The Great War

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eric_marsh
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The Great War

Post by eric_marsh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:15 pm

The results are in. “The Great War” is a tremendous commercial success. Audiences are raving about the four year long epic even though it has been less warmly received by critics.

“The sights, the smells, the pathos” says an audience member, “it's a thrill to experience such insanity through the senses of so many different humans. I'm recommending it to all of my hive mates.”

A critic writes: “I feel that supposedly sentient beings behaving with such stupidity is somewhat implausible, but "The Great War" is still very entertaining.”

The producers have announced that a sequel is in the works.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
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Re: The Great War

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:42 pm

Most wars are pretty stupid, but WWI was so intensely stupid that it strains credulity. If WWI were fiction, nobody would like it because they'd say it was too implausible. Most wars at least have real battles. WWI was just like throwing dudes in a blender.
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Re: The Great War

Post by eric_marsh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:50 pm

I agree. I've been studying the Great War lately and in many ways it just blows my mind. Trench warfare may be one of the most horrendous things that our species has come up with. You would think that we would learn but as we move into the next century we just become more sophisticated in our means of killing our brethren.
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Re: The Great War

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:09 pm

I forget the names, but wasn't there one incident where the British sent a full million guys out to die in daily charges against the German machine guns? The Germans had an impenetrable defense and the Brits just kept charging it, day after day after day, for a month, until they ran out of men?

Battle of the Somme. That's what I'm thinking of. (I got the details wrong, but not the essence.)

I think I'd shoot my own officers. As least then my death would make a statement.
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Re: The Great War

Post by eric_marsh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:49 pm

On July 1, 1916 the British suffered 57,470 casualties at Somme including 19,240 dead. The generals just kept sending wave after wave of men into machine gun fire. I'm with you about shooting some officers. Overall there were over a million casualties at Somme.

As horrendous as Somme was Passchendaele may have been worse. It was a swamp, made even more so by the craters from shells, where men fought in thick mud. Many men were lost when they slipped into the mud and simply drowned.

One thing that I find interesting about the Great War is that it's really not a part of our national dialog (here in the States) like WW II was.

Here's a some shots of Passchendaele. The first pair are two ariel shots of Passchendaele before and after the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. Afterwards, there's nothing left but mud and craters. It's kind of mind-boggling. The others show the conditions that men lived and fought in.

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Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
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Re: The Great War

Post by Phenopath » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:19 pm

Eric Marsh, you display superb cynicism. I am now conflicted, how can I reconcile this and the inanity of META-BRAINS! to determine my favourite Eric_Marsh drabble?

What increases the great horror of this war is what we now perceive as the naivety of the young soliders signing up to fight. Of course many never came back. In Britain this became a lost generation, there are countless examples of sporting or academic talent extinguished by the war, simliar to a catastrophic event in the fossil record.

In the UK we remember the first world war with poppies on Remembrance Day (duh), or by watching the last episode of Blackadder goes Fourth and crying.
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Re: The Great War

Post by eric_marsh » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:37 pm

Phenopath,

Though I'm not quite sure that I have, I apologize if I have offended you with this story.

I've been thinking for a while about a way to write about the First World War, which I have been doing a great deal of reading about as of late. I don't mean to denigrate the men who sacrificed in the war. I do believe that the Great War, as is often the case with many wars, was a monument to human stupidity. I don't make this statement in regards to the common man who had to serve but rather to the powers that quite unnecessarily unleashed the dogs of war.

As for my being a cynic, I can't argue with you on that point. I'm in my mid-fifties now and I've seen enough so that while I admire the good in humanity, I more often expect to see the bad.

Incidentally, I've read a number of reports about the humanity of those in the trenches that reached out for brief moments of companionship to those on the other side. That was a fine example of the better side of human nature. However their officers quickly put an end to such behavior. Regardless, it seems that no matter whether we try to be good or evil, our actions often have consequences that we could never have anticipated, as can be seen by the story of Pvt. Henry Tandy (http://www.worldwar1.com/heritage/hitler2.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false)

ciao,

Eric
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
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Re: The Great War

Post by Phenopath » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:14 pm

No Eric, there was no offence whatsoever.

I like the story a lot, it is peversity of the reactions which are excellently cynical. The pathos of the first world war is well documented, this is 100 word mirror upon our modern world view.
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