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How and why writers have explored different views of the First World War. Propaganda, poetry, film and Blackadder.

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Introduction

´╗┐How and why writers have explored different views of the First World War? In 1914 the First World War broke out and thousands of young men signed up. At the start many men were enthusiastic towards the idea of signing up for the army. This is because of the attitude the propaganda portrayed and the pressure to do your duty. This attitude changed dramatically because the truth and horror of war became more and more obvious which caused the number of recruits to drop and ended in all able men being forced to sign up. Propaganda is a form of communication, which steers people?s views and ideas in the same direction. In the First World War, the Propaganda being produced was the idea that war was the idea that war was an adventure. One idea of propaganda is the phrase commonly used in the First World War; ?dulce et decorum est pro patria mori?. The phrase is Latin and means ?It is sweet and glorious to die for your country?. It was used to recruit soldiers for the army. One famous image used on a propaganda poster is Lord Kitchener and the phrase ?your country needs YOU?. In the poster the way that Lord Kitcheners eyes follow you wherever you go evokes the feeling that he is actually talking to you and makes the poster more personal. Many young men would have been easily persuaded by this poster because if they feel that their country needs them they would want to step up to the challenge. The poster is clever because at the time of the First World War, Lord Kitchener was very respected against young men and would have affected them. The second poster says ?Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?? The image itself shows a father and his children after the Great War. The son is playing with toy soldiers, which creates the idea that he aspires to become a soldier; this idea plays in the gender stereotype that men should fight in war and women should take part in more passive activities. ...read more.

Middle

Arras is a city in northern France. This city was where the front line was located throughout much of WWI. The British's attack on the Western Front was known as the Battle of Arras, which occurred on April 9, 1917. ?But he did for them both by his plan of attack.? This line is the most bitterly ironic of the poem. Harry and Jack went back to the front line and were killed all because they followed the General's orders. Blackadder Goes forth is a satirical comedy based on General Blackadder, a fictional character in the First World War. The two producers of Blackadder Goes Forth, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, use humour to expose the folly of war. One example of satire used in the program is when Baldrick announces that he thinks the war started because somebody shot ?franks ostrich?. This is very clever because it?s a funny way of showing Baldrick?s ignorance to the war; this highlights that many of the soldiers had no idea why they were fighting. Another good use of satire in Blackadder Goes Forth is when the soldiers are talking about how all they had to do was practise fighting on sacks of straw. This is an example of how badly the soldiers had been prepared for the conflict of war. At the beginning of the final episode when Captain Blackadder is talking on the phone to General Melchett, at the end of their conversation he says ?see ya later?, this is ironic because he knows that he won?t. Right up until the end of the programme the majority of the soldiers all act extremely patriotic and overly excited at the idea of conflict. Towards the end the soldiers say, ?I don?t want to die? and admit they don?t want to go into conflict and that they are scared. This is how many of the soldiers felt and it demonstrates that the soldiers would be seen as weak if they admitted to being scared. ...read more.

Conclusion

In analysis of this movie, it can be learned that war is nothing to be glorified. In truth, it is really a bad thing. Many people lose their lives to war. The movie "All Quiet on the Western Front" tries to illustrate this point and it does so very well. Friends went into war with high hopes but in the end were killed off one by one by the horrific war. They also discussed philosophical questions such as why there had to be war. It can be concluded that many soldiers don't understand the real purpose for war and such human sacrifice. As seen in the German soldiers and friends of Paul, many didn't really want to fight in such conditions where there was no food and they had to live in crowded trenches for months at a time. World War I was truly a devastating historical event. That is what "All Quiet on the Western Front" was trying to say. War is a seemingly meaningless conflict and can be done without. Studying these texts has given me an insight on how World War One really was and has showed me how horrific war actually was. I understand how the attitude towards war changed. In 1914 young men signed up to fight for the country because they thought it would bring them respect and an adventure. Then they arrived at the trenches and where faced with the true horror of what war was actually like. By 1918 men were being forced to go to war because more and more young men were dying and the older men did not want to go to war. There are still many books and films being created that highlight the events surrounding World War One, for example; The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, War Horse and Private Peaceful. Novels and films like this are a constant reminder of how lucky we are. Even though there is a war going on in Iraq it hasn?t affected the entire country like the Great War did. ...read more.

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