When Wars Are Lost, People Commit Suicide
I can see how after a long war, when the final battle to save your way of life is over and all is lost, that somehow it could be more dignified to end one’s life, than to face the humiliation of defeat. To the victor go the spoils. All throughout human history, suicides occur en masse after wars are over. Let’s look at a few bizarre examples from the vault, shall we.
April 30, 1975 – Saigon, South Vietnam
After a 20 year battle to defeat the communist north, the South Vietnamese Army is in disarray and in retreat. The big shot leaders have all high-tailed it to the airport and are leaving the country. The war is over and soldiers are deserting.
When Saigon finally fell to the communists in Black April, 5 generals and countless other officers, soldiers and civilians committed suicide rather than face decades of imprisonment in NVA “re-education” camps. General Le Nguyen Vy was one of them:
Brigadier General Vy was the last Commanding General of the 5th Division. He committed suicide rather than face the humiliation of surrendering to the enemy at the Headquaters of the 5th Division in Lai Khe on April 30, 1975.
Some Vietnamese officers and civilians killed their entire families, then killed themselves, but only after one last family meal and prayer session together.
June 17, 1865 – Virginia, USA
The Civil War is over. The Confederacy (of Dunces) lost. The hardcore rebels were not going to tolerate Yankee rule. Rich planter and plantation owner, Edmund Ruffin, was one of them.
On June 17, 1865, Ruffin went up to his study with a rifle and a forked stick. He paused to add to his diary a final malediction against “the perfidious Yankee people.” Then he was called away to greet visitors who had arrived at the front door. After they left, Ruffin returned to his study and wrote a final diary entry:
- And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will [be] near to my latest breath, I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race.
Immediately after writing this, Ruffin put the rifle muzzle in his mouth and used the forked stick to manipulate the trigger. The percussion cap went off without firing the rifle, and the noise alerted Ruffin’s daughter-in-law. But by the time she and his son reached his room, Ruffin had already reloaded the rifle and fired a fatal shot.
Spring/May, 1945 – Leipzig, Germany
World War 2 in Europe is almost over. The Allies are running all over Germany capturing cities and villages, arresting Nazis and other officials. One such city was Leipzig. The deputy mayor, his wife and daughter all killed themselves by taking poison. Thousands of Germans committed suicide in the spring of 1945, rather than face occupation and the expected abuse by their victors.
The spoils of war… as old as mankind itself.