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Topic: A century on from the start of World War I
Message: Posted by: tommy (Nov 8, 2014 06:05PM)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Nov 8, 2014 06:11PM)
Hard to believe that my maternal grandfather fought in that war. At age sixteen he was a German machine gunner. The horrific stories he told me about the war in France will be etched in my mind forever. (They were very similar to those described by Erich Maria Remarque in his "All Quiet on the Western Front," one of the greatest testaments about the futility of war ever written.)

Thanks for posting that, tommy.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Nov 8, 2014 06:50PM)
Yes horrific. I once saw a private collection of photographs from World War I which I wish I had never seen. I mean, they were the most disturbing thing I have ever seen, so cruel.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Nov 8, 2014 07:28PM)
One day I'll write about the things my grandfather told me- as seen through his eyes when he was just sixteen. Pouring rain as the troop train unloaded, the ground shaking like an earthquake from exploding howitzer shells, horses and men (boys, actually) screaming in agony, smoke thicker than fog, firing blindly at shadows, the smells of powder, blood, vomit and gore.

The following is a short clip from the 1930 film version of "All Quiet on the Western Front." When I first saw it, it evoked the stories I'd heard as a child. The protagonist, Paul Baumer (played by Lew Ayres), a German soldier, has just shot and killed a Frenchman who had jumped into a shell crater where Baumer was seeking shelter from an artillery barrage. He speaks to his "enemy" in this incredibly moving scene:


The film can be viewed in its entirely on YouTube. If you've never seen it before, I highly recommend it as something to think about this Veterans Day.