Monday, 22 June 2015
The Hessians! Again!
After so much PAIN-ting of the above mentioned, I thought, I could treat myself a bit ...
"The Hessians are infamous in American history for their role as part of the British forces sent to crush the colonists‘ rebellion in 1776. Yet these German auxiliaries, or mercenaries were only one instance of a frequent military practice, approved by international jurists of the time and used by the British in all their eighteenth-century wars. This study (dealing with one of the six contingents known inaccurately as the Hessians) is the first to make extensive use of manuscript sources in Germany, Britain and America to put the Hessians in their historical context and to examine a number of the myths about them.
Historians have viewed the Hessians as pipeclayed mercenaries brutally descending on a colonial populace or, alternatively, as young innocent farmboys pressed unwillingly into their prince's service and only too eager to desert and join the new American society. The evidence shows that such views are simplistic. The encounter of the Americans with the Hessian troops from a disciplined paternalistic society organised for war, with special thoroughness, was not merely the meeting of two military systems, but also of two ways of life, and is thus worthy of study in an age of conflict." (Rodney Atwood, The Hessians, 1980, CUP)