Soldiers’ Attitude to Wwi

11 November 2016

Soldiers were perceived as a coward if they had not enlisted to go to war. Women would hand them a white feather, symbolising that they did not show pride in their country. This glorious adventure was backed up by the feeling that both spiritual renewal and courage could be developed. Soldiers believed that the war would be over Christmas and many had feared that war would be over before they had even got involved. Captain Julian Grenfell, in a letter to his mother during war, had emphasized that he “adore(s) war, it’s like a big picnic without the object lesson of a picnic.

I’ve never been so well or so happy… it is all the best fun. ” As depicted from a photograph of a crowd in Berlin at the outbreak of war in 1914, many numerous young men are saluting their hats the sky and singing praises due to the outbreak of war, outlining happiness and excitement, through the expression evident on their faces. War poet, Wilfred Owen, outlines the enthusiasm and keenness to join war as he emphasizes that, “O meet it is and passing sweet, to live in peace with others, but sweet still and far more meet, to die in war for brothers. Owen encourages readers to enlist for war as it is a honor and a credit to serves for ones country. War poet Rupert Brooke, in his poem, ‘The Soldier,’ mentions, “…and think, this heart, all evil shed away…laughter, learnt of friends and gentleness,” as he outlines the positive experiences of engaging in the war effort. Author W. H Stephens, of ‘Imperial Camp Songs and Recitations of the war of 1914-1915,’ states that “if you want a jolly outing at this season of the year, just put on a Khaki outfit,” highlights that the need to feel good is to enlist in the war.

Soldiers’ Attitude to Wwi Essay Example

In Europe, the war was known to have brought needed “purification and spiritual cleansing. ” At the beginning of the war in 1914, Britain’s men of one million had enlisted in the war with three million having enlisted by the end of 1915. Buckingham Palace in Britain was surrounded by cheering crowds, as nationalism was evident everywhere. The German’s had believed that they felt they needed to be attacked. The Military Law Proclamation of the 31st July, 1914, had called all men for military service.

Reports proved that ten million men were on camp. Both allied and German soldiers were enthused to engage in the war effort at the beginning of 1914 and 1915. It is known by Historian Malcolm Brown, that within two months at war, the soldiers were starting to become disillusioned. The reality was starting to kick in as they had not comprehended what they were in for. The Christmas truce had acted as an agreement between the two opposing sides, of the allied and Germans, to cease fighting.

On Christmas day, the guns had stopped firing. This had changed the attitude of the German and allied soldier as gifts were exchanged, such as alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates and photographs, singing of Christmas carols were heard and conversation between them was spoken. Due to such actions evident on no man’s land, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, Sir John French, ordered, “to prevent any reoccurrence, of such conduct, and called the local commanders to strict account, which resulted in a great deal of trouble. In a letter to his mother, Second Lieutenant Dougan Chate r, on the 25th of December, 1914, mentioned “I have seen one of the most extraordinary sights today that anyone has ever seen…our men went out to meet them [German’s] and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas. ” Bruce Bairnsfather, an English Soldier, recalled that “there was not an atom of hate on either side that day: and yet, on our side, not for a moment was the will to beat them relaxed. The military leaders of that time could not punish any soldier for his actions that day, yet warned them that it was to not happen again, as they issued strict orders. Leaders had encouraged the soldier’s to envy the opposition and encouraged fighting to continue, so that soldiers would not develop friendships and not want to fight any more. Although this was to never transpire again, there are some accounts of this occurring on Christmas In 1915. A changing attitude to war developed between the allied and German soldiers. War weariness had begun to settle in and the enthusiasm and passion to fight in war had died off.

The war had gone on a lot longer than anticipated. The battlefields were becoming increasingly difficult for soldiers to bear. There was realization that the war would continue. The soldiers felt like nothing more than a trip home. In July 1918, Private A. Golding stated that, “I’ll own, that his shells put the wind up me, and that I’m not, and don’t want to be a hero. I want to go home. ” This is in great comparison to what the soldiers had previously thought. The conditions on the battlefields were harsh, which contributed to war weariness as soldiers comprehended the comparison of their previous thoughts of war, with present reality.

Dangerous, loud explosions were encounted by the soldiers on the battlefields as “a terrific crash which flung me yards,” was experienced by the soldier, R. H Mottram, author of the Personal Records of the War. He suffered “enormous noise… continuous explosion,” which degraded and disturbed the living conditions of soldiers on the Western Front. Private W. Carson Carton mentioned that food was “cooked in the same container it was boiled…and plum and apple jam and biscuits were washed down with tea. ” The soldier’s enthusiasm between each other was still alive, yet many had given up.

War time poet, Wilfred Owen, in his poem, “The Dead-Beat,” states that, “He dropped, — more sullenly than wearily, Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat, And none of us could kick him to his feet. ” Due to personal losses and huge casualties, the soldier’s began to view war very differently. Poet Henry Weston Pryce, in 1918 stated that,”If such be life, and if to live’s to love, O God, we’ve made a bloody mess of it! ” German and Allied attempts to break the stalemate through the Schlieffen Plan, the Battle of the Verdun, Operation St.

Michael, as well as the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele all contributed in increasing war weariness due to the amount of casualties and deaths. War weariness began to settle in as time had ventured on and the soldier’s attitude to war had significantly changed in comparison to what emotions were felt in 1914. German’s had a change in attitude during World War One alike the Allies. War weariness for the German’s was an even more serious problem. On the home fronts, Germany’s citizens were undertaking strikes to resemble the grief hat the soldiers were feeling and the urge for war to not continue. August 8th had been marked “the Black Day” for Germans as the allies were keen to push through German front lines to victory. On this day, “all hell broke loose and we heard nothing more. The world was enveloped in sound and flame, and our ears just couldn’t cope. The ground shook. ” ( Gunner J. R. Armitage). Battles on the War front had a significant impact on the German soldiers. Ludendorff claimed in 1918 that, “The Somme was the muddy grave of the German field Army. Confidence, Morale, and self esteem had gradually fallen in the high spirits of German soldiers. German soldier, Adolf Galland mentions “Of course, the outcome of the war would not have been changed. The war was lost perhaps, when it was started. ” The changing attitude of the soldiers was clearly evident in the German army. Many contributing factors accumulated for the changing attitudes of both allied and German soldier’s fighting on the War Front. The changing attitudes from enthusiasm to depression had a significant impact on the German and Allied soldier’s experience at war.

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