'All Quiet on the Western Front' and some Thoughts on the Causes of World War I
After enlisting, about seven of the class along with Paul Baumer are still together and set up in the same barracks. They begin basic training and slowly the smiles leave their faces. Their anger is directed towards their commanding officer named Himmelstoss who in civilian life had been their postman. Near the end of their training, in the spirit of pique and frustration, the boys turning men waylay Himmelstoss when he is returning to his barracks drunk and, after tripping and trussing him up in a sheet, the boys give him a few smacks with a stick and drop him in a huge puddle of mud. Soon after they are all sent to the front lines. There, Paul and his friends discover what being on the front lines means; they are despised and pitied by the older men who were forced to join, food is no longer an easy commodity and comfort is no where to be had. One of the old-timers, a man named Kat helps take the boys under his wing and tries to help them learn quickly what they must know to survive.
Historical Matrix - The order runs as follows: each number has two sections for the most part. The first section shows the parts of the film picked for analysis and a brief description of the scene. The second contains the analysis. For some sections there was no specific section in the film but the item was very pertinent so it has been added. :)
The Western Front is the name given to the 'moving' line or boundaries of the fighting between the borders of Germany and France. At the beginning of 1915, the front was about 400 miles long and stretched from Ostend near the North sea... down close to the Marne and Verdun in France and into Alsace- Lorraine. Throughout fighting, the borders of the front would vary based on land won or lost by either the Allied or the Axis powers and by the time of the end of the war, the Armistice line spread north from close Antwerp in Belgium south to past Mulhouse in France to the border of Switzerland. This 400 miles stretch is where most of the fighting was fought and the majority of casualties happened. France alone is estimated to have lost of 3.5 million soldiers on the Western Front.
Named after its chief designer, this plan gave a selection of where the war should start and how the military should initially move to gravitate a quick and successful end to the conflict. Schlieffen was appointed Chief of the German Great general Staff in 1891 and commended developing this plan over time to deal with the political tensions and realities he thought his country faces. Originally called the Great Memorandum and written officially in December 1905, this program called for withholding action from Russia while the main brunt of German forces moved through Belgium and France. Then when they were subdued (and Britain would be as well because her allies had fallen, the Germans could concentrate on Russia. It is worth noting that in the Memorandum itself, its author mentions that Germany is too weak to bring the plan to a successful conclusion – that particular sentence must have been ignored or missed during the preparation for implementation. For the first few weeks of mobilization and fighting, Germany was successful and actually made their way to Paris earlier than they had forecast. However, Britain had been able to send some troops to the aid of France and Belgium had given Germany more difficulties than they had expected. So within a few months of the war, Germany had been unable to win and was now facing war on two fronts... something it had been hoping to avoid.
Some historians suggest that this document has had consequences that still persist on into our current politics around the globe today.
This name describes several battles over five areas – Mulhouse, Lorraine and the Ardennes, the Mons, and Charleroi. These areas are considered part of the 'Western Front' of the war near the beginning. The German armies under the Schlieffen plan pushed through Belgium to attack the French, but due to delays caused in Belgium and by the British army, the French were able to mobilize enough for the stalemate to begin.
8. unknown soldier - “It must be doing somebody some good” - From a conversation some of the German troops had together on a day of rest.
I figure that all soldiers have thoughts these thoughts at least a few times in their lives. Why are they fighting, who attacks who is the goal, who is the enemy really anyway? Taking the time to study all of these leaders and read some of their words about why they made the decisions they did is interesting and how people decide who is 'bad', who is 'evil', etc... seems to really suggest to me that these leaders saw territory, riches and power and didn't see much else. People were expendable- especially if they were an enemy. And those who fought had very different thoughts and values and beliefs on war than those who didn't. Same problems, same thoughts and same deaths... for the same reasons over the centuries … just with different prettied up reasons. It's just appalling, I have no words.
9. First Battle of Champagne : Dec 1914- Mar 1915 - Another probable battle that a few of the boys would have participated in.
This battle was the first really significant one by the Allies against the Germans after the technique of trench warfare was utilized. Its goal was to move the Allied forces into new territory and to assist the Russian army, forcing the German command to keep more of its troops and assets on the Western Front. French causalities were a lot higher than the German losses and there and there wasn't really any clear victory for either party.
10. Battle of Verdun: Feb - Dec 1916 : This battle was planned by the Germans in the hopes of taking down the resources of the town so that the French would not be able to continue fighting the war. General Erich von Falkenhayn decided that sin