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The First World War: A Brief History with Documents Essay

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The First World War, also known as the Great War, began in about 1914 and went on until 1918. This brutal war was an extremely bloody time for Europe and the soldiers that fought in it. These men spent their days in trenches holding down bases and taking in attacks from all sides. The soldier's only free time was consumed with writing letters to those on the home front. The letters they wrote contain heart breaking stories of how their days were spent and the terrible signs of war. The War consumed them and many of them let out all their true feelings of war in their letters to loved ones. In The First World War: A brief History With Documents we can find some of these letters that help us understand what the First World War might have been like for these young and desperate soldiers.
In document thirteen, we encounter a letter written by a young English soldier fighting the Germans from the woods. He starts his letter by explaining how once again he was forced to be out in the trenches for forty-eight consecutive hours. The letter, addressed to his parents, illustrates how devastating it can be for a young man out at war. When he asked for time alone they told him to take a group of men with him and after a bit of difficulty they finally let him go off on his own. While he is out on a stroll he comes across a German trench and kills an officer, he does the same thing the next day. By the end of the letter he simply defines the experience as awful.
Moving along through the book, we find a letter written by a young German soldier on the Western Front. This one soldier speaks about his thoughts on the war. He asks himself the question that many men at war would "When will it all end?" This soldier however is different from our fi...


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...though people believe that, those on the home front have it just as a bad as the soldiers, because they have to deal with the responsibilities of their husbands, there is nothing that can compare to what these men have gone through. The war itself consumed them of their ideology of a happy life, and while some might have entered the war with the hope that they would soon return home, most men came to grips with the fact that they might never make it out alive. The biggest tragedy that follows the war is not the number of deaths and the damages done, it is the broken mindset derives from being at war. These men are all prime examples of the hardships of being out at war and the consequences, ideologies, and lifestyles that develop from it.



Works Cited

Grayzel, Susan R. The First World War: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013. Print.


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