World War IRupert Brooke andWilfred Owenby Ms.M.Sammut Dimech
• On the morning of 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was shot dead as he was being driven in the streets of Sarajevo.• His wife also died at the hands of the assassin, a Bosnian student.
• No single incident in modern history has had such repercussions.• This assassination at Sarajevo, had shattering consequences for the world.• It set in train a sequence of events that led directly to war on a colossal scale – WWI• How could a couple of pistol shots in Sarajevo lead to such a catastrophe?
A WEB OF ALLIANCES• The GREAT POWERS, as the principle European states were then called, had by 1914 divided themselves into rival armed camps, each camp bound together by a complex web of mutual assistance treaties, in case of attack.
• On the one side was the so-called TRIPLE ALLIANCE.• The leading member of the Triple Alliance was Kaiser Wilhelm II’s GERMANY, by any measure the mightiest force in continental Europe.• Allied to Germany, by ties of blood as well as interest, was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with a comparitively lightweight Italy, completing the Trio.
Against the triple Alliance stood the TRIPLE ENTENTE:• RUSSIA• FRANCE• BRITAIN• Both sides had followed the now familiar path of arming themselves to the teeth in order to protect themselves against the other.
• Princip, the Bosnian student who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was a member of a terrorist organization with close links with elements in the Serbian government.• Austria-Hungary seized on the incident as an opportunity to settle scores with Serbia once and for all.
• And it was emboldened to this by virtue of Kaiser Wilhelm’s full-blooded support.• The view from Berlin was that Russia would not intervene to defend its Serbian friends and fellow Slavs, and by failing to do so would lose credibility as a Great Power. But ……
Key Dates• 28 June Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated• 28 July Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia• 1 August Germany declares war on Russia• 3 August Germany declares war on France and invades Belgium• 4 August Britain declares war on Germany
• In such a seemingly careless way did the Great Powers of Europe find themselves at war.• What sort of war did they expect it to be?• Military experts and the public at large, on both sides, were, in general, agreed on one point: that it would not last long.
• There was patriotic frenzy in all European capitals during those heady days of early August.• In the first 18 months of war, more than two million men were borne to the recruiting stations on a wave of nationalistic fervour.
This carnival-likeatmosphere infected thesoldiers too- as theydashed off to the Front.“It will be over byChristmas”
War Poetry• The English poetry of WWI can be divided roughly into two periods.• At the outbreak, the poets celebrated the war and shared a simple heroic vision of noble sacrifice for one’s country
• The embodiment of this type of poetry is Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier.
• But the naïve idealism died amid the appalling carnage of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.• The young men who experienced it, forged a new kind of poetry; poetry that for the first time faced up to the full horror of the war. Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est is the best example.
• He was commissioned in the Royal Naval Division and in October 1914 took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Antwerp – his only limited experience of military action.• While back in England for training, he wrote the five 1914 Sonnets.• The Soldier is the most famous of all
• At the end of February 1915, Brooke sailed with the Hood Battalion for the Dardanelles.• While apparently recovering from sunstroke and a sore on his lip, he was suddenly taken seriously ill.• Diagnosed as suffering from acute blood poisoning, he was transferred to a French hospital ship, and died on 23rd April 1915.
• He was buried in an olive grove on the Greek island of Skyros.
THE SOLDIER If I should die; think only this of me:That there’s a corner of a foreign field That is for ever England.
There shall beIn that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity. All a poet can do today is warn.
Poisonous Gas in WWIThe first gas attack took place on 22 nd April1915, when French-Algerian troops werestationed near the Belgian town of Ypres.The chlorine gas could be seen as agreenish-yellow cloud moving towards thesoldiers from the German front.
Types of GasesCHLORINE – severe breathing difficultiesDIPHOSGENE & PHOSGENE – severebreathing difficultiesTEAR GAS – instant pain in the eyes,cramp of the eyelids, irritation to nose,mouth, throat and airways
MUSTARD GAS• The most widely reported and perhaps the most effective gas of WWI.• It was introduced by Germany in July 1917.• It burned and blistered the skin, caused temporary blindness, and if inhaled, flooded the lungs and led to death.
• It caused internal and external bleeding and attacked the bronchial tubes.• This was extremely painful and most soldiers had to be strapped to their beds.
Gas Masks• The first masks supplied to soldiers were somewhat makeshift – basic goggles protected the eyes, and mouth pads made of flannel or other absorbent materials were worn over the mouth.• Chemical-soaked pads neutralized the gas although soldiers sometimes soaked them in their own urine.
• By the middle of the war more protective masks were issued to soldiers which consisted of• full face masks or goggles and respirators.
Dulce et Decorum estBent double like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, wecursed through sludge,Till on the haunting flares we turned ourbacks,And towards our distant rest began totrudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost theirbootsBut limped on, blood-shod. All went lame;all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hootsOf tired, outstripped Five – Nines thatdropped behind.
- An ecstasy of fumbling,Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out andstumbling,And flound’ring like a man in fire andlime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thickgreen light,As under a green sea, I saw himdrowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,He plunges at me, guttering, choking,drowning
If in some smothering dreams, you toocould paceBehind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in hisface,His hanging face like a devil’s sick of sin;If you could hear at every jolt, the bloodCome gargling from the froth-corruptedlungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cudOf vile, incurable sores on innocenttongues,-
My friend, you would not tell with suchhigh zestTo children ardent for some desperateglory,