Show and Tell

File on Sassoon from UK National Archives, including his letter denouncing the war:


Wilfred Owen’s official return to England and medical board forms, UK National Archives:

Owen awarded the Military Cross, UK National Archives:

For My Owen Lovers

I read this piece over the weekend about marking the 100th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s death. Mary Borden also gets a shout out.

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An Odd Appreciation of Death

In both All Quiet on the Western Front and Not So Quiet, we see such an odd appreciation for the escape from war death brings. In All Quiet, Paul and Kat see the dying recruit and consider shooting him to putting him out of his misery. In Not So Quiet, Helen sees in chapter two that one of the men she was transporting in her ambulance has died and says “He died as the stretcher-bearers lifted him out. I was glad…Out of hell at last” (Smith 40).

This disturbing appreciation of death is really jarring to me. Did anyone else have any similar reactions?

LGW: Time to Enlist

August 1918. In the Hundred Days Offensive, the US has been fighting alongside the Allies to end the brutal and exhausting conflict that is playing out across the globe; the Marines have spent the summer in the infamous Belleau Wood. The “Spanish Flu” epidemic is gaining strength; it  has been detected in a US military camp and eventually will kill more than 20 million men, women, and children. Russia is in chaos; the Bolsheviks, bolstered by anti-war sentiment, have recently murdered the Czar and the Romanov family. Yet in just a few months, the guns will fall quiet: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, nearly four years later than experts initially predicted the end of the Great War.

How did the men and women of the First World War experience and record their experiences in this fundamental moment of modernity? How does our own distance, a century beyond the world’s baptism into mechanized killing, both enable and hamper our understanding of that experience, and what do we learn from The War to End All Wars?  I hope our semester is the beginning but not the end of your work considering those questions.