[FOUNTAIN]Causes, morale and weatherWhen war breaks out, the most developed weapons and technology a country can muster are mobilized, and the power of a country’s weapons is used as propaganda against potential enemies even before war starts.
But weapons are not the sole factor to decide victory or defeat. The outcome is dependent on other elements, such as an army’s morale, the cause involved and the weather.
In this sense, the Napoleonic Wars, which heavily influenced European history in the 19th century, had as their original cause protecting the French Revolution under the name of freedom and emancipation from the former French monarchy. Later, they degenerated into wars driven by nationalism.
The weather as well as the deterioration in the cause had an impact on Napoleon’s army when it invaded Russia. The French military’s equipment and morale were far higher than Russia’s, but the cold weather played a large role in the defeat of the French.
When Hitler attacked Russia during World War II, he had the world’s strongest armored units and most developed weapons. He even researched the weather in Russia so as not to repeat the mistakes that Napoleon had made before. Hitler thought he could defeat Russia with blitz tactics within 10 weeks. Hitler launched his units on June 22, 1941. The Germans at first won victory after victory, but the combination of long supply lines, Russian morale and especially the bitter cold stopped the advance in early December in front of Moscow.
The Gulf War, which started after Iraq occupied Kuwait in August 1990, also had some decisive factors such as morale, high-tech weapons and again, weather. Iraq did not have advanced military equipment and the Iraqi soldiers did not have the will to fight. The country did not have a just cause either in invading a country that was helpless to resist it.
The weather in January 1991, when the counterattack was made, was the worst since 1977; the sky was 40-percent overcast.
The second Gulf War is to break out sooner or later. But this time, the country prepared to attack does not have as strong a cause as it did in 1990.
The United States may have developed weapons and its forces have great strength, but the world’s strongest nation does not have a cause approved by the United Nations. Whose side will the weather favor this time?
by Kim Seok-hwan
The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.
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