War and Peace
In 1914, all the world’s major powers went into war. The war started in Europe, we know as being the First World War or “The Great War”. Although, great is the worst word to tag to its name. Unless you would consider millions of people dying amongst massive carnage, then you would be spot on. As big as the war was, it was the soldiers that fought in it came out most impacted. Peace treaties ended the war, but they did not of which put an end to the trauma and after effects of the wars survivors.
Before the war, the government did an excellent job of conveying that political situations were not worth fighting for, then within a year their thoughts changed and most people were on board with the idea of war. As the war began, “most people seemed genuinely convinced ...view middle of the document...
” (Spielvogel 886) As soldiers were being killed in these trenches, the others have to keep on fighting amidst all the dead bodies of their fellow soldiers all around them.
“No-man’s land” separates the opposing side’s trenches with acres of open fields. This was a place of severe disadvantage for soldiers caught there. Many of which were trying to break through into their enemy’s trenches. Millions of soldiers died trying to accomplish this task. Air planes with mounted machine guns did a ton of damage. Bodies of dead soldier’s lay of who were exposed to the horrible poison gas.
By the end of the war, government’s ways of manipulating society had caught up to them. Many of the few survivors carried on their violence from the war in political movements shortly after.
I agree with Remarque that the war in a way “destroyed” the wars survivors, and Junger would fall into was Remarque is talking about. The war they were fighting, was supposed to be short and it ended up carrying on. As more and more soldiers die, the psychological effects begin to take effect. I think that Junger was severely affected. He states that he is pleasured to be a mercenary and the fact that he was so used to killing explains his nationalism. Government propaganda used to build up war had lasting affects to its soldiers and also I believe led to soldiers feeling a false sense of purpose which ultimately led to violent political acts which followed. Had Germany had a bigger army, they would have continued on with the war and more killing would have accrued. I got the feeling from Junger that he wanted the war to go on forever and that there only sense of purpose was to keep on killing for his country.
Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization. Boston: Wadsworth, 2009.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. 1929
Junger, Ernst. The Storm of Steel