Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I have been re-watching Hornblower and Sharpe over Christmas and the new year. The thing I noticed was that duty and honor are used to constrain men in their conduct towards women and the institution in which they service. This then also is the case within the cultural and peoples day to day interactions.

    It seems to me duty and honor were killed off in WW1 and WW2 within Britain and replaced by tyrannical idea's like the social contract to replace duty and social justice to replace honor.

    This is a terrible thing as duty and honor constrained peoples actions independent of law, religion or government. I also noticed watching Sharpe's Challenge that the moral relativism and multi-culturalism had set in by 2006 from the original 14 episodes in the 1990's.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I think WW1 killed off the idea that there was any honour in sending millions of young men to their deaths. Wilfred Owen's Dolce et decorum est accurately summed up that position.
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tengentoppa)
    I think WW1 killed off the idea that there was any honour in sending millions of young men to their deaths. Wilfred Owen's Dolce et decorum est accurately summed up that position.

    I never really accepted that idea, always found it a little too neat. It's bit of a myth in my opinion, that WWI "changed everything" and everyone's eyes were suddenly opened to this "lie" about dying for your country. Anyone who'd seen the aftermath of battles in the Boer War or Gettysburg in the US Civil War might arguably have felt the same way. Churchill's sentiments, following the battle of Omdurman, were along the same lines too... or Wellington, following Waterloo: "Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won". I don't think anyone was deceived about the violent and unpleasant side of warfare.

    What's more in WWII there was still honourable behaviour evident. For example, I've recently read an account by a German officer, taking part in the Blitzkrieg against France, swearing on his word of honour not to attack a French officer's unit, provided the French withdrew from the position by 7pm that evening. When a German colonel appeared on the scene and tried to override his orders and attack anyway, he held a gun to the colonel's head and told him he had given his word and would not have it broken.

    Another account I have read concerned the French Cavalry School at Saumur. The town & castle guarded several crossing points over the river Loire which the German 1st Cavalry Division (numbering approx. 10,000) aimed to seize. The only French troops at the castle were a few hundred half-trained officer cadets and their instructors. Officially France had surrendered by this point so they had no reason to fight bar the fact that, to them, surrender without a fight would have been dishonourable and therefore unthinkable. They defended the river crossings for two days, at the end of which, the German commander honoured their courage by allowing those he captured to march away to join the Free French.

    I might hazard a guess that it was more around the 60s/70s when change really set in. When in popular culture, people like Monty Python and the Carry On films were mocking the traditional way of doing things. The parody in Carry On Up the Khyber of the British officers, immaculately dressed and eating a formal dinner as their cantonment is attacked and overrun by Afghans, would be one example. Talking about your honour or duty, and really anything to do with that more old-fashioned attitude became ripe for parody.

    On the other hand I have heard from some people that, unlikely as it sounds, among bankers in the City (until the Big Bang of 1986) your word was your bond. It was assumed that, as gentlemen, they would behave honestly, with decency, and keep their word. Since this was around the time that Wall Street was released, it's pretty clear that the Americans had a scornful view of this attitude by comparison to their "greed is good", no-holds-barred approach. That is one reason why it has died out - London was not competing with New York because people were not ruthless enough. The attitude was derided as being an antiquated obstacle to making money when in fact it was part of a finely balanced, tacit set of understandings which prevented anyone from taking too high a risk - a code of honour if you will.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    honor died out when the samurai were wiped out, they had it right, they had respect for their opponents and fought fairly where as these days its all about bombing our enemies not facing them one on one, all that is needed to be done these days is to pull a trigger or press a button, its as if a battle around the ancient times where honor and tradition still existed battles were about the two souls clashing, laid bare to see, skill won the battle, duty still exists such as fighting for freedom of our country yet during world wars they sent boys as young as 16 to fight where they could get gassed, shot and die in agony , all that just for land and power which is all war is about , however calling soldiers warriors is incorrect, a warrior acts on what he thinks is right whereas a soldier acts on orders true they are fighting and we hear a lot that soldiers get blown up or killed, if enemies had true honor and were real warriors then they wouldn't use such dirty underhanded tactics. honor is dead like the ones who followed it.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by B-FJL3)
    I never really accepted that idea, always found it a little too neat. It's bit of a myth in my opinion, that WWI "changed everything" and everyone's eyes were suddenly opened to this "lie" about dying for your country. Anyone who'd seen the aftermath of battles in the Boer War or Gettysburg in the US Civil War might arguably have felt the same way. Churchill's sentiments, following the battle of Omdurman, were along the same lines too... or Wellington, following Waterloo: "Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won". I don't think anyone was deceived about the violent and unpleasant side of warfare.

    What's more in WWII there was still honourable behaviour evident. For example, I've recently read an account by a German officer, taking part in the Blitzkrieg against France, swearing on his word of honour not to attack a French officer's unit, provided the French withdrew from the position by 7pm that evening. When a German colonel appeared on the scene and tried to override his orders and attack anyway, he held a gun to the colonel's head and told him he had given his word and would not have it broken.

    Another account I have read concerned the French Cavalry School at Saumur. The town & castle guarded several crossing points over the river Loire which the German 1st Cavalry Division (numbering approx. 10,000) aimed to seize. The only French troops at the castle were a few hundred half-trained officer cadets and their instructors. Officially France had surrendered by this point so they had no reason to fight bar the fact that, to them, surrender without a fight would have been dishonourable and therefore unthinkable. They defended the river crossings for two days, at the end of which, the German commander honoured their courage by allowing those he captured to march away to join the Free French.

    I might hazard a guess that it was more around the 60s/70s when change really set in. When in popular culture, people like Monty Python and the Carry On films were mocking the traditional way of doing things. The parody in Carry On Up the Khyber of the British officers, immaculately dressed and eating a formal dinner as their cantonment is attacked and overrun by Afghans, would be one example. Talking about your honour or duty, and really anything to do with that more old-fashioned attitude became ripe for parody.

    On the other hand I have heard from some people that, unlikely as it sounds, among bankers in the City (until the Big Bang of 1986) your word was your bond. It was assumed that, as gentlemen, they would behave honestly, with decency, and keep their word. Since this was around the time that Wall Street was released, it's pretty clear that the Americans had a scornful view of this attitude by comparison to their "greed is good", no-holds-barred approach. That is one reason why it has died out - London was not competing with New York because people were not ruthless enough. The attitude was derided as being an antiquated obstacle to making money when in fact it was part of a finely balanced, tacit set of understandings which prevented anyone from taking too high a risk - a code of honour if you will.
    I agree however WW1 was where the rot set in. There is little doubt about this. It had in fact recovered by the late 1920's in post WW1 boom. However the great depression and WW2 did for it. Particularly the east front and the genocide against the Jews. I also agree Americanisation has been a major issue as well, after WW2 America and Soviet Union were the major powers and they fought a number brutal proxy wars against one another where duty and honor didn't come into it. Americans are *******s to the frank. They used the USSR threat to destroy the European Empires, removing any threat to their power. You final economic point explains why duty and honor aren't in general cultural use anymore because of economic competition.

    I am going to attempt to bring it back through my own life. Who is with me?
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by william walker)
    I agree however WW1 was where the rot set in. There is little doubt about this. It had in fact recovered by the late 1920's in post WW1 boom. However the great depression and WW2 did for it. Particularly the east front and the genocide against the Jews. I also agree Americanisation has been a major issue as well, after WW2 America and Soviet Union were the major powers and they fought a number brutal proxy wars against one another where duty and honor didn't come into it. Americans are *******s to the frank. They used the USSR threat to destroy the European Empires, removing any threat to their power. You final economic point explains why duty and honor aren't in general cultural use anymore because of economic competition.

    I am going to attempt to bring it back through my own life. Who is with me?

    I take the point about economic concerns overriding honourable scruples, but perhaps that is only true for some sectors of society. Priests, the armed forces, journalists, sportsmen and other professions might still be said to have a tacit code... shall we say... of conduct, at the very least. Perhaps in jobs where you can be said to be following a calling, and are therefore less concerned with money, concepts of honour and duty are still present. Perhaps that has been the case all along, in fact, ever since notion arose out of the mediaeval code of chivalry.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by william walker)
    I have been re-watching Hornblower and Sharpe over Christmas and the new year. The thing I noticed was that duty and honor are used to constrain men in their conduct towards women and the institution in which they service. This then also is the case within the cultural and peoples day to day interactions.

    It seems to me duty and honor were killed off in WW1 and WW2 within Britain and replaced by tyrannical idea's like the social contract to replace duty and social justice to replace honor.

    This is a terrible thing as duty and honor constrained peoples actions independent of law, religion or government. I also noticed watching Sharpe's Challenge that the moral relativism and multi-culturalism had set in by 2006 from the original 14 episodes in the 1990's.
    Can I give you a clue - Sharpe and Hornblower aren't real.

    What differs between nations is the disciplinary code and philosophy of the individual armed forces.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    Can I give you a clue - Sharpe and Hornblower aren't real.

    What differs between nations is the disciplinary code and philosophy of the individual armed forces.
    Yeah but Duty and Honor were real and used within the culture of Britain.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by william walker)
    Yeah but Duty and Honor were real and used within the culture of Britain.
    Duty and honour in the context of a few blokes in the army. How do you know it's not any different? Why would soldiers in the time of the Regency be any different from those today? Do soldiers not have duty and honour now?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    Duty and honour in the context of a few blokes in the army. How do you know it's not any different? Why would soldiers in the time of the Regency be any different from those today? Do soldiers not have duty and honour now?
    When you say a few blokes in the army, that isn't really correct. It military was much larger than it is today and more people were involved in it. Include the aristocracy which for the most part ran the country. So duty and honor were part of the culture outside of the military.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by william walker)
    When you say a few blokes in the army, that isn't really correct. It military was much larger than it is today and more people were involved in it. Include the aristocracy which for the most part ran the country. So duty and honor were part of the culture outside of the military.
    I don't really get what you are saying. Let's say 200 years ago some guy joins the army. When he leaves - why would any sense of duty have any effect on his life outside the army? What makes it any different today? Some officers are still from the aristocracy or at least the landed gentry - especially in the cavalry or guards.

    So you're saying that there was a sense of duty and honour in the army 200 years ago, but not now? This is somehow related to the size of the army?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    I don't really get what you are saying. Let's say 200 years ago some guy joins the army. When he leaves - why would any sense of duty have any effect on his life outside the army? What makes it any different today? Some officers are still from the aristocracy or at least the landed gentry - especially in the cavalry or guards.

    So you're saying that there was a sense of duty and honour in the army 200 years ago, but not now? This is somehow related to the size of the army?
    I am saying that because the numbers of people employed in the armed forces duty and honor had a much greater prevalence within the culture, so the every day lives of people. Not the mention the aristocracy which ran the nation had duty and honor inbuilt within it over the centuries.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    I think more people realised that duty and honour shouldn't get in the way of their doing the right thing.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
    I think more people realised that duty and honour shouldn't get in the way of their doing the right thing.
    Or the wrong thing, as is normally the case.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by william walker)
    I am saying that because the numbers of people employed in the armed forces duty and honor had a much greater prevalence within the culture, so the every day lives of people. Not the mention the aristocracy which ran the nation had duty and honor inbuilt within it over the centuries.
    I think you're making all this up. The number of people in the Army wasn't really that much more during the Napoleonic Wars than in the 1970s. Certainly during the World Wars the army size was greater by many orders.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by B-FJL3)
    I never really accepted that idea, always found it a little too neat. It's bit of a myth in my opinion, that WWI "changed everything" and everyone's eyes were suddenly opened to this "lie" about dying for your country. Anyone who'd seen the aftermath of battles in the Boer War or Gettysburg in the US Civil War might arguably have felt the same way. Churchill's sentiments, following the battle of Omdurman, were along the same lines too... or Wellington, following Waterloo: "Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won". I don't think anyone was deceived about the violent and unpleasant side of warfare.

    What's more in WWII there was still honourable behaviour evident. For example, I've recently read an account by a German officer, taking part in the Blitzkrieg against France, swearing on his word of honour not to attack a French officer's unit, provided the French withdrew from the position by 7pm that evening. When a German colonel appeared on the scene and tried to override his orders and attack anyway, he held a gun to the colonel's head and told him he had given his word and would not have it broken.

    Another account I have read concerned the French Cavalry School at Saumur. The town & castle guarded several crossing points over the river Loire which the German 1st Cavalry Division (numbering approx. 10,000) aimed to seize. The only French troops at the castle were a few hundred half-trained officer cadets and their instructors. Officially France had surrendered by this point so they had no reason to fight bar the fact that, to them, surrender without a fight would have been dishonourable and therefore unthinkable. They defended the river crossings for two days, at the end of which, the German commander honoured their courage by allowing those he captured to march away to join the Free French.

    I might hazard a guess that it was more around the 60s/70s when change really set in. When in popular culture, people like Monty Python and the Carry On films were mocking the traditional way of doing things. The parody in Carry On Up the Khyber of the British officers, immaculately dressed and eating a formal dinner as their cantonment is attacked and overrun by Afghans, would be one example. Talking about your honour or duty, and really anything to do with that more old-fashioned attitude became ripe for parody.

    On the other hand I have heard from some people that, unlikely as it sounds, among bankers in the City (until the Big Bang of 1986) your word was your bond. It was assumed that, as gentlemen, they would behave honestly, with decency, and keep their word. Since this was around the time that Wall Street was released, it's pretty clear that the Americans had a scornful view of this attitude by comparison to their "greed is good", no-holds-barred approach. That is one reason why it has died out - London was not competing with New York because people were not ruthless enough. The attitude was derided as being an antiquated obstacle to making money when in fact it was part of a finely balanced, tacit set of understandings which prevented anyone from taking too high a risk - a code of honour if you will.
    Ww1 tends to get re interpreted. The end of the Great War ws a time to celebrate . We won etc etc.

    But their is a belief that it killed of a lot of the artisan skills used in te. Countryside and ushered in industriation due to the high death rates
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: January 8, 2015
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brexit voters: Do you stand by your vote?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.