Age of Anxiety, a few small errors

Essay by Esoteric180University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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At its start, the Great War of 1914-1918 was a popular war. The war was even blessed by those thinkers and artists who were non-violent by nature. The war, many people sincerely believed, would be quick and glorious. The war soon gave way to bitter disillusionment. This bitterness is illustrated in the film Paths of Glory (1957) as well as in Erich Marie Remarque's novel, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929). The stupidity of the war became apparent to all those men who fought for their nation. On the home front, of course, the story was a bit different. But when soldiers, lucky enough to still be alive returned home, it was to a land which knew nothing of the Somme or Verdun. "A land fit for heroes"? Perhaps. Never such innocence,Never before or since,As changed itself to pastWithout a word--the menLeaving the gardens tidy,The thousands of marriagesLasting a little while longer:Never such innocence again.(Philip

Larkin, MCMXIV)It was William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) who remarked, in 1879, that "war is at best barbarism.... Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell." But it was the British poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) who added, "war is hell and those who initiate it are criminals." This was the final verdict of the Great War, especially among the Anglo-French. "The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori." The initial "vision of honor and glory to country" faded quickly and was replaced by sorrow, pity and cruelty. For the BRITISH WAR POETS, the whole affair ended in bitterness. People felt betrayed by those men who were "running the war." The horrors of the trench...