National Anthems too militaristic (esp. USA, UK, Irish)?


What’s with all the rockets and bombs? And the notion that combat is gallant instead of an evil to be avoided at all costs.

UK (2nd verse):

How about, instead of scattering her enemies and frustrating their knavish tricks, she try to come to some understanding with them so that all concerned can live in peace and harmony?

And the worst of all,

Ireland (3rd verse):

Out and out violent. And unlike the other two actually names a specific foe - the “saxon” - as if that is to be the foe for all time to come. It would be like the UK anthem naming “the hun” because there have been a couple of wars with them in the past.

What’s the problem with being more optimistic and hoping for a better time ahead when traditional foes are no longer foes?

Likewise Flower of Scotland:

The original Australian (before they changed it)

I started reading Egypt’s and had high hopes but then after several verses of how nice Egypt is, we get this:

My purpose is to repel the enemy? Shouldn’t your purpose be not to have any enemies.

I despair. The lunatics are in charge of the world.

And the wussies are pretending to be judges of historical music.

You are a Guest, so I will refrain from replying as I want to, which would be to drag this straight to the Pit. My suggestion is that you go back to eating your tofu and hugging your tree, and let the adults handle things. M,kay?

It’s nothing to do with historical music. Historical music is nice. I don’t understand why countries feel the need to “big up” their fighting prowess in their anthems.

And Silenius feel free to say what you want, I can handle it.

Like it or not, most countries were either founded as a result of violent upheaval, or at least have defended themselves against invasion by, you know, enemies.

In some cases surely it’s because the anthem grew out of a revolutionary experience (eg France, the USA)?

I’ve no problem with revolutionary music or rebel songs * before or during the actual revolution* but once you’ve had the revolution, shouldn’t you be thinking about moving on?

Combat is “an evil to be avoided at all costs”? Tell that to the soldiers that fought the Axis during WWII. The soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and every other war for freedom. The Irish who fought against the occupying forces.

There is a reason for war. It’s not always just, but are you supposed to allow tyranny because fighting and dying for a cause is “an evil to be avoided at all costs”?

You’re very young, aren’t you?

It has quite a lot to do with historical music and historical sentiments; most anthems aren’t all that recent, and some may appear a little anachronistic as a result.

Most of the examples you gave are more about stating a grim determination to defend the native land (against real or hypothetical invaders), rather than a generic “bigging up” of military might… and if I recall correctly, the 2nd verse of God Save the Queen is very rarely used these days. :slight_smile:

Also, if you are going to assert that some Anthems are too militaristic, it’s no fair using the pre-changed Aussie one as a cite, is it?

The US anthem isn’t bragging about fighting prowess. the bombs and rockets were being fired at the americans, not by them. Maybe you don’t see the distinction, but the song is about the resolve of the besieged americans, not a celebration of shock and awe.

Combat “evil?” The notion that this is a default of some sort shows that the OP is very young, very sheltered, and is likely to come to a bad end. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. And the notion that a country or a society could continue to exist without the gallant service of rough people willing to do rough things is naive to the extreme.

Oh, and can’t pass this one up… you do know that the Star Spangled Banner is about the successful **defence **(or should I say, in deference to the US Dopers, defense) of Fort McHenry against British navy ships during the War of 1812? The rockets and bombs being what the fleet lobbed at the fort for over 24 hours. And in the morning the defenders raised a large flag, showing that they were undefeated, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the “Defence of Fort McHenry” which was later set to music and became the US anthem.

Gallant may mean “spirited” or “brave”, and a brave defence doesn’t seem to me to be automatically oxymoronic.

Violent national anthems are the best. I have the SDMB to thank for educating me about “Kong Christian” (officially a royal anthem), the bloodiest one out there.

You neglected La Marseillaise, which mentions the “bloody standard.”

“Men of Harlech,” one of those “should-be” anthems, mentions the Saxon foemen too. That’s because the Saxons were generally assholes.

Peaceful anthems are mostly boring. “Advance Australia Fair”? Yawn.

Those three aren’t squat for militarism if you compare it to La Marsellaise.

The refrain is (translated into English):

To arms, citizens!
Form your battalions!
Let’s march, let’s march!
May a tainted blood
Soak our furrows!
To arms, citizens!
Let us form our battalions!
Let us march, let us march!
May their tainted blood
Soak our furrows!

You forgot “May their tainted blood, Soak our furrows!:slight_smile:

*I see Bump beat me to it. * :slight_smile:

For unyeilding selfishness, how about the Cat National Anthem?

The Cat National Anthem is not violent. It doesn’t need to be. If another country threatens Catonia’s sovereignty, they just threaten to tie the president to a chair and play their anthem nonstop until the president is a gibbering mess or the other country backs down.

I’m not young, I just haven’t had all my hope and optimism ground out of me yet. I still look for a brighter dawn eg:

Yes combat is evil. Do you think that combat is good and should be sought out wherever possible?

I guess it’s a good thing nobody ever sings all four verses of the Star-Spangled Banner anymore. Someone already quoted from verse four, but the intermediate verses includes such gems as

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.

And bear in mind this is the British we’re talking about, whom these days we actually quite like. God only knows what the song would say if it were about the Nazis.