Thursday, February 17, 2011

Option 1/ Literary Analysis of WWI

I will be describing the memoir of Captain Henry Huebner titled Service in the German Army, 1914.  Captain Huebner's narrative begins with his enthusiastic and patriotic departure for the front.  Learn more about the life in the German army and the German army itself here -
Here is the part of the memoir:
Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign.  Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village.  On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose.  The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.  It led to a cellar filled with thousands of bottles of wine.  They loaded themselves inside and out with the precious liquid, so that it is no wonder they walked into camp with unsteady gait.   Louvain, which afterwards attained so sad a fame, received us in quite a friendly manner.  The inhabitants put vessels of drinking water in the streets.  During a long halt in one of the suburbs they willingly brought us food, drinks, and cigars.  Towards evening we marched past a splendid red sandstone building, the Congo Museum.  It is surrounded by a beautiful park, through the trees of which we caught glimpses of the royal palace, Tervueren.  Soon afterwards we entered the southern suburbs of the Belgian capital.  The streets re-echoed the tramp of thousands of feet and the marching-songs of the troops.  Thousands of the inhabitants lined the street, watching the endless columns with curiosity and dismay...  August 23rd brought us into touch with the hated English.  A report came that about 30,000 English were in position on the other side of the canal, and our two divisions had to attack them.  Our regiment was in reserve in a forest intersected by a railway.  As we marched to our position in the forest we could hear the rattle of rifle-fire and the thunder of artillery in the distance.  But we were soon ordered forward.  We marched over a railway crossing, and at the quick step along the wide, dusty street of a large village with a burning August sun overhead, while the kindly villagers handed our men supplies of water and fruit.  A short halt was called under the high wall of a park, and there we learned to our great joy that the artillery had successfully bombarded the station at J-, near Mons, thus preventing the detrainment of English troops.  In advancing we passed the munition wagons of our heavy artillery, then, taking a path to the left, crossed meadows straight for the village.  A part of it was already in flames, and the rifles were cracking in the park of a large chateau on the right.
You can find the rest of the document here -
Through his experiences with the German army it sounds like mostly marching, without too much fighting.  His first paragraph dives you straight in and showed the bad conditions some soldiers had it.  He says, the spent their night in a very small village outside, through the rain.  That sounded like it would be easy for someone to be sick or get a disease.  He goes on to talk about after his squad searched the town and nearly saved their lives.  They found a wine cellar, when the water carriers were about to run out.  That is a tremendous feeling knowing that, hey I’m for sure going to live for another day.  After a long campaign it shows the feeling of completion once they finally reached the Belgian capital in the suburbs.  It must at least show great condition.  This document shows how soldiers had the rough life, especially, when they were forced into joining the army.  At least the US gave us the option and limitations to join or not to join.  Germany’s military power could have been so strong because of their decisions the current dictator, which in this case is Kaiser Wilhelm II, had made that everyone nearing the age had to be recruited to join the military.  This would give them the number advantage.  Who really wants children attempting to fight?  Besides the numbers, you will be dropped out faster and lose more men because of the lack of skill.  You can’t just hand a child a gun and say try to aim and pull the trigger.  People go through many wars just to learn how to kill a person and if their lucky maybe be promoted a small rank up.  In August the 23rd they are told by the scouts that Britain is set up at the next checkpoint for their regiment.  The British had 30,000 men there.  The British must have felt threatened to send out 30,000 men to take out a regiment.  The villagers just covered them up as they walked through the city to the fields.  The villagers must of also felt threatened by the Germans if they, out of the “kindness” of their hearts, they took their stuff and hid them.

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