Posts Tagged ‘Churchill’


29. Dezember 2008

Der Sache nach war der Churchill der zwanziger Jahre ein Faschist; nur seine Nationalität verhinderte, daß er es auch dem Namen nach wurde.

(Sebastian Haffner)

Alex Rühle in der Süddeutschen Zeitung meint über Haffners Churchil-Buch, Haffners Bewunderung für Churchill bringe ihn dazu, dass er Churchill als „bulligen Einzelgänger in lustvoller Emphase feiert“. (SZ 28.12.2001)


und der Menschenfreund braucht keine Zweifel zu haben …

14. Juni 2008

Die Derwische sind erschlagen und versprengt. Sie lebten durch das Schwert. Weshalb sollten sie nicht durch das Repetiergewehr umkommen? Eine Herrschaftsform wurde hinweggefegt, die, selbst wenn sie den Betroffenen erträglich gewesen wäre, für die zivilisierte Welt ein Ärgernis war. Die Welt ist den Khalifa los – mit seiner ganzen Habe. Die Macht der Mahdisten ist für immer gebrochen, die Anhängerschaft zertreut, und der Menschenfreund braucht keine Zweifel zu haben, daß, was sich im Sudan 1898 abgespielt hat, zum Besten der Welt, Englands und Ägyptens geschehen ist. Wie indessen ist es um den Sudan selber bestellt?

Keine Zweifel?

Die Ausschnitte aus Churchills Roman River War werden zu Recht in diesen Tagen im Feuiellton der FAZ veröffentlicht, besonders dieser. Sie sollten uns anleiten, die Folgen unseres Handelns in einem größeren Zusammenhang zu sehen. Auch die des Handelns und Nicht-Handelns im Darfur-Konflikt.

Wie die Kürassiere bei Waterloo

31. Mai 2008

Die letzte Kavallerieattacke in einer Schlacht der Briten

On the instant all the sixteen troops swung
round and locked up into a long galloping line,
and the 21st Lancers were committed to their first 
charge in war.
Two hundred and fifty yards away the dark-blue men
were firing madly in a thin film of light-blue smoke.
Their bullets struck the hard gravel into the air,
and the troopers, to shield their faces from the
stinging dust, bowed their helmets forward, 
like the Cuirassiers at Waterloo.
The pace was fast and the distance short.
Yet, before it was half
covered, the whole aspect of the affair changed.
A deep crease in the ground – a dry watercourse,
a khor – appeared where all had seemed smooth,
level plain; and from it there sprang, with the
suddenness of a pantomime effect and a
high-pitched yell, a dense white mass of men
nearly as long as our front and about twelve deep.
A score of horsemen and a dozen bright flags rose
as if by magic from the earth. Eager warriors
sprang forward to anticipate the shock. The rest
stood firm to meet it.

Durch diese Linie hindurch

The Lancers acknowledged the apparition only by
an increase of pace.
Each man wanted sufficient momentum to drive
through such a solid line.
The flank troops, seeing that they overlapped,
curved inwards like the horns of a moon.
But the whole event was a matter of seconds.
The riflemen, firing bravely to the last, were
swept head over heels into the khor, and jumping
down with them, at full gallop and in the closest
order, the British squadrons struck the fierce
brigade with one loud furious shout. The collision
was prodigious. Nearly thirty Lancers, men and horses,
and at least two hundred Arabs were overthrown.

Wundersame zehn Sekunden

The shock was stunning to both sides, and for perhaps 
ten wonderful seconds no man heeded his enemy.
Terrified horses wedged in the crowd, bruised and shaken
men, sprawling in heaps, struggled, dazed and stupid,
to their feet, panted, and looked about them.
Several fallen Lancers had even time to re-mount.
Meanwhile the impetus of the cavalry carried them on.
As a rider tears through a bullfinch, the officers forced
their way through the press; and as an iron rake might be
drawn through a heap of shingle, so the regiment followed.
They shattered the Dervish array, and, their pace reduced
to a walk, scrambled out of the khor on the further side,
leaving a score of troopers behind them, and dragging on
with the charge more than a thousand Arabs. Then, and not
till then, the killing began; and thereafter each man saw
the world along his lance, under his guard, or through the
back-sight of his pistol; and each had his own strange
tale to tell.
Stubborn and unshaken infantry hardly ever meet stubborn
and unshaken cavalry. Either the infantry run away and are
cut down in flight, or they keep their heads and destroy
nearly all the horsemen by their musketry.
On this occasion two living walls had actually crashed
The Dervishes fought manfully. They tried to hamstring
the horses, They fired their rifles, pressing the muzzles
into the very bodies of their opponents. They cut reins
and stirrup-leathers. They flung their throwing-spears
with great dexterity. They tried every device of cool,
determined men practised in war and familiar with cavalry;
and, besides, they swung sharp, heavy swords which bit deep.
The hand-to-hand fighting on the further side of the khor
lasted for perhaps one minute.

Pferde fassen wieder Tritt

Then the horses got into their stride again, the pace
increased, and the Lancers drew out from among their
Within two minutes of the collisionevery living man was
clear of the Dervish mass. All who had fallen werecut
at with swords till they stopped quivering, but no
artistic mutilations were attempted.

(Winston Churchill:The River WarGutenberg)


27. Mai 2008
The Dervish dominion was born of war, existed by war, and fell by war.
It began on the night of the sack of Khartoum. It ended abruptly thirteen
years later in the battle of Omdurman.

Die Bahnlinie drang rasch nach Süden vor, und sowie sie an Länge gewann, wurden die Lasten von den Kamelrücken und aus den Segelbooten auf die Güterwaggons verschoben. … An dem Tag, als der erste Zug … einrollte, war das Schicksal der Derwische besiegelt. … Die Schlacht war noch nicht geschlagen, aber der Sieg bereits errungen.

On the 3rd of July the whole railway from Wady Halfato the Atbara was 
finished, and the southern terminus was established in the great 
entrenched camp at the confluence of the rivers. The question of 
supply was then settled once and for all.
In less than a week stores sufficient for three months were poured along 
the line, and the exhausting labours of the commissariat officers ended.
Their relief and achievement were merged in the greater triumph of the 
Railway Staff. The director and his subalterns had laboured long, and 
their efforts were crowned with complete success.
On the day that the first troop train steamed into the fortified camp at the 
confluence of the Nile and the Atbara rivers the doom of the Dervishes 
was sealed. It had now become possible with convenience and speed 
to send into the heart of the Soudan great armies independent of the 
season of the year and of the resources of the country; to supply them 
not only with abundant food and ammunition, but with all the varied
paraphernalia of scientific war; and to support their action on land by 
a powerful flotilla of gunboats, which could dominate the river and 
command the banks, and could at any moment make their way past 
Khartoum even to Sennar, Fashoda, or Sobat.
Though the battle was not yet fought, the victory was won.
The Khalifa, his capital, and his army were now withinthe Sirdar's reach. 
It remained only to pluck the fruit in the most convenient hour, with the 
least trouble and at the smallest cost.
(Churchill: River War. Chapter VIII: The Desert Railway)


24. Mai 2008

Und einsam in der unermesslichen Weite lag Railhead, die Endstation, eine Segeltuchstadt von zweitausendfünfhundert Einwohnern:

Alone in this vast expanse stood Railhead--a canvas town of 2,500
inhabitants, complete with station, stores, post-office, telegraph-office,
and canteen, and only connected with the living world of men and ideas
by two parallel iron streaks, three feet six inches apart, growing dim and
narrower in a long perspective until they were twisted and blurred by the
mirage and vanished in the indefinite distance.
Every morning in the remote nothingness there appeared a black speck
growing larger and clearer, until with a whistle and a welcome clatter,
amid the aching silence of ages, the 'material' train arrived, carrying
its own water and 2,500 yards of rails, sleepers, and accessories. At noon
came another speck, developing in a similar manner into a supply train,
also carrying its own water, food and water for the half-battalion of the
escort and the 2,000 artificers and platelayers, and the letters,
newspapers, sausages, jam, whisky, soda-water, and cigarettes which enable
the Briton to conquer the world without discomfort. And presently the empty
trains would depart, reversing the process of their arrival, and vanishing
gradually along a line which appeared at last to turn up into the air
and run at a tangent into an unreal world.
(Winston Churchill: The River War - Gutenberg)

Bestückt mit Kruppkanonen

24. Mai 2008

Churchills The River War, sein Bericht über Kitcheners Feldzug von 1898 gegen den Nachfolger des Mahdi, verdeutlicht die Waffenungleichheit. Doch nahm Churchill damals selbst an der letzten britischen Kavallerieattacke in einer Schlacht (Omdurman) teil.
Von Georg Brunold übersetzt erscheint das Werk gegenwärtig unter dem beziehungsreichen Titel „Kreuzzug gegen das Reich des Mahdi“ als Fortsetzungsroman in der FAZ.