The world and its undertakers
It was the most brutal of times, it was the most difficult of times. The days when the undertakers of the world were busier than the bread makers.
“I am really afraid that I may never see those two little gals ever again.”, wrote a german soldier to his wife during world war 1, who died two days later during artillery fire.
Do you know how world war 1 started, why was it fought, who died in it? Does it matter? People who had to die are already dead.
What started off with a mentality of cleaning out the neighborhood eventually turned into a living hell for the European armies as more than a million soldiers died within a span of 5 months of the starting of the war. A million!! I can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine the bodies piled upon one another due to all that chemical dust.
The immediate cause of World War I that made the triggers come into play was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. What was to follow would scar society for more than we could imagine. The peaceful streets would turn to a lack of men and women walking around winning bread for their family. Dozens of letters will carry the news of the death of loved ones only, and nothing else. Brothers, fathers, sons, husbands would go off and die and kill on a mass scale. Millions and millions of young girls will be widowed, millions of children orphaned, millions of souls fractured and families torn apart.
The war that was waging at the borders had far more brutal effects on the hopes of people than imagined. The German and European soldiers used to dig and hide in trenches to avoid enemy fire. This ofcourse couldn’t save them from cannonballs and incoming airstrikes. But the conditions of were trenches were not really good. Germans, ahh, they became good at building trenches, but the french and the Britain armies couldn’t survive in theirs. Shit holes, mud, rain, diseases, whatever it was, they had to live there, eat there, sleep there.
“We now have incoming soldiers almost every day who are escaping their camps”, wrote a german battalion commander in his letter explaining that British soldiers are actually getting captured by germans on purpose because they can’t survive the conditions of their trenches.
“I haven’t washed my hands or face in the last 10 days. We can now live in any weather, sleep anywhere, we have become like this”, wrote a war hero to his mother.
Hundreds and thousands of grenades and weapons made with chemical dust actually turned the earth into a living hell.
Hundreds of soldiers were disabled for life and had to live with deformed faces and artificial limbs for the rest of their lives.
Alcohol used to be distributed to the soldiers to distill their fears of the next assault.
Artillery fires and air strikes used to convert the whole battalions into standing graveyards as they dropped vicious fires from the heavens.
It won’t be long before the second world war would start and people would find it scary to even leave their houses and run back into their dug basements on the sound of the flap of an approaching helicopter.
Even despite the thirst for the blood of such a level and the killing of 8.5 million soldiers in total, the armies would celebrate Christmas eve together.
They would meet each other, scared, in the death zone, exchange alcohol and smoke and warm greetings, all the way to the new year.
The casualties were on both sides. When you engage in war, you don’t only just kill you die too. There is no middle ground. The number of resources, the number of lives, and the crushed hopes that were wasted fighting this war for 4 years can’t be imagined or audited. We shouldn’t even try because there is no algorithm, for there is no formula that can calculate the pain of a disowned soul, the screams of the widows, or the dreams of the young children soon to be engaged in the second war. We don’t have that technology yet.
We can sing songs for the dead, yet they won’t hear it. We can blame the diplomats of the time, yet it will do us no good. Only if we could learn from our history, and not just memorize the dates, only if we could learn from it.
If I had only one wish to ask that would be fulfilled, I would ask for peace. Peace among nations, peace among brothers, peace among neighbors.
Two armies that fight each other is like one large army that commits suicide.