Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est, (written c. October 1917-March 1918) Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.-- Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
Aftermath of WWI (“a jolly little war” / “we’ll be home by Christmas” / “to Paris!” / “to Berlin!” / “victory must be ours”) - US Civil War: 620,000 dead Battle of Gettysburg: over 51,000 casualties - Vietnam War: 50,000 US dead - World War I: @ 74 million men mobilized Allied armies: 48,000,000 mobilized; 18,000,000 casualties Central Powers: 25,500,000 mobilized; 12,400,000 casualties 8,500,000 men killed: about 6,000 per day for the 51 months, or the more than 1500 days, of the war (August 5, 1914 – November 11, 1918) 22,000,000 wounded (@ 7,000,000 permanently disabled) 12,600,000 dead from war-related causes - Battle of Verdun (February 1916-June 1916: “Bleed the French white”): France – more that 540,000 casualties (dead and wounded) 90,000 dead Germany – 430,000 casualties - Passchendaele (July 31-1917-November 1917): 245,000 British dead - Battle of the Somme (the Somme Offensive): 1,200,000 casualties Britain – 420,000 killed or wounded (60,000 the first day) 19,000 dead France – 200,000 killed or wounded Germany – 650,000 killed or wounded - Gallipoli: more than ½ of British Commonwealth forces (of 400,000) killed or wounded
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night (1934) “See that little stream,” he said. “We could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a whole month to walk to it – a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind. And another empire walked very slowly backward a few inches a day, leaving the dead like a million bloody rugs.”
Aftermath continued Paris Peace Conference 1919 Treaty of Versailles (signed June 28, 1919) – Polish Corridor – Limits to German military – Article 231: German war guilt clause – German reparations Creation of European “successor states” (esp. Poland, CZ, and Yugoslavia) League of Nations National debts in Europe Political, economic, and social instability in Europe Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler