Title: Carnage and Cultrue
Author: Victor Davis Hanson
Scholars sometimes compare Alexander (the Great) to Caesar, Hannibal, or Napoleon, who likewise by sheer will and innate military genius sought empire far beyond what their own native resources might otherwise allow. There are affinities with each; but an even better match would be Adolf Hitler—a sickening comparison that will no doubt shock and disturb most classicists and philhellenes.
Hitler similarly engineered a brilliant but brutal march eastward during the summer and fall of 1941. Both he and Alexander were singular military geniuses of the West, who realized that their highly mobile corps of shock troops were like none the world and seen. Both were self acclaimed mystics, intent on loot and plunder under the guise of emissaries bringing western “culture” to the East and “freeing” oppressed peoples from a corrupt, centralized Asian empire.
History calls Alexander an emissary of world government and a visionary, while it rightly sees Hitler as a deranged and deadly monster. Had Alexander died at the Granicus on his entry into Asia (his head was almost cleaved in two by an enemy cavalryman) and had Hitler’s Panzers not stalled a few miles outside Moscow in December 1941, a few historians might consider the Macedonian merely an unbalanced megalomaniac whose insane ambitions ended in a muddy stream near the Hellespont, and the latter a savage but omnipotent conqueror who through brilliant decisive battles vanquished Stalin’s brutal communist empire.
History is, of course, written by the victors.