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How does the poetry of the First World War reflectThe changing mood as the war progressed?

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How does the poetry of the First World War reflect The changing mood as the war progressed? World War One was a war fought between two allied forces, the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance between 1914 and 1918. The Triple Entente was made up of three countries; Britain, France and Russia. The three countries that they were in combat with were; Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The actual fighting started in early August of 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne. He was assassinated as he made an official visit to newly taken land by Austria-Hungary, what used to be Bosnia. He was shot by Gavrilo Princip, a member of a Russian funded Serbian extremist group that was against the possibility of Serbia being invaded just like Bosnia had recently been. This angered the Austria-Hungary hierarchy, and declared war on Serbia, as a precaution Russia got ready for war in support of Serbia. Germany, as an ally of Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia on August 1st and by the 3rd had also declared war on France. The Germans were aiming to invade France quickly, and to do this they wanted to avoid the French troops and cut through Belgium. On the 4th of August German troops went over the Belgian border and as Britain had an agreement with Belgium stating anyone who entered Belgian territory should expect a declaration of war from Britain. ...read more.


This 'sick hearts' are the sleepers as they are happy to stay in the dreary, boring Edwardian age. He uses the word 'swimmers' because the war is like a swimmer jumping into a swimming pool something different from where they have just left and gives them life. He uses the word 'sleepers' to describe the men who didn't sign up because they are happy to keep on living that same old, boring life. He is saying that not even war will awaken them. Another innuendo that Brooke has used in his poem is the actual title itself, 'Peace'. It has been used as an ironic gesture as he does not literally mean peace, because they are at war. In fact he is talking about if someone was to die in battle then they would be at inner peace with themselves as they know they have died for their country. Another meaning for the peace, in the context that the poet has used it in is if someone dies they "rest in peace". But if they were to have stayed in Britain and not have fought in the war then they would have stayed restless due to the dark and dreary Edwardian period. Not at any point in this poem does Brooke actually acknowledge the fact that these young men could die during the war. Instead he calls the prospect of death as "release". In fact in the last line of the poem Brooke actually says, "the worst friend and enemy is but Death". ...read more.


This is due to the fact that the government do not want the public to know about depressed soldiers, so depressed in fact that he would kill himself. In the last stanza Sassoon launches a viscious attack on the 'smug-faced crowds'. He states how they cheer the living home and act as if they were part of the war effort. But in fact they were to cowardly to join up and left these men to fight for their right to live as free men. They "sneak home and pray that they will never know the hell where youth and laughter go." This is an extremely powerful point from Sassoon as he is really emphasising the cowardice of every man who didn't sign up for the original war effort. In conclusion, I would say there is very clear and defining change in mood and thoughts of the war across the nation as the war progressed. As the letters and poems began to reach their families, the true horrific scenes of war were described and shown to those at home. Even though propaganda was still working and men were still signing up, the numbers of men joining the army was dropping. Looking back at the war now I would say that it isn't a surprise that the mood changed so much during the war as many young men were being needlessly sent out to battles to get slaughtered by their superiors who were in luxury houses miles away from the real fighting. They were just using these innocent, young men as pawns for their big chess game against the Germans. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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