This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Why Did Some Men Desert And Refuse To Obey Orders In The Western Front, And Were They Treated Too Harshly? Looks At The Results Of Shell Shock And Punishments In The Trenches.

1621 words - 6 pages

Why did some men desert or refuse to obey orders on the Western Front and were they treated to harshly?The western front was a place of in despicable suffering and death. The trenches were damp and wet. They were brimming with disease. Amongst this there was constant shell fire described as 'true hell on Earth.' The trenches were physical protection from the raging war, but they offered no physiological shelter. Numerous men were pushed past their limits. This lead to soldiers trying to escape. They often deserted and refused to obey orders. Strict leaders like General Haig looked this upon harshly. Because of this, men and boys were sentenced to death. This essay looks at why the soldiers chose to desert and refused to obey orders on the Western Front when they knew the consequences. It explains the different views on the soldiers found guilty of their charges from separate ends of the rankings spectrum.Shell shock, now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was a common and honest reason for desertation. There were two views on PTSD at that time, neither of them quite right. The first one was that shellshock was just cowardice. A large number of soldiers with the symptoms were put down as malingerers and sent back to the front line. The second theory behind shell shock was that it was caused by heavy artillery. They thought that basting shells create a vacuum and that when air rushes into the vacuum it disturbs the cerebro-spinal fluid, which in turn upsets the workings of the brain. Some doctors said that the only cure for shell shock was complete rest from fighting. Senior officers were likely to be sent home to recuperate, but there was a lot less sympathetic view for ordinary soldiers. Because of this, the men who went back to the trenches responded in various ways. In some cases men committed suicide. Others broke down under pressure and refused to obey orders. Another response to the pressure of shell shock was desertion.There are many symptoms of shell shock. The early symptoms were tiredness, irritability, giddiness, lack of concentration and headaches. Eventually the men would have mental breakdowns. More extreme symptoms ranged from uncontrollable diarrhoea to unrelenting anxiety. Soldiers who had bayoneted men in the face developed hysterical tics of their own facial muscles. Stomach cramps seized those who knifed their foes in the abdomen. Snipers lost their sight. Many had terrifying nightmares. An infantry captain complained 'the face of a boche that I have bayoneted with its horrible gurgle and grimace comes sharply into view.' Sometimes this occurred 'right in the middle of conversations.'The soldiers who broke under pressure were treated with no remorse. A soldier who disobeyed an officer either got shot on the spot or was court marshalled and would most likely face death by the firing squad.Once charged the soldier, who would most likely be a young, defenceless, vulnerable teenager who had volunteered for duty, would...

Find Another Essay On Why did some men desert and refuse to obey orders in the Western Front, and were they treated too harshly? Looks at the results of shell shock and punishments in the trenches.

Saki’s The Interlopers, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

2452 words - 10 pages of camaraderie, is portrayed as a hopeless warrior in the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, where he suffers through the grueling essence of war and bloodshed in his battle for survival. Ruthlessly battering away all opponents on the battlefront, Paul suddenly accepts: “We are insensible, dead men, who through some trick, some dreadful magic, are still able to run and to kill” (116). Soldiers are filled with a dark unknown emptiness when

Saki’s The Interlopers, Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

2682 words - 11 pages A Light at the End of the Tunnel The three powerful stories including Saki’s “The Interlopers”, Erich Maria Remarque’s, All Quiet on the Western Front, and John Steinbeck’s, Of Mice and Men, portray the impact that friendship and companionship, or the absence of it, can have. Hector Hugh Munro, better known as Saki, was born in Burma while it was under the control of the British Empire. Near the beginning of World War I, Munro was enlisted

"Prohibition in Early America" Describes Prohibition in America, what people did to get around the problems, and some of the acts that were instated to stop drinking

898 words - 4 pages There once was a time when a person couldn't sit down after a hard day's work,and have a comforting Martini. This was a time in our history in which our governmentfelt as if the root of all evil was alcohol, it was their belief that if alcohol were no longerhere, then there would be no more problems. They had a good idea, but because of lackof being able to enforce the laws brought forth under the Eighteenth amendment, it didnot make a

The "Oranges and Apples" narative from the book "Friend Of My Youth" By Alice Munro. Why did Victor Refuse Barbara?

1171 words - 5 pages arrives they receive him with a lot respect because of his looks (Munro, 114). Barbara, in the other hand is a looker. She is splendid and disturbing (Munro, 114). Victor and Barbara are the same class of humans. Murray is waiting for Barbara and Victor to meet so that he could introduce them to each other, almost show them off to each other (Munro, 118). This is the main cause why Victor rejects Barbara since she resembles him as she belongs to

The History of Jews in the United States of America: Why and when did they migrate?

1317 words - 5 pages The History of Jews in the United States of America. Why and when did they migrate? The history of Jews in the United States of America is a long and arduous one. This relationship began in the first week of September 1654, when 23 Jewish immigrants landed at New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony ( Now known as Manhattan), and was immediacy ask to leave by the then governor Peter Stuyvesant, for as he said they should not be allowed to infest the

The Oprichnina This Essay Is About The Oprichnina In Russian During Ivan The Terrible's Reign. It Goes Over What They Did And Why They Were Created

645 words - 3 pages During the reign of Tsar Ivan IV, he created a special force of men known as the Oprichnina, loyal directly to him. Although they looked like monks wearing black and riding black horses, they were violent and are similar to modern day gangsters. In a final count, the Oprichnina numbered 6,000. An Oprichnik, one of the members, had a dog's head and a broom drawn onto his saddle, which meant they sniff out treason like dogs and sweep everything

Jews And How They Were Treated

1588 words - 6 pages had and by the decision of the King.Why didn't they give the Jews a better chance and see if they could be equal? Why were they kicked out of the country? How were they treated? This report will examine the treatment of Jewish People.Background Information on JewsJews were treated terribly over the medieval years. In fact, ever since they moved into England and were faced with Christianity things went bad. This is all related back to the days of

How were British soldiers were affected by the conditions and the nature of warfare on the Western Front (1914-18)?

2618 words - 10 pages The aim of this study is to critically examine different types of sources in order to assess in what ways and how useful they are in helping to build some understanding of how British soldiers were affected by the conditions and the nature of warfare on the Western Front (1914-18). In general terms, different types of sources have proved to be useful for this purpose, despite the fact that some of them do not represent the reality. Some

Why did Australia become involved in the war in Iraq and what have been some of the consequences of this?

1065 words - 4 pages President of Iraq. However conflict in Iraq is still continuing, with no immediate end to the conflict possible. There are no definite plans for a timeframe for removal of troops, and in frustration some members of the Coalition of the Willing have withdrawn their support. With almost weekly suicide bombings in Iraq, the people are no safer than they were under Saddam Hussein. The threat to Australia from terrorism has potentially increased, with

The Pursuits of Prairie Settlement: Why They Failed and Succeeded this essay is about why Canadians were able to remain on the Prairies and farm, and why some weren't able to

3076 words - 12 pages rest of society, and unused to living in such a rural environment. No longer could they stroll down the cobblestone streets of London, or visit their neighbour every afternoon for tea. For some, the nearest neighbour, or town was at least a day's ride away . It has been found that proximity to friends was one of the many crucial factors that settlers brought into consideration when they were choosing land for their homesteads . As well as being too

How did Hitchcock create fear and tension in the original audiences of Psycho before they entered the cinema and whilst they were watching the film?

1339 words - 5 pages In the late 1950s, early 1960s people could enter the cinema at any time they wished. People were also able to move seats throughout the film and talked for the whole duration of the film. This was a bad atmosphere for watching films as not everyone was concentrating on the film. Psycho changed this and the way that films were shown for ever. Hitchcock had to work within the environment to create a new cinema experience; he changed things that

Similar Essays

"All Quiet On The Western Front" By Erich Maria Remarque Describe And Comment On Life In The German Trenches During World War One On The Western Front, As Depicted In The Novel

1026 words - 4 pages conditions in the trenches on the Western Front were unsanitary and uncomfortable, to say the least. Some soldiers spent days on end living with water up to their knees, which caused them to catch colds and their feet to rot. There were rats everywhere that were not only foul and ugly but they also carried diseases and ate the soldiers' limited supplies of food. Sometimes, the rats would even start eating at the soldiers while they were asleep.'The rats

Cortés In America How He Got There, What He Did, And What Were The Results

1342 words - 5 pages . Unlike when Córdoba arrived, Grijalva was greeted by thousands of heavily armed, fierce warriors. Yet these warriors did not stand a chance against powerful Spanish weaponry. With gifts of glass beads, the Spaniards were able to settle the conflict. Grijalva soon met the Aztecs, and they gave him many gifts of gold, in exchange for cheap Spanish trinkets. After exploring the land a bit more, they decided to go back to Cuba. Although Grijalva

How American Indians Were Treated By The English And Spanish When They First Arrived In The "New Land"

644 words - 3 pages some of the Indians to Catholicism so they could control them with ease. Conquering was their goal, and conquering was the result of the Spanish coming to the new world.The Spanish and the English had some similar and different economic and cultural responses to the Indians. The English first came in and treated the Indians well and the Spanish came in to stealing their riches. The Spanish enslaved the Indians whereas the English did not. The

The War At Sea And The Western Front

1277 words - 5 pages that are for and against this view. In conclusion, I will give my own opinions and say why I had chosen to support, or to contradict this view.There is a big connection between the war at sea and the Western Front. The reason why the war at sea had begun is because there was almost no progress on the Western Front. Both sides kept attacking each other and got massive injuries in their own army. They want a breakthrough, so they tried to think of