• Jack Belden


You can take your physical courage, but give me resolution, staunchness, firmness every time. It undoubtedly is a hard and difficult thing to climb into a bomber and run down upon the enemy. Yet what does it require? Once you are in the plane, you can’t get out again; you have to go on. For a man in such a position, one “outpouring of the forces of the soul” will sometimes suffice to do the job. One run upon the target, one soul-stirring charge and it’s all over. One admires the flash and dash of the charge, but is it not a thing that hundreds of thousands of men could do? And what strength of character is required? How many times have we seen bold men in inferior positions lose all their resolution when raised to a higher position! How greatly courageous is the rank and file of the American Army! Yet look in the upper brackets of both the British and the American Armies and see if you do not see men hypnotized by “security” and showing little of that bold resolution that characterized them as younger officers. Yes, courage of the moment is a trifling, vulgar quality, requiring little from intelligence. And, to turn again to von Clausewitz, “men of little intelligence can never be resolute in our sense of the word. In difficult situations they may act without hesitation, but they do so then without reflection, and a man who acts without reflection is not, of course, torn asunder by doubts.”


Bitter Resistance Inferior Position Young Officer Scared Mass Combat Soldier 
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© Jack Belden 1944

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  • Jack Belden

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