WWI Synthesis Essay
Bruce Lee once said, “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them” (“Bruce Lee”). During World War I, the mistake of Serbia killing the archduke was neither admitted nor forgiven. A series of events brought together the European continent into a bloody and unprecedented war. WWI depicts that a small error or miscommunication leads to a bigger issue and suffering of people as portrayed through the aftereffects of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
At the beginning of WWI, the civilians and soldier’s initial expectations were expressed through various forms of propaganda, which instilled a sense of nationalism into the civilians and became a driving force to begin the war at all fronts (Maxwell “MAIN causes of WWI). One of many French propaganda, “Credit Lyonnais. Subscribe to the 4th National Loan,” depicted the battle between a French soldier and a hawk, in which the hawk represented Germany. The French soldier stabbed the hawk to symbolize the expectation of the war – win and be back home quickly. In addition, the French soldier pulled away the French flag from Germany, as if France regained their former cities: Alsace and Lorraine. The poster causes the spread of nationalism through the demonization of Germany and the expected rewards from the war. The possible rewards from the war encouraged and convinced civilians to buy war bonds. Each and every country viewed their side as good, and believed they were fighting a defensive war against other evil countries. The sense of nationalism helped arouse the general population, instigated them to take action, and become a part of this war (Maxwell “Propaganda”). At the time the war was believed to be the last war in a long time, so many people such as Paul, from the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Remarque, volunteered to go to war. The war was of such importance at the time that teachers such as Kantorek used half-truths to induce the young students into volunteering. The blame may be put onto Kantorek for convincing the students to join; however at the time of need, one “couldn’t blame Kantorek for this. Where would the world be if one brought every man to book? There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that they were acting for the best--in a way that cost them nothing”(Remarque 12). Remarque makes the point that the soldiers are not patriotic, and it is the nationalism of teachers and adults that causes them to reinforce the importance of protecting the fatherland. Kantorek’s small speech was able to change Paul’s view on the war from dangerous to honorable; however, as the story continues Paul and his friends fight to protect each other rather than their country. Therefore nationalistic heroism is of no value because nothing positive results from it. In conclusion, the beginning of the war was conveyed through the driving force nationalism created by propaganda.
The changing technology of the warfare on the battlefield...