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View Diary: Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Obama re-elected edition) (25 comments)

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  •  Today is Remembrance Day (19+ / 0-)

    ... and I hope to post a long diary about the futility of war from the perspective of a few World War I poets and dissenters.  I have spent a great deal of time writing this diary and I hope all of you will support it.  I expect to post the diary between 7:00-9:00 pm EST.

    A sneak preview from "Surely We Have Perished" - Poets, Propaganda, and Dissenters in a Time of War.

    The early poetry put forward the view that Britain could not have avoided going to war in 1914; that the Germans "were powerful and were so fond of bullying their neighbours that Britain could not have deterred them from beginning a world war."  For example, the novelist Thomas Hardy in Men Who March Away claimed that "the braggarts must surely bite the dust".  Rudyard Kipling wrote that "The Hun is at the gate" and that the men of Britain had to fight against a regime that acknowledged "no law except the sword".

    Most of this early poetry also reflected the unrealistic, over-optimistic and sentimental attitude of the British people to war in 1914.  Most nations believed that the war would be short and over by Christmas expecting their armies to win an immediate, decisive victory.

    The war was also seen as a Christian crusade that would bring a new nobility to those who took part in it.  So many men enlisted in a mood of optimistic exhilaration, assuming the war would be both chivalrous and heroic and would make better men of those who fought.

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