The year is 1942. At night he sleeps under his tank, wrapped in a light blanket. But then it is still only autumn. In the morning he washes in cold icy water, polishes his boots, oils his Mauser, and talks to his men, before they resume their journey, further East.
They worship him. He is a decorated hero, and hates the thugs who rule his country, and have sent them all to war, in this immensity. Yet he is a member of an elite caste: an officer, a knight. He wears his iron cross with pride, as his father has done before him.
He looks at the map. Only 100km from Stalingrad.
A prisoner of war, after Paulus’ s surrender, he will die in Siberia, of cold and starvation.
So doomed knights fade into the night.
General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the German Sixth Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“The Kamikaze (神風?, literally: “God wind”; common translation: “Divine wind”) [kamikaꜜze] ( listen), official name: Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (特別攻撃隊?), Tokkō Tai (特攻隊?), or Tokkō (特攻?), were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of thePacific campaign of World War II” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze
Often we talked about them. What it takes to commit, to the certain death, the annihilation. You think they were like those ancient knights, confronted by treacherous archery: brave and hopeless, lost, doomed to be massacred. I feel different about the Kamikaze: they anticipated our age, of suicide bombers, of human beings willing to sacrifice everything to a cause we do not understand, or refuse to understand. They were not behind, but ahead of their time, not only ready to die, but also, while they lived, a poignant proof of the absurdity of war.