What's the signficant, history of "goose-stepping" armies?

North Korea does. So does China, Libya, the former USSR, Nazi Germany, and Saddam’s Iraq.

Is goose-stepping only associated with autocratic regimes of the left and right? If so, what other countries have their miitary parade units goose-step?

When did this ceremonial march first appear–and what is its symbolic relevance?

Also, given the likely high-impact on a soldier’s feet, about how far can such a military parade unit march? (I’m guessing Dr. Scholl’s foot inserts aren’t standard issue.)

I dunno.

The Saudis step off with a goose step and then march normally. Frankly, I have tried it, I am no longer flexible enough to lift my leg that high.

I recall seeing ceremonial guards in Athens goosestepping

In dresses! The Worst-Case Scenario!

The Jan. 29, 2003, edition of Slate’s ``The Gist’’ column cites historian Norman Davies as saying the goose step originated with the Prussian army in the 17th century.

ISTR reading somewhere recently that it was used by the British army during the period of the Napoleonic wars and this was the inspiration for its adoption by the Wehrmacht. Can’t remember where that was, but a quick web search turned up a mention of the goose step in a Rudyard Kipling verse (Back to the Army Again,'' first stanza, last line: An’ I’m learnin’ the damned old goose-step along o’ the new recruits!’’).

Bit off-topic, but can anyone give the etymology of the term goose-step? I’ve never seen a goose walk like that and I’ve shot plenty of them.

After the Prussians adopted/invented it, the Soviets picked it up in the aftermath of WWI. From there it spread to the world’s big leftist nations.

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

I suspect it comes from the second definition, but I know I always step a little higher when I get poked between the buttocks with an upward thrust.


You shoot walking gooses?

I doubt they’re walking after he shoots them.

Will look for the book so as to provide a cite, but I read that the Prussian Army was the first to institute what we would call physical fitness training. Goose stepping was part of it; it was supposed to strengthen the abdominal and leg muscles. The Prussians were the big badasses of their day, so other armies aped them. Goose stepping hangs on today, perhaps, as an echo of that.

I came across a reference to recruit training in the Soviet Army (probably in one of Victor Suvarov’s books), which said that it was difficult to teach a recruit how to do the goose-step - it was handled by assigning an experienced soldier to each recruit to do one-on-one training for several days.

The link of “goose steps” to stiff-legged marching has been around for a while. The nursery rhyme “Goosy, goosy, gander, whither do you wander” is reliably supposed to refer to Cromwell’s dragoons in the English Civil War. Dragoons and other heavy cavalry of the horse & musket period usually wore high stiff boots that came above the knee and protected the leg against sword cuts, but made walking awkward. I have never seen a goose in the flesh, so don’t know how apt the comparison is, but the link dates back to when geese would have been familiar to the average person.

While goose-stepping seems to be closely linked to highly militaristic societies, presumably because the people in charge see it as a visible indication of military might, I have to say it seems pretty silly to me when I see it. It is especially comic-opera on appearance when it’s done by only one or two soldiers, like the Soviet honour guards marching around memorials. Maybe there is an element of “Look how firmly disciplined our soldiers are. We can make them do silly walks in public with a straight face!” at work.

Anybody ever notice that there tends to be different types of military goose-stepping?

IIRC, the Nazi version was stereotypically Germanic in its precision, but also rather unadorned. By contrast, I’ve seen some militaries on parade (can’t recall which) that incorporated something of a swagger (or half-bounce) into each high step, making for a rather interesting fascistic variation.

I might add that synchronizing the movements of hundreds of goose-stepping soldiers must be a choreographic nightmare. Even the slightest differences in timing, height, or foot placement would be easily seen from a reviewing stand. (Anyone who has marched in a school band, Nazi or no, knows this.)

Do any democracies today goose-step, or did Hitler pretty much put the kibosh on that expression?

Also: Are the terms “goose-stepping” and “jack-booting” synonymous?

This site on the history of marching has some information:

So the English form of the drill basically refers to marching in place, or what we now call marking time. It’s a bit easier to see how this relates to the walk of a goose, since a goose doesn’t move very fast - marking time seems a bit like waddling. It’s not clear from this how the term became attached to the Prussian step.

The object of the goose-step would seem to be to showhow highly disciplined the troops must be to be able to march in such an unnatural fashion. This also helps to explain its appeal to totalitarian regimes.

Side note to this… Only referring to the german army of WW2 since im not sure of others but theres an intimidation factor too… All their boots had hobnails on the bottom of them… 2 feet times 5000 men marching down the stone road Im sure you can hear them pretty damn far away and loud… Just a thought… Anyhoo.

Do geese have knees?

I’ll throw this into the ring for consideration:

Would a certain marching beat be two slow to facilitate a goosestep? I mean, IIRC, the US military marches at 120 beats per minute. Kinda hard to do a goosestep at that pace without kicking the guy in front of you in the ass.

Or possibly it’s the other way around, now that I think of it. Don’t kick a guy in the ass, and you can march/maneuver faster. Add that to the fact that you yourself won’t have a sore ass. . .

Honestly, I’m serious here. Would it be due to music styles of each nation’s military?

Just a thought.

I’m sorry. . . make that too fast.

No doubt. Have you ever seen John Cleese do his Hitler-doing-the-Goose-Step impersonation? Probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.