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Following "The Paradoxes of War" on Coursera.

Oleksiy Fesenko, September 16, 2017

Battle of Somme: Atrocities.

    Atrocities are the indispensable part of any war, the soldiers usually avoid discussing war through the cruelties, and the websites mark content as 12+, but the physical witnesses can see the atrocities live without a limitation to the age. The battle of Somme was the example of human murder and had totaled of 1 million deaths.  This battle took place in Europe between the British-French and German Armies in 1916. The gain of the campaign, which lasted 141 days, was the 6 square miles of the territory: the senseless, brutal, and contrary to moral battle.

    The interactive episode "Our World War" (BBC, n.d.) sends the readers back to those events breaking the outcome of the battle into the tactics and morale. Not everything that tactically approved can be moral. For example, the participants of the battle have to shoot even if they may not have been sure who was ahead, enemy, civilian or even their brothers in arms. In most cases, during the campaigns, the shoot into the head can be the most acceptable resolution on the fate of the prisoners. The large battles consist of the smaller campaigns, and of the little episodes. No matter what the scale of the war is and what the duration, the tactical requirement in most cases override the moral; therefore, all the wars are attritive.


BBC. (n.d.). Our World War: Interactive Episode. Retrieved from

Legion: Cohesion

Legion is the post phalanx Roman formation had adopted from the phalanx the structure of a maniple. Because of its advanced organization, legion could maximize a military capacity of the phalanx. The Legion structure streamlined the constant supplies of the freshmen to the frontline of the battle. The cohort was so cohesive that could cut the formation of an enemy and brake it. When the Carthaginians’ army deliberately bent the center back in a battle at Cannae (Wikipedia, n.d.), the Roman army has gradually lost the initial formation. That change in strategy affected the cohesion by prolonging the formation of the Romans. At Cannae, the more cohesive army received the victory: in what elements?

No doubt, that early formation of Romans had the cutting edge in maintaining the forward pressure. The early maniples consisted of the tree rows with the less professional soldiers at the front and more experienced at the back, preventing any strategic design. At the same time, the Carthaginians were the multilayered and diverse professionals, with the multitasking capabilities.   The other important factor was the social cohesion of the legion, as different classes of citizens formed the rows. Carthaginians opposed ethnically, and culturally cohesive diverse units. Next, the Romans arms cohesion was inferior because they used different arms: they brought the arms in on their own. There is no strong evidence that Hannibal equipped its army identically, but his tactical flexibility gives the guess. As a result, Marius reformed the Roman army after 107 B.C. While the early legions were rigid and cohesive units, the later (Barton, 2016) could maintain even higher cohesion and flexibility at the same time. The elements of the new level of cohesion were the tactical cohesion – the uniform structure of the legions, the social cohesion – the professional army, and the arm cohesion – the uniform arms.


Barton, C. (2016). THE MILITARY REFORMS OF MARIUS. Presentation. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Battle of Cannae. Retrieved from

 Dehumanization: Milgram

From the convincing examples on the Net and the Milgram experiment, the obedient human nature and well-engineered violence caused such human tragedies as the Holocaust, famine in Ukraine 1932-1933, concentration camps of the WWII, regarded as dehumanizing. Dehumanization follows the philosophical principle when a person employed as a means to somebody’s ends resembles the cruel experiment. The conditions of the Milgram experiment employed the random statistics appear convincing. However, by the closer look, the Milgram experiment was not moral and deceptive. In real life, the conditions of the experiment had been dehumanizing often merge to the history of the genocide, wars, human tragedies.

Why was the experiment violating the human rights? Mostly because the participants gave their concern to memory study experiment instead of the obedience experiment. In boiler-room conditions, they were unable to assess the risks of the experiment and the ethical consequences. They did not provide their informed concern. These conditions were dehumanizing. I am Ukrainian will provide the example of the Famine in Ukraine of 1932-1933 (Fesenko, July 2017). The sad events looming like this evil ghost, counting on dehumanization and killing, on different estimates, of 10 million of Ukrainians – ten times more than in the battle of Somme. The Soviets had issued a decree to expropriate the food, property of the land farmers, calling them kulaks and ‘spiders.’ The killing of the kulaks-spiders has nothing to do with morality. Killing a spider even not a sin. The participants did not have autonomy in the experiment, did not know about the conditions of the experiment, could not guess about the benefits and damage as a consequence of the experiment of Famine in Ukraine. Finally, especially the "defaulting party" could not give their consent to this experiment. Presently Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (HHS, 1979) provide the ethics guidelines during an experiment, however, is still missing the link to the practice of dehumanization and de-legitimation (Fesenko, June 2017)  in the society.


HHS. (April 18, 1979).The Belmont Report. Office of the Secretary Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research

Fesenko, O. (July 2017). The History of One Family: Holodomor 1932 - 1933. Retrieved from

Fesenko, O. (June 29, 2017). The Technological and Complex Intrusion into Ukrainian Defense and Civil Life: The Socio-Psychological Dimension.

Wikipedia. (2017).Dehumanization. Retrieved from