6 National Anthems That Will Make You Tremble With Fear


On Independence Day, Americans are probably feeling something approaching national pride. So we thought we'd take a closer look at the national anthem, that creepy ritual of bland patriotism.

We all know that the American national anthem tells the inspiring story of a brave flag that survives a scary night by believing in itself. But not all national anthems steal their plots from children's books. In fact, some countries aren't satisfied until their national anthem makes any child within earshot weep in terror. Here are six that take pride in their land to a whole new and insanely violent level.

Algeria - "Qassaman"/"We Pledge"

Though it pre-dates both heavy metal and rap by several decades, the Algerian national anthem's lyrics expertly incorporate the prominent cornerstones of both genres' most violent moments. Destructive lightning? Check. Gratuitous bloodshed? Check. Machine guns? Check. Being held down by the man? Word up, son.

Algerian Prime Minister Cent.

The lyrics, written in 1956 by Moufdi Zakaria, are about two "hos" shy of being a Lil' Wayne single. At the time of the writing, Zakaria was being held captive in Algiers by French colonial forces. Realizing that it was, in fact, France that was holding him and his country down, he spent his downtime penning a tune about the ass whooping his fellow countrymen would surely be dishing out sometime in the near future.

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"We swear by the lightning that destroys, By the streams of generous blood being shed"

"When we spoke, none listened to us, So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm, And the sound of machine guns as our melody"

Did They Live Up To It?

Hell yeah! Beginning with guerrilla attacks by the National Liberation Front (FLN) against military and civilian targets in November of 1954, Algeria launched a bloody war for independence from France that would last almost eight years. By the time it was done, almost one million Pied-noirs (Algerian residents of European descent) had fled the country and Algeria was free to never be fucked with by anyone ever again.

Italy - "Il Canto degli Italiani"/"The Song of the Italians"

Throughout the majority of the Italian national anthem, things sound pretty bleak. Hell, the main line in the chorus is "we are ready to die!" But Goffredo Mameli, the 20 year old poet who wrote the lyrics, clearly understood that one can only be down for so long.

Like most good national anthems, this one was written in the shadow of a looming war for independence, this time with Austria. Listening to the first few verses, you would think Mameli thought independence was a lost cause. But then, the final verse rolls around and Mameli goes from defeated poet to a Nostradamus-like teller of fortunes.

On an unrelated note, can you imagine what state our collective national anthems would be in if written by the 20-year olds of today? Booty booty booty booty bursting everywhere!

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"Mercenary swords, they're feeble reeds. The Austrian eagle has already lost its plumes. The blood of Italy and the Polish blood it drank, along with the Cossack. But it burned its heart."

Burning heart= cooler imagery than star spangled banner.

Did They Live Up To It?

Sort of. Italy lost the first war for independence from Austria. And, for all intents and purposes, they lost the second war with Austria also. Hell, they basically lost the third. But thanks to a convenient alliance with Prussia, Italy eventually gained their independence. This half-assed eeking out of national independence was brought to you by the people responsible for the fucking Mafia. Go figure.

Hungary - "Himnusz/Hymn"

Unlike most of the other anthems on this list, Hungary's really has no cause to be as violent as it is. There was no war for independence on the horizon. No foreign invader was occupying their homeland. Basically, a whole bunch of nothing was going on. It would appear that overall, Hungary is just such a shitty place to live that some dude decided to ask God to help him out.

Hungary. Probably. We don't know much about geography.

That's right, this anthem is written as a direct address to God. Most national anthems implore the citizens of their grand country to take up arms and fight against oppression, transgression, whatever. Himnusz is having no part of that. Really, it's a bit unclear what the problem was at all. But whatever was up their ass, it apparently required divine intervention. It's basically the national anthem equivalent of what an unemployed, alcoholic friend might call and moan to you at 2:30 in the morning.

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"No freedom's flowers return, from the spilt blood of the dead, and the tears of slavery burn, which the eyes of orphans shed."

A Hungarian orphan.

Did They Live Up To It?

Yeah, they probably did. There is no evidence that Hungary ever kicked any serious ass, but you don't write lyrics about burning orphan tears without having put up with some serious shit.

Turkey - "İstiklal Marşı/Independence March"

Another anthem, another fight for independence. Noting that Turkish fighters were having a fair amount of success defending themselves against European invaders, it was decided that a motivational song to spur them onto victory and celebrate their inevitable success was in order. Basically, Independence March was the Super Bowl Shuffle of its day.

The lyrics focus mainly on how unbelievably awesome it would be to die for your country. We would prefer to, you know, defend our country while at the same time remaining alive. But that's why we write dick jokes and not national anthems.

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"I'm like the roaring flood; powerful and independent, I'll tear apart mountains, exceed the heavens and still gush out!"

"Render your chest as armor and your body as trench!"

"For only then, shall my fatigued tombstone, if there is one, prostrate a thousand times in ecstasy, and tears of fiery blood shall flow out of my every wound, and my lifeless body shall gush out from the earth like an eternal spirit."

Whatever. Their landscape still looks like a bunch of dick mountains.

Did They Live Up To It?

Damn right they did. In order to gain their independence, they had to convince the Allied Forces of World War I to abandon the Treaty of Sevres. The Allied Forces. That's a lot of power to deal with. But convince them they did...by force.

France - "Le Marseillaise"/"The Song of Marseille"

"La Marseillaise" was written in April of 1792 by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle in the midst of the French Revolution. It was originally called "Chant de guerre de l'armee du Rhin" ("War Song of the Army of the Rhine") but the name was later changed due to the song's popularity with volunteers on the streets of Marseilles. And, presumably, because "Chant de guerre de l'armee du Rhin" is a pretty goddamned long name for a song.

Depending on where you're reading it, the translation of the lyrics varies. But hey, you say a tainted blood irrigates your furrow, we say their impure blood should water our fields. To-mae-to, to-mah-to. Whichever you prefer, somebody's getting fucked up.

Guns and titties? Go France!

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"The bloody flag is raised, the bloody flag is raised."

"Do you hear in the countryside, the roar of these savage soldiers, they come right into our arms, to cut the throats of your sons!"

"May a tainted blood irrigate our furrows!"

Did They Live Up To It?

As fascinating as the thought is, there was a time when France didn't sashay around the globe getting stomped in every armed conflict that came their way. For one shining moment in the 1790s, instead of finding themselves on the business end of a bloody revolution, France was giving the business during the French Revolution. Shit, their revolution even had an official Reign of Terror in which anyone displaying counter-revolutionary tendencies found themselves relieved of their head. One dude even got the guillotine not for counter-revolutionary tendencies, but instead for "an excess of zeal."

He looked like this. Before the beheading.

Zeal! It's easy to see why they were less successful in later armed conflicts. They clearly exerted every ounce of badassedness they had in them during this one. (Just joking France, we know you kick ass .)

Vietnam - "Tien Quan Ca"/"Army March"

Anyone who didn't see trouble coming when we went to war with Vietnam had clearly never taken a gander at their national anthem. If they had, they would have seen that this is a country that does not take war lightly. Most of the other anthems on this list mix in a little bit of talk about peace, national pride or whatever else. The blood and guts talk just finds its way into a verse or two at random. Vietnam's anthem, on the other hand, is all war, all the time.

The lyrics start with the line "armies of Vietnam, forward!" And guess what? They mean it! There's blood on the flag! Guns are rumbling! Bases are being built! There are chains to be broken! di chuyen no goddammit!

Vietnam's national anthem kicks more ass in two short verses than most countries do in a lifetime.

Most Awesomely Violent Lyrics

"Our flag, red with the blood of victory, bears the spirit of the country."

"The distant rumbling of the guns mingles with our marching song."

"The path to glory is built by the bodies of our foes."

"For too long have we swallowed our hatred. Be ready for all sacrifices."

Did They Live Up To It?

Um, our memory is a little hazy, but yes, we believe at some point they may have.

When not writing for Cracked, Adam makes his fellow countrymen proud at ScenicAnemia.com

For more valid reasons to never travel to foreign lands, check out 7 Innocent Gestures That Can Get You Killed Overseas. Or learn more about your friendly neighbors' gift with words in The 9 Most Devastating Insults From Around the World.

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