I always thought it was interesting that the main character of A Farewell is an American driving for the Italians. Recently, I found after watching a WWI documentary, another person we all have heard of had a similar WWI experience.
Hitler attempted to enlist in the Austrian army (the country of his citizenship) during WWI but failed the physical exam. In desperate attempts to enlist, Hitler requested to join the Bavarian army with special permission from Bavarian authorities.
So we have an American serving with the Italians and an Austrian serving with the Bavarians. The lengths some men go to enlist (but if we’re talking about Frederic Henry, just forget everything. He just happened into it).
I’m not sure exactly which rabbit hole I fell into to find these, but I found some really interesting late 1920s to early 1930s cartoons depicting life during The Great War.
This first one is an Oswald the Rabbit cartoon directed by Walt Disney entitled “Great Guns.” It features a lot of the new technology being developed including tanks and machine guns although it also shows some of the more “primitive” weapons people were forced to use in the war.
I think this cartoon is super interesting because(as we touched on a little bit in class) World War I marked really the beginning of a move from personal combat (and to hand combat and people actively killing each other face to face like Paul did to Duval) to removed combat (much like the contemporary style we use today where often times people never really come face to face/ warfare becoming more mechanized).
This second cartoon, also an Oswald the Rabbit piece, is called “Not So Quiet” (already interesting since All Quiet on the Western Front was published the year before this was released). “Not So Quiet” more prominently features aspects of trench warfare (even going into aspects as detailed as the amount of water and liquids that would accumulate inside the trenches). Another neat addition to this cartoon is the depiction of armistice at the end. We spoken lightly in class about how so many people knew the war would come to an end and so countless lives were lost wastefully. This cartoon shows that with Oswald being chased by a bomb until the armistice and then just having the chase end.
The final cartoon is an early example of Looney Tunes and is called “Bosko the Doughboy.” It clearly shows what life in the trenches was like down to the louse on the sergeant. This one also shows the water in the trenches and the boards placed on the ground to make walking in them easier.
I think all of the cartoons are super neat, not only because of the way they depict World War One, but because of how it seems like the world was coping with what had happened after the fact.
I know we talked about war propaganda the first week of class, but I kept thinking about how the war was advertised. I fell down a whole of war posters and just wanted to share them.
What I was really interested in was the range of ways that women were depicted within these posters. They go from being a damsel in distress that needs to be saved:
To strong women who would fulfill the roles of the men until the war was over:
To women as nurses in posters recruiting for the Red Cross (which to me, the women in these pictures look both very angelic and in the first one, very motherly) :
To the range of ways they are presenting in posters for war bonds, as mothers, wives, and daughters and also in the conservation posters back at home:
I found a website that has different categories of propaganda here and really enjoyed looking through it. I just really liked being able to see the variety of ways that women were portrayed, both hyperfeminine in some cases and in others more masculine, and the varying techniques to try to gain support for the war both on the war front with pushing men to serve for the sake of their families, the women, and the children, to the home front and the supportive wife and family, back home waiting for their men to return from the fighting.
So I was watching the Trench Warfare video we’re supposed to view before next class and while I thought it was super interesting, it left out one piece of information I wanted to know most.
How did the soldiers actually build the trenches?
There’s no way (at least in my mind) they could’ve just dug straight into the ground. Wouldn’t that be too dangerous? But how else could they have done it?
I did a little *ahem* digging and found out from this children’s website (hey, I’ll take the information where I can get it) that there were three ways people went about constructing the trenches. The first way being exactly what I thought couldn’t possibly work–the soldiers dug right into the ground (a process called entrenching). According to the same website,
“Another method was to extend a trench on one end. It was called sapping and was a safer method but took a lot longer. Tunneling – which is digging a tunnel and then removing the roof to make a trench when it is complete…”
I feel like there’s more information out there that could probably way better explain how these trenches were built but I couldn’t find much else. If anyone else can please post it! I think this is super interesting.
FYI, the anniversary of the first official trenches being dug on the Western Front is coming up on September 15th (here’s the link to the neat article I found that nugget of information in)!