccessful, thanks to the near impenetrable walls of Constantinople. Constructed in the times of the Roman Empire, the Theodocian Walls that protected the city had remained its strongest deterrent since the city was first founded more than 1000 years ago. However, this time was different. 

Mehmed had come well prepared. Unlike the previous failed attempts to take the city, Mehmed introduced a new and devastating weapon into the equation. In preparation for the monumental task of taking Constantinople, Mehmed commissioned the construction of enormous siege cannons known as bombards to take down the formidable walls of the city. 

The Byzantines put up stiff resistance against the Ottomans, but their defenses could not withstand the power of the Ottoman cannons. The city was finally conquered, and with it, the last vestige of the Roman Empire was gone. Mehmed the Conqueror named Constantinople the new capital of his empire and spent the rest of his time as sultan consolidating his power.

The Mamluks

Since the capture of Constantinople, the relationship between the two Muslim powers, the Ottomans and the Mamluks, became tense at best. Both empires now controlled lands that relied heavily on the lucrative spice trade in Asia and wanted to eliminate the competition whenever possible. The Ottomans were also interested in controlling the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, both of which were protected by the Mamluks. After defeating a Persian army in Iraq in 1514, the Ottomans turned their entire attention to destroying this newfound rival in Egypt at the soonest possible moment. In 1516, the Ottomans pounced when the Mamluks were vulnerable, declaring they were the oppressors of Muslims and had no right to govern over the holy cities. 

Both sides could muster armies numbering nearly 60,000 men each, but this was far from a fair fight. The Ottoman army consisted of professional soldiers who had just seen combat only two years before in Iraq, while the bulk of the Mamluk force consisted of poorly trained and equipped conscripts. The battles that took place all resulted in decisive Ottoman victories, and within only two years of the outbreak of the war, the Ottomans controlled all of Syria, PalestineEgypt, and the holy cities within Arabia. 

Professional Armies And Slave Soldiers

The key to Ottoman military success in the early years of the empire can be directly attributed to their professional army. One of the first of its kind, as early as the middle of the 14th century, the Ottomans maintained an army that was made up of professional full-time soldiers, a far cry from the peasant levies that still formed large segments of rival militaries. In the late 14th century, the Janissary system was introduced, only bolstering the Ottoman army even further. As they conquered Christian lands in the Balkans, the Ottomans would take the young boys of Christian families and train them from a young age to become soldiers. 

Converting them to Islam as boys and having them swear loyalty to the sultan, the Janissaries were some of the most effective and loyal soldiers of their day. Sworn to not take wives they instead dedicated their lives to the sultan. Numerous times throughout the Ottoman Empire's history, it was these slave soldiers who turned the tide in battles time and time again. The Janissaries would eventually turn into an incredibly powerful and influential faction within Ottoman politics, often to the detriment of the empire, but that was centuries after the fact.   

The Ottoman rise to power is perhaps one of the most remarkable and sudden success stories for any empire in history. Not only was it able to gain power, but it was also able to maintain it well into the 20th century, something that many other upstart conquerors failed to accomplish. Lasting more than 600 years, it is nothing short of extraordinary that the Ottomans were able to conquer so successfully and hold on to the areas they annexed so stubbornly despite the best efforts of their rivals. Today, the modern nation of Turkey inherits its legacy, albeit with much less of an emphasis on invading neighboring countries.  

相關閱讀:

WHY DID THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE FALL?
Ottoman Empire officially ended in 1922, and the Republic of Turkey was established shortly after.


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