This movie documents the life and exploits of Simon Bolivar, quite possibly, one of the most influential figures in the history of the South American continents struggle to be free of the Spanish Empire in the 19th Century. Although this movie is not so much about Guerilla Warfare per se, I included it because I feel it is important for the student of Military History and GW to understand how the struggle to be free of COLONIAL powers all across the globe was the “spark” that often ignited Guerilla insurgencies, such as The Boer War, The Malaysian Emergency and the Algerian Civil War. The majority of the movie is in Spanish or French with English sub-titles.
Not withstanding the man was a murdering Communist POS, Guevara represents an integral part of the history of the evolution of Guerilla Warfare. His manual, Guerilla Warfare, published in 1969 and mostly drawing from his experiences during the Cuban Revolution, was one of the first published manuals on the subject. The movie goes into detail into the actual ground work (by showing the early years of the Cuban Revolution) that had to be laid for a Guerilla insurgency to function, not withstanding the military and tactical aspects, the Guerilla army first had to be disciplined to be able to sway the local populace to their side. They did this by not putting any hardship on the peasant families (such as stealing food or supplies) and offering any services they could easily provide (Guevara was a trained Physician, so they offered free medical care to all the peasant villages).
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
This is a MUST SEE for the student of Guerilla Warfare; not just because it is an awesome movie, but it is also very accurate in it’s historical detail. An early study of the beginnings of the IRA in the 1920’s, it shows in graphic detail the brutality the Irish faced at the hands of their British taskmasters and attempts to validate why, the Irish, were in turn, often so harsh in their retaliations against the British. It tracks the evolution of the formation of early IRA “brigades” which conducted raids, ambushes and political assassinations and eventually ends up going into the Irish Civil War which broke out over disagreements over the eventual “Peace” treaty with England, which continued to rage on for another 70 years.
A French Film with English sub-titles, this movie tracks the Algerian War of Independence, which in terms of studying Guerilla Warfare is a red letter date event. When studying how Guerilla Warfare has changed over the centuries, one of the re-occurring themes you will come across again and again is the REBELLION AGAINST COLONIAL POWERS , namely, Spain, England and France. Besides the study of the Boer War, The French Algerian War offers some of the best hindsight in WHAT NOT TO DO when fighting a counter-insurgency, namely:
The torture of prisoners and mistreatment of the indigenous populace.
Not educating your military force on the local religion and culture (islam) can be a severe detriment in knowing how to earn peoples respect and trust.
While on this subject, one needs to also study how France, before Algeria, fought an uphill and eventual losing battle in French Indochina, a pre-cursor (and harbinger as it were) to America’s long and bloody struggle in Vietnam.
Although this movie is not a direct study of GW, it offers an informative look at Middle Eastern and European Political Terrorism in the 1970’s through the eyes of one of the most ruthless and notorious terrorist and hired killers of that time, Carlos the Jackal. This is a French made film with English sub-titles, but don’t let that discourage you. It is very well made and historically accurate. Several “red letter” events as it pertains to 1970’s European Political Terrorism are depicted such as the 1975 OPEC Siege and the 1976 Entebbe Raid.
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