Although incalculable, due to conflicting sources of information, a rough estimate of casualties of World War II left the number of the deceased at fifty-six million (Burns and Ward). Subsequently, the result of the Trojan War left four and a half million Greeks dead and more than seven million Trojans (The Golden Age of Myth and Legend). Men from both sides of the historical spectrum fought and died without knowing that both wars are related to each other indirectly due to the imperialistic thirst for power. While the causes of war reflect one another, the methods, styles, and weaponry of warfare differ tremendously due to the advances in technology by the time of World War II. These advances pertain not to the sociological aspect, however, suggest that time is the most indifferent variable when it comes to the pro-active and reactive actions of societies at large.
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The primary cause of the Trojan War can be linked to a number of different reasons. One argument states the cause of the war as Helen’s betrayal of Sparta; the Spartan queen that fell in love with the prince of Troy (Homer). Another side persist the reason for the beginning of the war as Agamemnon’s desire for power, which stretched as far as wanting to control the Trojan Empire. The war’s battlefield took place in almost all accounts right outside the walls of Troy. Troy was located across the sea from the Greek city-state of Sparta on the coast of Asia. This was a sandy, dry terrain, which made fighting conditions worse. The last battle in the Trojan War took place at night inside the city of Troy, where the notorious horse operation took place. The gods also played a huge role in assuming the role of moral compass for society at large. Both sides believed the gods would not let them lose the great battle of Troy. The story explains that the leader of the gods, Zeus, let the gods and goddesses take the side of their own choice. Religious influence was also made eminent through the twelve day burial processes of both the Trojans and the Greeks (Homer).
While World War II did not feature any type of Helen, it did feature the want for more power and land. Hitler of Germany, whose ruthlessness is comparable to Agamemnon, held an urge for more which triggered events that preluded World War II. The idea of selfishness and greed is a major theme seen just as it was during the Trojan War. Symptoms such as nationalism, imperialism, racism, militarism, and fascism all contributed to the war. In both wars, the death of millions of people is contributed to one man’s want for more. At first glance, it seems apparent that some of the causes of World War II are remarkably similar to those of the Trojan War.
The Trojan War included weapons such as swords, spears, bow and arrow, and javelins. The warriors equipped with these weapons learned and mastered each one. As with every battle, the situation decided the weapon being used. In close quarter combat, the sword was the weapon of use. It required its handler to be very quick and agile. The javelin, spear, and bow and arrow were used for distance. These weapons required precision and a steady hand. One of the heavy more advanced weapons during the Trojan War was the catapult. The catapult was used to take out large numbers of soldiers and destroy the enemy fortress. Dead bodies were also thrown into the enemy’s fortress to spread disease and bring down morale. The weapons used during World War II include the submachine gun, action rifle, grenades, pistols, snipers, and many other gun types. The soldiers in this war were not near as versatile as the Trojan soldiers. Soldiers were usually assigned and taught every aspect to a specific weapon. On the front lines of combat, submachine guns were the issued weapons. The submachine gun was not very accurate from a distance but was effective in killing large numbers quickly. The action rifle was a weapon that took much more accuracy than the machine gun. It was effective in midrange warfare but at great distances lost accuracy. In contrast to the Trojan bow and arrow was the sniper rifle. Only those with the most precise shot and steady hand could obtain the job as sniper. It could hit its target from hundreds of yards away without even entering the field of battle. One weapon that was very significant in WWII was the grenade. The grenade was used for both killing and for a soldier’s safety. The grenade was a time released bomb which gave soldiers time to retreat safely before detonation, but had the power to kill a small group of soldiers. The two heavy duty weapons of war were the tank and atomic bomb; both were much more deadly than the Trojan catapult. The tank was mainly used to destroy the enemy’s stronghold, while the atomic bombs only purpose was to kill in mass quantities (World War Two Weapons). Weapons used during WWII are obviously far more technologically advanced than those used during the Trojan War, but the symbolism is the fact that both sets of weapons were the most advanced of its time. Both WWII and the Trojan War advanced the cause to kill the common enemy.
Two very useful tactics of both the Trojan War and WWII was the element of surprise and deceit. This is clearly seen in the story of the Trojan horse. The walls of Troy were thought to be impenetrable. After ten years of off and on battle with the Trojans, the Greeks still could not get past the walls of the great city. Then one day a warrior of the Greeks known as Odysseus, hatched a plan to infiltrate the city of Troy and bring the war to an end by conquest. The intelligent Greek came up with the idea to construct a giant wooden horse. The horse was meant to be used as a trick. The idea was to convince the Trojans into believing that the mighty horse was an offering for the goddess Athena. The Greeks pleaded that the horse was meant to please Athena for the stealing of her image from Troy. On the Trojan shore the horse was left for the Trojans to later discover. Inside the great horse were the Greeks most skilled and feared warriors. When the Trojans emerged from behind the city walls to investigate the horse they met a Greek named Sinon. His job was to convince the Trojans that he had escaped from the Greeks and to take the offering as gift to Athena inside the city walls. After much debate from the royalty of Troy, they decide to accept the offering. After arriving inside the great walls of Troy the Greeks waited for nightfall. Once it became dark the Greeks broke from the belly of the horse and conquered the city of Troy (The Trojan Horse). It is these acts of surprise and deception that won the battle for the brilliant Greeks.
The trait of deception can also be seen in many ways during the battle of WWII. In the battle known as D-Day or the Battle of Normandy, the use of trickery was seen at its peak. On the day the beaches of Normandy were invaded among the thousands of allied troops was a small unit known as the Ghost Army. This unit was a top secret group of about one thousand special soldiers whose only purpose was to deceive the enemy. They were among the frontlines of soldiers and easily seen from aerial view. When enemy planes flew over they saw what seemed to be hundreds of allied tanks and vehicles. They also thought they had intercepted confirmation that there were two American divisions in the area. What were actually on the ground were ninety three pound inflatable rubber decoys. The decoys looked like just like armored vehicles from the aerial view. The radio message was designed to be intercepted; thus convincing the enemy of what they had seen earlier. The ghost army would even send trucks through town with the division’s numbers and insignia on it. These genius plans made what were actually one thousand men appear to be twenty to thirty thousand. The plans design was not to kill the enemy but to save lives. This deception did not directly win the war this played a major impact in the style of battle and the outcome of the Normandy invasion (Artists of Deception: Fooling the Enemy During WWII).
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While the women and children remained at home, men of a certain age and older were sent off to war to kill or be killed under an attempt at gaining “lof,”or the twentieth century version, honor. Women assisted in both wars. They managed the home front with the men gone, and participated in roles to assist the men, be it espionage or caretaking (Bell). After all, it was almost necessary for them to do so. Certainly in the Trojan War and in some countries involved in WWII, extra action had to be taken by the civilians to keep order (Hull). The two wars are far separated by time, yet certain behaviors and agents of the wars resemble each other (A Prose Anthrology of the Second World War).
The effects of both wars are monumentally costly to the human race. Years during and after, people suffered with disease, starvation, disability, and trauma from the war that tore mostly everyone’s lives apart. Both wars sported weapons that were the most advanced of its time. In reference to the tribal warrior, the deadliest weapons were the best weapons. The roles of the men to fight, and the women to take care of the home front in both scenarios exemplify that human nature flaunts similar behaviors throughout time. History shows as technology advances so will the weapons for warfare. As the saying goes, “History repeats itself” and from the evidence of previous wars to recent wars the saying remains true. Nevertheless, the result of warfare will always be detrimental to the soldiers, soldiers’ family, and country. While the causes of the war reflect one another, the methods, styles, and weaponry differ tremendously because of advances in technology by the time of World War II. These advances pertain not to the sociological aspect, however, suggest that time is the most indifferent variable when it comes to the pro-active and reactive actions of societies at large.
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