Emotions Of Ww1 Essay

1282 words - 6 pages

History is insipidly defined as the study of past events. However, every historian knows that history is more than a mere compilation of facts; it is the study of humanity. Every menial task we do in life is driven by something we overlook frequently: emotion. Emotions are the foundation of our lives, and are capable of altering our nature and actions. Consequently, to truly understand an event in history, we must delve into the emotions experienced, which act as the true human motivators. Throughout its atrocious duration, the Great War was filled with distinctive emotions ranging from anger all the way to sympathy and hope.

One of the most prevalent and influential emotions that caused ...view middle of the document...

Hence, on July 28, 1914 Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia, which had a “Domino Effect” all around Europe.

This “Domino Effect”, which turned what could have been Austrian-Serbian war into a world war, was driven by sympathy and loyalty. The Russians supported their young brother Serbia, feeling sympathetic and obligated to not let their fellow Slavs down again as they had in the Bosnian Crisis of 1908. Likewise, Germany demonstrated loyalty to their ally Austria-Hungary by giving them a “Blank Check” on July 5, pledging unconditional support. Signs of desperation were then seen in the Willy-Nicky telegrams in which cousins Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia attempted to prevent the war. However, this was too late as Russia had already began mobilizing, and so Germany who were loyal to allies Austria Hungary declared war on Russia and France. Thus, Germany implemented their “Schliefen Plan” which was driven by German fear of encirclement and a two-front war. As a result, Germany invaded Belgium in order to achieve their goal of swiftly defeating France. However, in 1839 Britain had promised to defend Belgian neutrality, and so now felt sympathetic and obligated to help Belgium. Likewise, Britain had to be loyal to their fellow allies France and Russia, and so joined the war on August 4.

Now that the war had commenced, new emotions arose which began to dictate the path of the war. Emotions such as pride and hope were at their peak as men rushed out onto the battlefield in the name of their country. This sense of nationalism and hope was vital not only on the battlefield but also on the home front. These emotions served as the primary motivation for the women left the duty of running their countries and simultaneously aiding and providing for the men out on the battlefield. The Germans began the war quite optimistically and confidently (as they had previously crushed the French in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870), with the Kaiser promising, “You will be home before the leaves have fallen”. However, this only lasted until the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, in which Germany was driven back, giving the French time to reinforce by digging trenches. Hence, this changed the nature of the war and all hopes for a short war were forgotten. This new way of fighting known as Trench Warfare required a new mentality and even fiercer emotions in order to combat depressive emotions generated from war. While soldiers in the trenches watched their fellow country men die beside them, they could do nothing more than hope that they would survive and triumph for the sake of their loved ones and their nation. As G.K Chesterton explained, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is...

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