The things a man does to his fellow man... Fascinating, but oh so horrifying.

Tophat's picture

I just recently saw a few snippets of the film All Quiet on the Western Front.

For those of you who don't know, that is a film that depicts the first world war from the German perspective. No, not the Nazis.

The film shows a frighteningly accurate depiction of trench-warfare, and the cruelty that we inflicted upon each other. Let's put it this way.

First, the French would shell the German trenches from the French trenches. Next, they would rush across no-man's-land to attempt to infiltrate the German trench. They were usually shot by the time they got near the trench, mainly by the rifles or machine guns. But those that entered the trench would be met by death as well. The Germans found that the bayonets on their rifles were unweildy in the trenches and quite useless, so they sharpened their shovels and split the enemy's head open.

Now, when the French retreat, the Germans launch a counter attack and rush the other trench while the French are running towards it, killing as many of the retreating French as possible. When the French return to their machine gun posts, however, the Germans must run away or die.

Ah yes. How could I forget? The mustard gas. The Germans introduced this vile weapon, I believe, but it was soon adopted by the other nations. The yellow gas was fatal if inhaled. If not fatal, then certainly you would wish it were as you cough up the remains of your burnt lungs.

More to come, sweethearts.

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Lol-taire's picture

I've been to the Somme.

I've been to the Somme.

With school, when I was about 15. We got the coach through the Channel Tunnel. Everyone was giggly; Thasina was trying to embarrass the history teacher by flirting and being vulgar. But it was like watching a puppy, because she was so young. I was holding hands with Kerry (open secret); we were so young.

We all sort of bundled on and off the bus. Yes the landmarks were moving. We took it in, but then again the girls also pretended to be soldiers among the preserved trenches. We were irrepressable.

The Memorial to the Missing makes you feel a bit weepy. And in the little road side cemetaries the blank graves are the worst part. Known only to God. How could it not move you?

But mourning strangers- even mourning humanity- isn't exactly profound, when you have a packed lunch and you're going home that evening.

I visited last summer with my family (we were driving back from Spain). It was the end of a holiday- we were all rested and tanned. Mum had wanted to visit, since she'd never gone to the battlefields.

Outside the visitors' centre fot the Memorial to the Missing, we found a kitten.

So, man's inhumanity to man is limitless. But then the world restores itself in a way that can feel almost vapid. You'd think so much blood should somehow alter the soil of those fields- as though the earth shouldn't forget an outrage- but they're still just farmers' fields, that you see through a car window on a day trip with school or family.

Because we are (tragically? fortunately?) irrepressible.

Tophat's picture

Wow

May I say that you actually made me extremely happy.

*hug* Thank you. So much.

We as humans are, I think, fortunately irrepressable. Let us hope for progress in our humanity.

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I love you.

Dracofangxxx's picture

Ya always gotta depress me

Ya always gotta depress me in the mornins, don'tcha?
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There isn't a sharp line dividing humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. It's a very wuzzie line...and it's getting wuzzier all the time. - Jane Goodall.