The Ignorance of History is No Excuse

By | September 17, 2023

[September 17, 2023]  Today is the anniversary of the Civil War battle at Antietam, September 17, 1862.  There are some lessons we can take away from this battle and I will get to them in a moment.  I must first emphasize that it is the general ignorance of history that is not just an embarrassment for us Americans with our lack of basic need-to-know knowledge but our defects are magnified because of it.  Ignorance certainly is not bliss.

New Book Cover on the attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941

A friend sent me a link to a book on Amazon about the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy.  It came out earlier this month and, it got some excellent reviews.  What my friend found odd was that the cover of the book shows German aircraft over Pearl Harbor.  I think the book has been made “unavailable” for now so the cover can be corrected.  Here is the book cover, as I just pulled it from the Amazon site; a serious embarrassment for the book’s author.  Let’s just say that ignorance of history can lead to some serious problems.

The lessons from the Battle of Antietam provides some lasting lessons for combat and for living our lives properly.  Remember that this battle was the bloodiest single day battle in this history of the United States, with over 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing.

Strategically, one of the biggest lessons is that a successful battle (or major event) can provide an opportunity to highlight or providing something important.  The battle led to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.  The timing was perfect because it convinced France and Britain not to align themselves with the Confederacy (now associated with slavery).  At the time, France and Britain had already outlawed slavery.

The battle also teaches us the importance of morale.  When Lincoln issued the preliminary proclamation freeing all slaves, it gave Union troops a huge morale boost.  To that point in the war, it was hard to point to something important to fight for and soldiers need a purpose.  Remember at the time, one’s state was their ‘nation’ and the United States was more of a vague idea.  The Civil War would change this attitude.

And, the battle at Antietam tells us of the importance of good communications.  During the battle, the Confederate Army was unable to coordinate its attacks effectively due to poor communication between its commanders.  This made their attacks far less effective, and although the battle was considered a tactical draw, it was a strategic win for the Union army.

Of course, the lesson today is that there is no excuse for ignorance of history.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “The Ignorance of History is No Excuse

  1. Nick Lighthouse

    I thought this was a joke at first. Who could make this kind of mistake showing German WWII planes attacking Pearl Harbor? Oh well, that answers itself.

  2. The Toad

    Main lesson today: Of course, the lesson today is that there is no excuse for ignorance of history.

  3. USA Patriot II

    Always wonderful to wake up early in the morning, get my cup of hot coffee, have my dog at my side, get out my laptop and open this leadership website. Loving the day. Enjoy your Sunday. I’m headed to church services shortly. And now I have a short story to tell my friends there. One or two will be WWII vets.

  4. Julia

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for reminding us of the battle at Antietam and that this was the most deadly battle ever in the history of the United States. Considering how small the nation was at the time, these loses did and still have a tremendous impact. My great great grandfather fought there for the Union and lived (good thing for me). And also I appreciate the lessons — which are pretty basic for those of us who understand leadership — but might be new to those new to leadership responsibilities. Keep bringing more of your article to my inbox and please publish another book soon.

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      Wow, you are indeed lucky to be here today, as we all are if our relatives were alive at that time and in America.

      1. Nick Lighthouse

        Not many folks will appreciate this battle because today we are grossly ignorant of history and repeat the mistakes of history again and again and wonder why. We are idiots.

  5. Bride from OK

    The book is showing on Amazon but there is no price and I cannot load it into my box to purchase. Yeah, I think the book, which is only in paperback, is having the cover redesigned. The problem? It got this far without someone with basic knowledge oF WWII paying attention. This is a dramatic embarrassment for the author who ultimate is to be blamed.

    1. Frontier Man

      Big Big EMBARRASSMENT in all caps! And his first book, as far as I know. Says “out of print, limited availability.” I couldn’t see the publisher info.

        1. Frankie Boy

          Yes Yes Yes, you could not have made a worse cover for a book on some very well known area of history. I’m sure the book is good but this is an awful and very embarrassing start. Thanks Gen. Satterfield for highlighting this.

  6. Veronica Stillman

    As far as the book cover, OUCH, big time.
    As far as the battle of Antietam, thanks for mentioned it and the lessons learned.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.