Essay on The Great War: Why Soilders Felt Like They Needed to Fight?

Essay on The Great War: Why Soilders Felt Like They Needed to Fight?

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Despite the horrors of trench warfare during World War I, reasons why soldiers continued to fight include being influenced by propaganda, enjoying the thrill of fighting, and having nothing else to live for. These motivations differed from the civilians at home because the latter group were not under the direct influence of a manipulative military or intense public pressure, nor did they experience the true nature of fighting on the battlefield. For the most part, these sentiments were shared by soldiers on both the Central Powers and the Allied sides, except for people who had little enthusiasm to fight since the beginning of the war, such as the Italians and minority groups.
To increase support to fight in the war, both the Allies and the Central Powers utilized propaganda to have men enlist in their armies. For example, in Germany posters of masculine soldiers displaying bravery on the battlefield to defend the country were advertised, while in Great Britain unlisted men were handed white feathers by women, which was the symbol for cowardice (Lecture, 11/14/2013). To not fight in the war meant that to the public unlisted men did not display true masculinity or nationalistic loyalty to their country. Under this public pressure, men continued to fight in the war because they did not want to return home ashamed and be considered a treacherous coward in front of their peers. Moreover, during later years in the war when the military could tell that soldiers were losing interest in fighting, it also introduced propaganda in the form of trench newspapers. During down times in between battles, many soldiers experienced boredom while living in the trenches because of the lack of activities to do. Consequently, “trench newspapers” were...


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...rtain combatants continued to fight because the civilian experience left them with a sense of emptiness.
Taking all of these motivations into consideration, there were also differences between certain groups in the military. It can be argued that groups of people who did not experience enthusiasm for the war since its beginning were those that did not have these motivations to continue fighting. For example, unlike France and Great Britain, Italy entered the war at a later period with the state’s war aims of gaining territory from Austria-Hungary. However, most Italians did not know the true reason for the declaration of war and were not supportive of entering conflict, compared to the soldiers from countries such as Germany and France who were excited to fight and express patriotism.
Since they always had these sentiments of dislike for the war, the motivations

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