Buckner’s Prediction

We sometimes forget that Civil War figures had lives before and after the war, and sometimes intersect with other figures of history. (As an example: the U.S. representative to the coronation of Czar Nicholas II was Alexander McCook.)

While researching my book on Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., I found an interesting intersection and prediction. In 1900, the 77-year-old Buckner Sr. took his wife and 14-year-old son on a tour of Europe. Among other stops, they visited Germany and witnessed Kaiser Wilhelm II reviewing his troops in Mainz.

Watching the Kaiser, Buckner Sr. turned to his son. “That young fellow,” Buckner Sr. said, “will get his country into very serious trouble some day.” His words, which remained vivid to his son in 1939, proved accurate and prophetic.

8 Responses to Buckner’s Prediction

    1. A lot, actually. More to follow in some other posts. I also did some others already – search Buckner on the site and you’ll see.

  1. I was not an American Civil War fan about 12 years ago yet, but I was already a follower of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Thanks to a documentary on History Channel on the Battle of Okinawa in Spanish where the narrator mentioned his name Simon Bolivar ..
    (Buckner), which i did not pay much attention to his last name at that moment. I thought I had misheard, As Venezuelan, despite not being a huge fan of the Venezuelan General, i immediately searched on the internet and I found his profile on wikipedia, and the one of his father, the Confederate General, which I found even more interesting. A few weeks later, with the airing of GWTW and especially the TV miniseries North and South on the TV Cable for hispanic countries, i finally got the interest of studying the American Civil War. This part of their story was unknown for me until now.

  2. To amplify the fact that the death occurred at Okinawa, not Iwo Jima …

    “At noon on June 18 his opponent, Simon Bolivar Buckner, roamed far forward to observe a fresh unit of Marines moving into battle. He watched for an hour; then as he started down from his observation post, a Japanese shell exploded directly overhead. A fragment shattered a mound of coral, and freakishly, one jagged piece of coral flew up and embedded itself in the general’s chest. Ten minutes later he died.”

    John Toland, “The Rising Sun,” p. 721

  3. Thank you for this. I wonder if he formed that opinion on the spot or was he watching for many years from afar. Could there have been others that thought of KWII that way? Appreciate knowing of his prescience.

    1. You’re welcome! I suspect other shared this opinion of Kaiser Bill. Buckner Sr. died in January 1914, by the way.

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