In World War One, they called it shell shock. Second time around, they called it battle fatigue. After 'Nam, it was post-traumatic stress disorder.
There will always be another war, Gillia.” He allowed his cynicism to seep through. “Do you know why? Because there will always be bigots and cowards and power-mad devils in positions of omnipotence. Look around you. There has been war here since time began. It’s nature. Animals kill each other for survival, for territory… and for the taste of blood in their mouths. Man is no different.
On the face of it, no one could have been less equipped for the job than these gently nurtured girls who walked straight out of Edwardian drawingrooms into the manifold horrors of the First World War.
Yea ! by your works are ye justified--toil unrelieved ;Manifold labours, co-ordinate each to the sending achieved ;Discipline, not of the feet but the soul, unremitting, unfeigned ;Tortures unholy by flame and by maiming, known, faced, and disdained ; Courage that sunsOnly foolhardiness ; even by these, are ye worthy of your guns.
I crawled in a spirit-haunted placeMade wild by souls that moan and mourn;And Death leered by with mangled face -Ah God! I prayed, I prayed for dawn.
Shitting fucking bastard! Fuck off you massive cockwank!’ - Misty Meanor, during a particularly stressful encounter.
This western-front business couldn’t be done again, not for a long time. The young men think they could do it but they couldn’t. They could fight the first Marne again but not this. This took religion and years of plenty and tremendous sureties and the exact relation that existed between the classes. The Russians and Italians weren’t any good on this front. You had to have a whole-souled sentimental equipment going back further than you could remember. You had to remember Christmas, and postcards of the Crown Prince and his fiancée, and little cafés in Valence and beer gardens in Unter den Linden and weddings at the mairie, and going to the Derby, and your grandfather’s whiskers.
Surely, though, I must have stolen into the future and landed in an H.G. Wells-style world - a horrific, fantastic society in which people's faces contained only eyes, millions of healthy young adults and children dropped dead from the flu, boys got transported out of the country to be blown to bits, and the government arrested citizens for speaking the wrong words. Such a place couldn't be real. And it couldn't be the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. But it was. I was on a train in my own country, in a year the devil designed. 1918.
And then came a damp, cold night in Flanders, through which we marched in silence, and when the day began to emerge from the mists, suddenly an iron greeting came whizzing at us over our heads, and with a sharp report sent the little pellets flying between our ranks, ripping up the wet ground; but even before the little cloud had passed, from two hundred throats the first hurrah rose to meet the first messenger of death. Then a crackling and a roaring, a singing and a howling began, and with feverish eyes each one of us was drawn forward, faster and faster, until suddenly past turnip fields and hedges the fight began, the fight of man against man. And from the distance the strains of a song reached our ears, coming closer and closer, leaping from company to company, and just as Death plunged a busy hand into our ranks, the song reached us too and we passed it along: Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles, über Alles in der Welt!
At the beginning of the war…I had to look in on the War Office, and in a room I found a fellow…What do you think he was doing…what the hell do you think he was doing? He was devising the ceremonial for the disbanding of a Kitchener battalion. You can’t say we were not prepared in one matter at least…. Well, the end of the show was to be: the adjutant would stand the battalion at ease; the band would play Land of Hope and Glory, and then the adjutant would say: There will be no more parades…. Don’t you see how symbolical it was—the band playing Land of Hope and Glory, and then the adjutant saying: There will be no more parades?…For there won’t. There won’t, there damn well won’t. No more Hope, no more Glory, no more parades for you and me any more. Nor for the country…nor for the world, I dare say… None… Gone… Napoo finny! No…more…parades!
In each succeeding war there is a tendency to proclaim as something new the principles under which it is conducted. Not only those who have never studied or experienced the realities of war, but also professional soldiers frequently fall into the error. But the principles of warfare as I learned them at West Point remain unchanged.
When the minds of men slip from realities to fantasies without thinking of the future consequences, then we must ponder. When the hearts of men are entangled with what though might seem great but yet, specious ambitions without pondering over the resulting footprints, then we ought to take precautions. When the hands of men unwittingly and for the sake of self-gratification find the right weapons and dexterity for the wrong purpose, then massacre and cruelties leave indelible footprints of sorrow and bitterness in the hearts of men. We shall always look back to the footprints of yesterday to say had we know if we don’t take a critical look at today’s footsteps. There is always an alternative that is better than good