Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Goosesteps and Pickelhaubes

The Republic of Chile’s Annual ‘Parada Militar’

WHILE MANY NATIONS have thrown time-honored traditions and ceremonies to the wind, they remain central to the South American nation of Chile. Through the wisdom of its leaders, be they civil, military, Liberal, Conservative, Radical, Socialist, or Christian Democrat, this republic on the Pacific has not sampled the bitter taste of war since 1883 when they snatched the last remnants of Bolivia’s coastline. (Bolivia, now landlocked and ever holding a grudge, still maintains a small navy in defiance of geography). Having steered clear of the suicidal bloodlust which consumed much of the Western world during the Twentieth Century (say what you will about the deaths of the Allende/Pinochet years, they are far fewer than our dead of the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam), Chile feels free to continue in the best of its European traditions free from emotional hangups.

For we in the Anglo-American world, goosesteps and pickelhaubes evoke nasty images of Prussian militarism and Nazi hegemony. While the pickelhaube is actually of Prussian origin, having been designed in 1842 by Frederick William IV, the revolutionary Hitler eventually banished them as fusty remnants of the ancien regime. And, while Hitler did popularize the goosestep, this particular form of march has its origins in old Imperial Russia.

Chile is a nation composed of settlers from almost every European country, and has adapted and melded its traditions and culture thencefrom. The ‘Father of the Country’ was an Irishman by the name of Bernardo O’Higgins, while the founder of the Chilean Navy was the 10th Earl of Dundonald. Later immigrants brought influence from Germany, Italy, and other countries, while the founding influence of Spain remained.

Every year, Chile celebrates the ‘Day of the Glories of the Armed Forces’ on September 19, the day following Chile’s Independence Day of September 18 commemorating the 1810 junta. The civil leaders of the land and high-ranking military officers assemble at a stand on the Campos de Marte in the Parque O’Higgins in Santiago and review a long parade of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Carabineros, Chile’s gendarmerie-style national police.

I’ve always loved a parade, and there is no parade like a military parade, so I decided to share with you a few views of Chile’s annual parada militar. One gets the impression that just before we put the Third Reich out of business, they contracted a huge surplus uniform sale to the Chileans which has left them a bountiful supply of uniforms to this day. Indeed, judging by some of the uniforms, one might even get the impression that the same happened earlier in the century when we (lamentably) forced the Kaiser to close shop. But the Chileans will continue to wear their uniforms with pride, and who can blame them? They look good.

The Andes form a scenic backdrop for the Parada Militar.

Now-former president Ricardo Lagos gives a rather papal greeting in this shot from a previous year’s parade.

Soldiers with plumed pickelhaubes await the parade.

Some video footage from YouTube:

The sailors and officers of the Chilean Navy march, singing the song of the Armed Forces. (1:17)

The cadets from the O’Higgins military academy parade to the Radetzky March, followed (about five minutes in) by cadets of the Prado naval academy. (8:27)

Cadets from the Air Force academy, followed by those of the Carabineros academy. (7:10)

Army soldiers marching in the uniform of the Pacific War of the 1880’s. (1:09)

Pickelhaubed troops marching in the rehearsal of the Parada Militar. (0:17)

Cadets of the Escuela Naval.

A military band.

Ladies of the Chilean Army.


This post was published on Friday, October 13th, 2006 1:16 pm. It has been categorised under Military and been tagged under .
Comments
Aunt Naomi
20 Oct 2006 2:34 pm

Andrew – doesn’t the now former President Ricardo Lagos bearing a resemblance to the now former NYC Mayor Edward I Koch?

Paola
20 Oct 2006 9:12 pm

Chile´s independence day is February 18 of 1818. September 18 of 1810 was the First “Junta de Gobierno”, and the people who formed it was ABSOLUTELY loyal to the king, Fernando VII.

Javier
1 Dec 2006 11:37 am

Bernardo O’Higgings was not an Irishman, but rather the bastard son of one. Not that it matters at all. His mother was Chilean. Although educated in Europe, Bernardo O’Higgings is very Chilean.

GIANCARLO GARLASCHI
10 Oct 2008 3:29 pm

WE ARE THE REAL CHILEANS !!!…WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY AND HATE COMMUNISM…WE LOVE OUR’S FATHERS FLAG , WE ARE A HUMBLE COUNTRY BUT PROUD !!!…THERE’S NO RECORD OF SURRENDER BY CHILEAN SOLDIERS…THEY JUST DIE OR WIN…NO OTHER CHOICE…EVERY BODY IN CHILE KNOWS THAT…BETTER DEAD THAN TO BE A COWARD !!!

EX CHILEAN AIR FORCE PILOT

FLYING CESSNA A-37 FOR MY COUNTRY AT THE AGE OF 20 …JUST LIKE RAF BATTLE OF BRITTAIN PILOTS…WE WERE THE “FEW” OF OUR LOVED COUNTRY.

Dalida Uchenvsky
11 Oct 2008 1:58 am

Thank You! for posting this!!

I must say that this is one of the celebrations that Chileans are most proud of and worth watching!!!

GIANCARLO GARLASCHI
11 Mar 2010 10:35 am

AFTER BEING DESPISED FOR 20 YEARS BY THE LEFT GOVERNMENT…THE CHILEAN SOLDIERS WERE SENT TO THE PROVINCES RUINED BY THE 27 FEB. EARTHQUAKE…DELAYED 36 HOURS BECAUSE THE LEFT POLITICIANS DIDN’T WANT TO SEE SOLDIERS DOING GOOD IN PICS ALL ARROUND THE WORLD…( ” IT WAS HARD FOR US TO CONSIDER ENDING OUR TERM WITH SOLDIERS ON THE STREETS ” ).

THE SOLDIERS WERE WELCOMED WITH TEARS , APPLAUSES AND HONKING FROM CARS AND BYSTANDERS…THEY RESTORED ORDER AFTER THE CAOS OF 3 DAYS…AND THEY WERE THANKED BY THE POORS AND HUMBLE…YES…THE CHILEAN SOLDIERS ARE THE SON OF THIS NOBLE AND POOR CHILEANS …USED TO HARDSHIPS…AS THEIR HARD FIGTHING SPANISH SOLDIERS AND ARAUCANO INDIANS THAT NEVER EVER SURRENDED AND FIGHTED FOR 300 YEARS…FROM WHOM THEY DESCEND !

TODAY CHILE CHANGED TO A CENTER RIGTH GOVERNMENT…ALL THE PEOPLE WANTED THE CHANGE…TIRED OF LEFT ARRONGANCE AND RAMPING INEPTITUDE…WE WON WITH 53 %…AND EVEN LEFT PEOPLE NOW WANT ORDER AND PROGRESS TO BE RESTORED !

KINDEST REGARDS

GIANCARLO

lucy
4 Nov 2010 6:01 pm

i am ding a report on the chilean cultures and this article/pictures was a beautiful edition. thanks!

Colin Kirkpatrick
31 Dec 2010 6:55 am

I am from Ireland and I think that the Chilean Army have the smartest uniform of any nation. They look as a soldier should.
Congratulations on the rescue of your brave miners.

GIANCARLO GARLASCHI
21 Apr 2011 9:54 am

THANKS ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS ON CHILEAN MILITARY.

MY SON CHRISTIAN , WAS AN INFANTRY OFFICER , AIRBORNE AND COMMANDO , HE SERVED IN THE PRINCE OF WALES ROYAL FUSILIERS FOR 9 MONTHS IN BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA.

IT WAS NATURAL THAT HE WANTED TO BE AN INFANTRY OFFICER , HIS GRANDFATHER ( KLAUS ) SERVED IN THE HITLER JUNGED AT AGE 14 WHEN GERMANY WAS BEING DEFEATED ( HE DUG ANTITANK TRENCHES , RUSSIAN FRONT 1945 )…KLAUS FATHER WAS A NOBLEMAN WHO JOINED THE WAFFEN SS ALL OUT FOR LOVE OF HIS COUNTRY …HE COMITED SUICIDE ON HIS STATE ( BIG LAND ON FORMER EAST PRUSSIA ) AFTER BEING SENT ON LEAVE FROM THE RUSSIAN FRONT , IT WAS SAID THAT HE COULDN’T STAND THE ATROCITIES DONE IN RUSSIA …SO I GUESS A LOTS OF GERMANS STILL WERE CONSCIOUS OF THINGS BEING DONE.

MY GRANDFATHER WAS AN ITALIAN HERO IN THE ALPS ( WW I ).. HE ALSO VOLUNTEERED FOR AFRICA …IN THE END HE WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH ALL THE POLITICS INVOLVED AND SAID …” SOLDIERS WILL SUFFER THE MISTAKES OF BASTARDS SITTING COMFORTABLY AT THEIR OFFICES “…HE WAS AWARDED THE HIGHEST DECORATION FOR VALOR IN ITALY…THE GOLDEN MEDAL FOR VALOR…IT’S USUALLY POSTHUMOUS..HE NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT HE DID OR ACHIEVED…ONLY THAT THEY STARVED AND FROZE IN THE ALPS…NOW AS A PILOT EVERY TIME I CROSS THE ALPS AND LAND IN BRESCIA ( BOEING 747 )…I REMEMBER THE SACRIFICES AND MISERY OF THE ITALIAN SOLDIERS COMMITTED TO 11 DISASTROUS OFFENSIVES IN THE ISONZO FRONT.

KINDEST REGARDS

GIANCARLO



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