French And German Soldiers In WWI Essay

This essay has a total of 835 words and 4 pages.

French And German Soldiers In WWI

French and German Soldiers in WWI

The first World War was a horrible experience for all sides
involved. No one was immune to the effects of this global conflict and
each country was affected in various ways. However, one area of
relative comparison can be noted in the experiences of the French and
German soldiers. In gaining a better understanding of the French
experience, Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est was particularly
useful. Regarding the German soldier's experience, various selections
from Erice Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front proved to
be a valuable source of insight. A analysis of the above mentioned
sources, one can note various similarities between the German and
French armies during World War I in the areas of trench warfare,
ill-fated troops, and military technology. Trench warfare was totally
unbiased. The trench did not discriminate between cultures. This "new
warfare" was unlike anything the world had seen before, millions of
people died during a war that was supposed to be over in time for the
holidays. Each side entrenched themselves in makeshift bunkers that
attempted to provide protection from the incoming shells and brave
soldiers. After receiving an order to overtake the enemies bunker,
soldiers trounced their way through the land between the opposing
armies that was referred to as "no man's land." The direness of the
war was exemplified in a quotation taken from Remarque's All Quiet on
the Western Front, "Attacks alternate with counter-attacks and slowly
the dead pile up in the field of craters between the trenches. We
are able to bring in most of the wounded that do not lie too far off.
But many have long to wait and we listen to them dying." (382) After
years of this trench warfare, corpses of both German and French
soldiers began to pile up and soldiers and civilians began to realize
the futility of trench warfare.
However, it was many years before any major thrusts were made
along the Western front. As soldiers past away, recruits were ushered
to the front to replenish the dead and crippled. These recruits were
typically not well prepared for the rigors of war and were very often
mowed down due to their stupidity. Both the French and Germans were
guilty of sending ill-prepared youths to the front under the guise
that "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." (380) Owen's
Dulce et Decorum Est is a prime example of this "false optimism"
created by the military machine in France to recruit eager new troops
to die a hero's death on the front lines. Remarque also alluded to the
fact incompetent young recruits were sentence to death. In reference
to the young recruits Remarque stated, "It brings a lump into the
throat to see how they go over, and run and fall. A man would like to
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