Dear Kantorek, Regarding our discussion about the war before enlisting, the information you have given us proved to be false. The lectures you've given and the pictures of glory you embedded in our memory motivated us to volunteer. The idea of joining the army and being a hero associated in our minds with a greater insight of the future ahead. The first death we saw shattered this belief. The first bombardment, the first sight of a destroyed human being or a massacre made us realize our mistake. And now we must be forced to watch the annihilation and destruction of mankind and the earth itself.
The first to die was Joseph Behm. Joseph was against the war completely and ironically was the first to die among our "Iron Youth".
We realized that the older men had a taste of life by having families, occupations, interests, and a background so strong that the war cannot obliterate it.
But we young men of twenty have only our parents, maybe a girl, hobbies and our school. Beyond this our life did not extend. Of this nothing remains.
We have seen the death of Kenmerick and all the suffering he experienced from his amputated leg. We have seen reinforcements get shot down like bowling pins and watched them huddle in a trench, curled up, afraid of the next shell and afraid of death.
The smell of death is everywhere. The killing gases burn through internal organ like an acid.
The sound of incoming shells terrifies us because of the unknown destination they'll hit. The rapid machine gun fire of the tommies rips up the remaining earth in front of us while we are pinned down. These, Mr. Kantorek. are the consequences of the false information you gave us.
Disgusted soldier, Paul