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French and German Soldiers in Wwi

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Essay title: 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

spank them, they are so stupid, and to take them by the arm

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