World War One Assignment - Empathy

Essay by Anonymous UserA+, January 1996

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Dear Mum,

How are you getting on? I hope that Dad's cold is better. Send my best wishes to everyone!

I am writing to you from the barracks of our regiment. My training is going well; I have many good friends here, and although the training I have been getting is necessary, I cannot wait to finish it, and get out to the Front, because the chances are that the war will be over within a few months, and I want to get a good chance to have my go at the Boche.

All kinds of rumours are spreading through the regiment about the things that the Boche are doing. They are supposed to have committed all sorts of atrocities in Belgium, such as butchering defenceless, innocent women and children, and also raping and pillaging.

I cannot understand why anyone would not want to take their place in Kitchener's New Army; it makes me angry that cowards should be able to duck out of their responsibility to their country.

The whole idea of conscientious objection seems absurd to me; it is just a front used to cover cowardice. Conchies don't object to war, they are just scared that they might get hurt. They should see this war for what it is: a chance to help and serve their country, and earn some glory, both for themselves, and for Britain.

The Boche needs to be taught a lesson; they cannot expect to just march around the globe, invading countries for no reason, other than selfishness. If we do not step in and act decisively soon, who knows where they will stop?

How can the army act decisively if many of the men who should be soldiers decide to stay at home because they are scared?

Those who claim that their...