Monday, September 2, 2013

AUGUST WAR MOVIE LEADERSHIP WATCHALONG: Lawrence of Arabia



1.  What characteristics of a great military leader did Lawrence have?

         Based on the movie, the most obvious characteristic is inspirational motivation.  The man oozed charisma.  His magnetic personality even brought disparate tribes under his sway.  He also showed a lot of moral courage.  This is the ability to send men to their deaths for the greater cause,  he exemplified this when he executed his friend in order to prevent a blood feud and the disintegration of the alliance.

        Although it's not always a good idea for a leader to do this, Lawrence certainly believed in leading by example.  He was in the front of the raids on the railway.  This was crucial in gaining the respect of his Arab warriors.  His willingness to endure what his men endured has the same effect.  In fact, Lawrence went beyond anything his men had to endure.

2.  What were his weaknesses as a commander?

        Lawrence got too personally involved in his cause.  He was torn between his home country and his dream of a new Arab nation.  This led to tremendous feelings of guilt when it turned out the dream was quashed by Britain's self-interest.

       Lawrence is reminiscent of Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now" in that he went native and it had a destabilizing effect on him.  He does not go insane like Kurtz did, but instead he is distressed by being caught between two worlds.  In a sense, Lawrence showed moral courage in his command decisions, but not personally.  He never fully committed to either world. 

September:  Letters from Iwo Jima

What leadership characteristics did General Kuribayashi exhibit?      

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