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The Not so Great side of the Great War

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The Great War, also known as World War I, was the first major military and international conflict between the world’s greatest powers. The conflict involved two main opposing alliances: The Triple Entente later known as the Allied Powers, formed by England, France, Russia, Italy, and the U.S.; and the Triple Alliance later known as the Central Powers, formed by Germany and Austria-Hungry. The Great War is one of the largest and more deadly conflicts in history with more than 15 million people killed and thousands more wounded. Furthermore, the conflict was intensified due to extreme nationalism, international rivalry, and alliances networks that facilitated suspicion between nations and developed a strong need for power. Moreover, industrialization allowed the creation of new military technologies that made chemical warfare possible. Fought from trenches and supported by modern artillery and machine guns, infantry assaults, and war atrocities that were enormously costly in human life because they deteriorated the body and mind leaving soldiers in a state of crisis that could develop into madness and that sometimes ended in death. A huge inconsistency existed between the actual realities of the warfront and what people at home were taught to believe about the war. When England first declared war on Germany, Robert Graves, an enthusiastic nineteen year old patriotic man, decided to enlist in the army to fight for his country. “[His] father felt proud that [he] had done the right thing” (p.69). After he started his training he “immediately became a hero” (p. 69). Owen relates that people at home tend to be ignorant, of independent mind, good-natured, and sensible about the War (p. 269). This was a consequence of the idea of ‘Home F... ... middle of paper ... ...or their country. The idea of ‘Home Front’ was developed during the Great War and was used to gain financial and moral support from civilians who were not directly engaged on the warfront. Therefore, a major contrast existed between the realities of the warfront and what people at home were told about the war. Strict discipline, bravery, and optimism were expected from all soldiers at all times; failure to do so was highly punished. Moreover, trench warfare was a symbolic distinction of the Great War; and it was there where the most horrific and awful aspect of the conflict were captured. The physical and emotional damages inflicted by war were irreversible and included several long-term effects that affected the future lives of soldiers and sometimes ended in madness or sudden death. Works Cited Graves, Robert. Good-Bye To All That. New York: Anchor, 1998.
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