Bloodier than Fiction

1643 Words7 Pages
Children are often raised to believe in child delivery by storks, Santa, and other fictions that mask the complexity of the adult world. However harmless these lies may be, these are lies nonetheless and have the potential to imbalance an individual when they discover the truth. Like the lies that are used to deceive naïve children, propaganda was used to deceive naïve soldiers into sacrificing their lives for World War I. World War I (WWI) was the first international-scale military conflict of its kind, fought between the Central and Allied Powers. The advent of modernized weaponry on the Western Front made killing more rampant, miserable, and impersonal. Huge armies were amassed on either side as a result of nationalism and alliances, which were motivating factors in the countries’ participation in war. However, the personal suffering of soldiers in WWI, as illustrated by Eric Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, was not justified by the alliances or nationalism that were the driving causes of the conflict. The physical suffering of the soldier was perhaps the most conspicuous cost of the war, shown by the frightening gore and swaths of dead and dying bodies littering No-Man’s-Land. Many soldiers believed that fighting for their country would be brave and victorious, as spun by nationalistic poets and artists alike prior to WWI. Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front replaces these romantic images of war with butchery; the individual soldier was maimed regardless of the country that ‘lost’ the war. Depictions of such suffering in Remarque’s novel include horses tripping upon their own intestines, still-living men with their brains showing through their skulls, and other atrocities that bring into question a human bein... ... middle of paper ... ...ering that comes attached to larger armies. At the same time, nationalism demonstrated the inability of political leaders and citizens alike to associate with the true sacrifice of soldiers. Thus, alliances and nationalism are fabricated excuses for the justification of suffering in WWI. Much like the lies that mask the complexity of gift giving and childbirth, hypocritical deception in the name of ‘unity’ and ‘common interest’ masks the injustice of a soldier’s suffering. Works Cited Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor, et al. World History: Connections to Today. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1999. Fredericks, Karen. "MAINE Causes of War PowerPoint." Cupertino: Cupertino High School, 2010. Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York: Random House, 1975. Sassoon, Siegfried. "Aftermath." in Poetry X. Ed. http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/7127/, 2004.
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