World War One was the war to end all wars. This was going to be a short and swiftly-fought war, with almost the entirety of the European continent under the control of the German Empire. The German plan was focused entirely on this war being swiftly fought, and as a result of the prolongued fighting that actually did take place, the plan was derailed and brought to its knees. Two bodies of literature written about this time period, “Absolute Destruction” by Isabel Hull and “Storm of Steel” by Ernst Junger, both take a look at the events surrounding the creation and destruction of this plan, as well as how it was executed throughout by the soldiers that fought it. Both of these books detail these events very differently; While Isabel …show more content…
The German Command, in planning for a short and swift war, found themselves in a bind when the war started to prolong itself. From the very beginning, their plan started to fall apart, as Belgium, who they assumed would just let them march through to France, took up arms in resisting their approaches (Hull, 2005). The war would get longer and longer and seemed farther away from its conclusion as the months grew colder. As a result of this as well as their Prussian roots, they resorted to dangerously risky and destructive tactics, trying to bring the war to a quicker end while putting more of their resources in jeopardy, a move that eventually did not pay off and ended up leading to the German Empire’s demise (Hull, 2005). Isabel Hull takes a very broad look at the demise of the German Empire and the culture that led to that. Taking a look at Ernst Junger’s book, “Storm of Steel”, gave a very different view from what his successor historians wrote. His account details first-hand his role in the German Empire’s army, as a lower-level officer on the front lines who saw what Hull later reported in her book first hand. In his book, he details a somewhat unorganized and under-motivated approach to the war. He dictates in one section of his book that his journey to the front from
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World War I was an extremely violent and traumatic time for soldiers on the fronts of the war, but even though it was a dramatic time for these men the memoirs from the war was varied on the western front within the German ranks. Two well known books written by the German men were Storm of Steel, written by Ernest Junger, and All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarsque which were written on the same frontier, yet were different on many basic levels. In Storm of Steel, Junger explains the war through his own personal journal that he had written while in the war and though very patriotic and nationalistic the events in the book were as they hapepned in history to the last detail that
In the year 1961, Fritz Fischer had presented his book, which was known as Germany's Aims in First World War and it had been successful in launching a debate among German historians and scholars as older historians severely criticized and opposed Fischer and his book. However, his contemporaries and younger historians supported his book. The book draws a detailed and comprehensive picture of Germany and its aims during the World War I.
However, Ludendorff’s plan backfired when Wilson’s Points insisted that Germany lay down all arms and dissolved its army to no more than 100,000 troops, as well as all parties responsible resign (Peukert, 1987; 46). If Wilson’s constitutional reforms were to be implemented a democratic parliament could have been formed (Peukert, 1987; 24). Obviously Germany was reluctant, at first, to accept all of the responsibility of the war. To add to the attempt of keeping Germany a War state and its reluctant surrender, Keiser Wilhelm II ordered a last attempt by the German Naval Fleet to attack. This created a mutiny in Wilhelmshaven on October 28, 1918 and a sailor’s resurrection in Kiel on November 3rd and 4th (Peukert, 1987; 27). The peaceful revolutionary movement has begun in Germany and the citizens began expressing they wanted a new government. During the revolution the Weimar Republic was forming and it seemed to be doing so with little compromise from polar parties. Somehow, the Weimar Constitution was written and the new government began to practice democracy. Most of Germany, by now, wants to be a viable part of the world and achieve a better standard of living, the newly formed Weimar Republic and fragile economy will be tested with the Versailles Treaty.
During World War II, Germany’s military was superior to anyone else in the world, with far more advanced technology, tactics, and weaponry. They had a fearless leader who would stop at nothing to make his country great again. Their closest rival, the Soviet Union, was almost out of the picture with a death toll of over 26 million. On top of that, Germany had nothing to lose, and would not conceivably stop. So how then, with all odds against them, did the Allies win the war? A combination of factors affected Germany’s downfall, such as lack of morale, unwieldy weapons, and failure to work with its so-called allies.
Tuchman presents three mistakes Germany made. The first mistake was that they used terror against the civilian population. If there was any sort of resistance in the town they took; the Germans would shoot at the invading soldiers, cut communication lines, sabotage roads, railways or bridges, and destroy the food supply. Then the Germans would line up people from the local villages and shoot many of them to make an example. The Belgian Minister once Germany started to invade their country said “If we are to be crushed let us be crushed gloriously.” This not only increased the will to resist in the Belgian people, but warned the whole world about the tactics of German warfare.
Storm of Steel follows the author, Ernst Junger, as he navigates the different battlegrounds of World War 1. The story takes place from 1915 to 1918 and is primarily on the western front with France. The story begins with Ernst Junger’s initial deployment and tracks his time in the war using excerpts from his journal. Junger takes part in many famous battles across Europe including the battles of the Somme, Arras, Ypres, and Cambrai, and he helps repel invaders from Guillemont. He has many encounters that show the horrors of war but he depicts them in an non-attached or even unemotional way. Ernst steadily rises through the ranks until he is taken out of action in 1918 due to a shot to his chest. Even though many scenes show the horrors of war and the terrible things it does to people, the book as a whole never takes a stance on war. The authors true purpose for writing this book is not to make war look glorious, nor is it to make war seem like the worse thing that humans will ever do, it is to simply show war from the view of a soldier.
Soviet powers were coming nearer and nearer to the Fatherland from the east, and in the west Allied strengths had crossed the German fringe. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler proposed to dispatch an unexpected assault in the west that would isolate and dampen the Western Allies and, maybe, persuade them to join Germany in its war against the communists of the Soviet Union. In May 1940, he had bet on an unexpected assault through the thick Ardennes Forest into Belgium and France and had won a shocking triumph. Presently he anticipated history to rehash itself: again German defensive player would progress through the hiding woods of the Ardennes to strike his foes off guard.
Throughout the book “Au Revoir Les Enfants” Louis Malle highlights at several points the typical associations which the majority of people have when discussing the role of the Germans during the war. However Malle approaches the topic from a more complex angle thus forcing the reader to question the general stereotypes and examine the varying attitudes of both the French and Germans, by portraying them in certain situations in which they adopt a sometimes unexpected attitude.
It's a fact, when talking on the subject of war, we presume that if the generals and country leaders didn't start them, they would by no means occur. In a book like Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger, though, there seems to be one more requirement, ready and enthusiastic soldiers. Junger would have probably preferred themselves "warriors" or barbarians. It's within this book that Ernst Junger tells the story of a man who describes and most likely believed that the battlefront of World War I was not a awful place to be, in fact that it was a quite magnificent place to be. Without a doubt, the reader can tell that Junger feels it was an honor to able to participate in Kaiser Wilhelm's war for the good of the Fatherland. Ernst Junger was simply
In the opening remarks of the first chapter, Ernst Junger describes the idealistic origins of many of the soldiers called to action. Most of the soldiers drafted into the war were students and factory workers, all of whom lived a fairly sheltered life beforehand. Being drafted was seen as the adventure of a lifetime. They “shared a yearning for danger, for the experience of the extraordinary.” Much like his comrades, Junger had the same sense of adventure, seeing the war as merely a new challenge to conquer. After his first real experience with war however, his enthusiasm is quickly dashed. The harsh reality set in that this war was not, in fact, an adventure. Junger and the former schoolboys and craftsmen quickly learned that life in the trenches was a challenge of endurance. As the war persists, reality slowly sets in and Junger learns the true violent nature of the war and the constant threat of imminent danger through which he must persevere. Ernst Junger’s accounts in the memoir Storm of Steel show the reality of a soldier in World War I and the taxation of enduring such great trauma.
All Quite on the Western Front and Storm of Steel are two of many influential pieces of literature that reflect World War one from a German point of view. It is important to note that All Quite on the Western Front is a work of fiction that is based on the events of the war, Were as Storm of Steel is memoir that is based on the events of Ernst Junger on the western front. Junger is criticized that he takes a positive stance on the war, were as Erich Remarque’s novel tries to show the reality behind the war. The two authors believed the Great war had effects on those who fought in it through the influence of their perception of the war and how new technology had changed the way it is understood. The psychological implications on the soldiers were a direct link between survival, technology and their rural life style. This phenomenon can be seen in both Remarque and Jungar’s works.
It had been a long time since either side had experienced a real war. For Britain, it had been a century since any large-scale violence. Not since 1871 had any German seen a bloody battle. As it was, not even
In Ernst Junger’s memoir, Storm of Steel, the first remarks are of him stepping off the train at Bazancourt, France. Junger eliminates any details about his life before the war, already contrasting most war memoirs written. This serious demeanor that Junger takes on, one that removes emotion from the equation, persists throughout the memoir and can be clearly seen by the way Junger processes the death of his comrades. By getting down to brass tacks, Junger is able to give a detailed recollection of what the life of a soldier in the German Army was like. Ernst Junger’s accounts in the memoir Storm of Steel show the reality of what World War I was truly like, and how he slowly realizes that there’s more nuance to war than he anticipated.
These officers claimed that the German’s would subjugate France to a similar punishment that Russia received in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The soldiers concurred with their officers and agreed to return to the front lines (Smith 190). The French High Command, however, did not value the treatment of enlisted men as equals and order the executions of a number of the mutineers. The French Command, also, decided that the prudent decision to stop impending mutinies would be the ending of “on any new large-scale offensive” (Smith 195). With the comprehension that moral could collapse further the Allies turned to a handful of new tactics to minimize the number of deaths that occurred.