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Goose-stepping in 2018: Chile’s military parade looks a lot like a Nazi one (VIDEO)

Goose-stepping in 2018: Chile’s military parade looks a lot like a Nazi one (VIDEO)
Goose-stepping and Wehrmacht Stahlhelme have taken on a bad reputation since the dark days of Nazi Germany. However, in South America, the Chilean military is determined to keep its Germanic traditions alive.

The Chilean military is among the largest in South America, and the country’s yearly military parade is a chance for the government to flex that muscle. An adrenaline-pumping video of this year’s parade shows rows and rows of marching soldiers from the various branches of the military, with some perfectly copying the moves and dress of the Nazi-era German Wehrmacht.

Over 9,500 troops from the country’s army, navy, air force, and carabineros can be seen marching through the streets of Santiago to mark the 208th anniversary of the Día de las Glorias del Ejército del Chile (Day of the Glories of the Chilean Army).

Dressed in dark gray, with the iconic Stahlhelme helmets on their heads, Chile’s soldiers bear more than a passing resemblance to the Wehrmacht of World War 2. The colorful sashes and ceremonial rapiers of their officers seem to have been pulled directly from a history book, with the goose-stepping hammering home the point.

However, the Chilean military didn’t just decide to embrace the Nazi aesthetic and lift the Prussian drill and doctrine from a history book. Rather, its distinctly Teutonic style has its roots in the 19th Century.

In the 1880s, Chile managed to prevail over Bolivia and Peru in the War of The Pacific, a dust-up over mining territory in the Atacama desert. Its military wasn’t in great shape, however, and its leaders wanted to bring in some external help to gain an edge over Chile’s neighbors.

Enter the Prussians. Under Otto von Bismarck, the Prussians had managed in 1870 to unify the splintered principalities of northern Germany and win the Franco-Prussian War inside of ten months. Despite its small size, Prussia had a hardcore military culture and could hold its own against far larger European powers.

The Chileans shipped a bunch of Prussian officers over to whip its military into shape, and by the time the Prussian Captain Emil Körner retired as the Commanding General of the Chilean Armed Forces in 1910, the country’s martial prowess was unmatched in South America.

The Chilean military hasn’t done much fighting in recent times and has been eclipsed in numbers and funding by the armies of Brazil and Argentina.

That hasn’t stopped Chile from hanging on to its Prussian military traditions, however. The weaponry may have modernized, and women now goose-step alongside their male counterparts, but the distinctly Germanic flavor remains untouched.

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