"The State of The World" Number 4
Complete Index Of All Issues
Send In The Marines
Marine military forces (also known as "naval infantry") have been in existence since very ancient times. Originally sailors who specialized in the boarding of enemy ships, they evolved into amphibious-landing troops - the first-in invaders in the time prior to the invention of paratroopers and troop-transport aircraft. By virtue of their defined task, marine forces have traditionally been uniquely offensive, not defensive, in their missions.
China was the first known to have a large marine military force. Chinese marines are recorded in the historic Han Dynasty's Record of the Warring States as early as 475 BC.
Ancient Greece developed marine forces as it grew into the imperial power of the Mediterranean Sea from 300 BC.
Ancient Rome, another Mediterranean maritime nation, superseded the Greek empire by 150 BC. The rock carving shown below portrays actual Roman marines of 120 BC.
By the first century AD, many European, Asian and African coastal nations were developing marine military forces.
The battle of the Spanish Armada against Britain's Royal Navy is one of the most famous naval battles of history, but the battle wasn't merely about whose navy would rule the seas - it was about preventing the over 50,000 marines aboard the Spanish ships from coming ashore on the beaches of Britain. That invasion, that wasn't allowed to happen, was the actual victory over the Spanish Armada.
Britain itself has since long maintained a marine fighting force. During the War of 1812 (1812-1814) a small force of Royal Marines sailed up the Potomac River and captured the city of Washington long enough to burn the White House to the ground in retaliation for the U.S. burning of the Parliament Building in York (today Toronto) earlier in the year.
Due in large part to Hollywood propaganda films, U.S. Marines have become world famous (some even think that U.S. Marines are the only marines in the world, even though over 70 countries maintain large marine forces). Nevertheless, U.S. Marines have fought and won many genuine battles, most-particularly in the Pacific during the Second World War e.g. the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
As of 2016, the ten largest marine military forces in the world are of China, Russia, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Philippines.
It would seem that "send in the marines" is a political philosophy that is going to be around for as long as there are politicians.