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Sempach und Winkelried by Bruno Meyer
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Sempach und Winkelried

by Bruno Meyer

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A short study born out of the author's frustration about the 500th anniversary proceedings about the battle of Sempach. The official commemorative publication made do without including a military history aspect. The dominant lefty university professors of history consider all military history icky, while the go-to guy in this matter, Walter Schaufelberger, thought the sources to be too much of a mess for an extended study. The author of this study fills this gap by an elaborate discussion of the sources, which more or less confirm the common account of the battle: The Swiss awaiting the Austrian attack, a moment of crisis that could have gone either way, a Swiss breakthrough that triggered the Austrian Duke Leopold to vainly charge into the battle that cost him his life.

The second part of the study about mythical national hero Winkelried is much less convincing. While it is highly likely that someone first broke the Austrian wall of spears, we lack a contemporary source of the deed. Meyer's main argument of the Winkelried's deed is that other families would have disputed the man's claim. How can anyone dispute something that didn't happen? Claiming silence as acquiescence doesn't work in court. Neither does it in history. I deem the standard explanation that the myth was created only in the 15th century much more plausible. ( )
  jcbrunner | Oct 2, 2011 |
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