Wednesday, January 31, 2024

"Three Americans Died" and the Story of Maximillian

It's surprising how few Americans realize that during the U.S. Civil War, France invaded Mexico, overthrew the Mexican government and installed Austrian Archduke Maximillian as Emperor of Mexico. Maximilian's rise to the throne of Mexico was a complex and controversial chapter in Mexican history, which I learned about through an insight book titled Maximillian and Carlotta. By means of this book I learned much about the interwoven monarchies of Europe and why World War I became as devastting as it was.

The story of Maximillian and Carlotta begins on a beach in Mexico near Vera Cruz. The French had come to Mexico to collect debts that France was owed by the Mexican government. For reasons I do not recall, there was an incident on the beach in which seven French soldiers were killed.

In response, France decided to invade Mexico in 1862. Mexico was itself in political disarray, but as the saying goes, when you take over you own it. NOW what is the plan?

Maximillian's older brother Franz Joseph was fully installed as Emperor of Austria, which left young Max with no real responsibilities. Wearing a crown in a foreign land had a certain appeal to the young, aimless ruler without a throne. By 1864 he was installed, but was not aware of how much resentment the peoples felt toward this 24-year-old pup who now ruled their nation.

The good times and parties didn't last though. When the American Civil War ended, the French began removing troops. The ruling elite lacked sufficient support to quash the rebellions and protests. Max and Carlotta felt increasig isolated.

Carlotta returned home to Europe, but Maximillian was not so lucky. When the American Civil War ended, the reunited government put pressure on France to get their troops out of Central America. Without the support of an army, Max was captured and executed in Queretaro by firing squad.

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This is the story that came to mind when I heard the news that three Americans were killed by a drone the other day. There's been an immediate call for retribution, to get even, to make a military statement... What will it accomplish? If it is a significant action, it will only rile up more hatred against us. If it is insignificant, then what is the point.

France wasted five years and countless lives by invading Mexico to "teach her a lesson."

I recently heard someone say, "In the land of 'an eye for an eye' everyone ends up blind."

Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called the children of God." He was not talking about peacemaker missiles.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The U.S. has approved plans for multi-day strikes in Iraq and Syria against multiple targets, including Iranian personnel and facilities, CBS News and the BBC reported.

What's the end game?

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