Honors World Cultures
13 May 2016
The Effects of World War One on American Literature
George Orwell once wrote “If the war didn’t happen to kill you, it was bound to start you thinking.” He is referring to the impact which World War One had on the United States of America. It affected both those fighting and the home front, including wives and children of war soldiers. The brutality of the war opened an eye for the Americans, which influenced an expression of the horrifying thoughts brought on by the war through the use of literature. Due to World War One, Journalism became more popular, Romanticism moved to the Realism movement, and poetry moved from being metaphorical to being straightforward.
The United States officially joined World War One on April 2, 1917. They declared war on Germany after Germany for several reasons. First, Germany broke a pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the Mediterranean. Another large contributor to U.S. involvement was the Zimmerman note. This was a telegraph sent from Germany to Mexico asking to form an alliance against The United States. Arthur Zimmerman telegraphed a note meant for Heinrich von Eckardt, a German ambassador in Mexico City, promising the states of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona be returned to Mexico if Mexico joined the war with the Allies. The British government intercepted the message and publically showed the United States. The United States finally joined World War One by declaring war on Germany.
The First World War soon became one of the most brutal and violent wars in American history.
To share experiences, soldiers began writing journal entries. This era made journalism becom...
... middle of paper ...
...ndezvous With Death” by Alan Seeger is a good example of post war poetry:
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
Not only did this poem show what most poetry looked like after the war, it showed realism. The poet explained his close call with death during a World War One battle.
The first world war influenced American literature for the better. It changed the importance of journalism, popularity of Romanticism and Realism, and style of poetry. Although it affected the lives of Americans very negatively, it forever changed American Literature into what it is now.
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