- Posted May 31, 2014 by
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Joan of Arc – the greatest military leader in all human history
During that chaos, a young girl age 15-16 emerged from Orleans France. With no formal military or religious education she claimed to have been given “divine instructions” to lead the French Army to victory.
In a rather unprecedented move Charles the VII allowed her to command troops in the field.
To everyone’s shock, she scored a series of decisive military victories over the English.
News spread rapidly about this little girl, with a face like an angel, who spent most of her time in prayer and supplication, and with each new victory she gained in reputation.
The men under her command were absolutely loyal to her and fought fanatically on the battlefield.
Somehow, no one is quite sure how exactly this little girl managed to take the French Army, which was on the verge of total collapse and secure a series of successive military victories against overwhelming military odds.
She was eventually and tragically betrayed and captured by the English who subjected her to unspeakable torture and abuse that culminated in brutal interrogation and a show trial.
In one instance her interrogators asked her is she was in God’s grace? A trick question really – if she answered yes she would be labeled as a heretic. If she answered no – she was in effect admitting guilt and would be labeled a fraud.
Either way , it was clearly understood at the time she couldn’t win.
Her response absolutely stunned her audience: “If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am may God so keep me.” The court notary in official records wrote “Those who were interrogating her were stupefied.” This didn’t stop them from burning her at the stake. A horrific way to die!
Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Remi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Today Joan of Arc remains an enigmatic figure.
A person adored by millions and worshiped as a saint. She is also perhaps the greatest military leader in all human history.
Sadly they don’t study Joan of Arc at West Point or any of the military service academies in the United States.
I can’t really figure out why?
I suppose this has to do with the fact that she was a teenage girl from France and a religious figure. In addition military leaders in the United States who teach courses in military history and doctrine often overlook her contributions to shaping world events.
Perhaps they are embarrassed by the fact that she had no formal military training of any kind.
But there is no question in my mind at least that she was brilliant in her strategy and tactics on the battlefield and we can learn a lot by studying her.