Friday, February 14, 2014


In the beginning of August 1914, people rejoiced in the streets.
In Germany, Austria, England and France, patriotic euphoria erupted.
At last, there would be war. Hooray! Hooray!
People longed for purification, in a noble fight for their fatherland.
They longed for a meaning to their meaningless lives,
Thomas Mann, Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Red Cross and the Churches,
all the cheering little women...

I didn't like you much before you joined the army, John.
But I do like you, cocky, now you've got your khaki on.”

The enthusiasm didn't last long.
The front turned out to be hell.
Ten million men allowed themselves to be slaughtered.
Twenty million were seriously injured.

In March 1917, the Russians had had enough.
They refused to obey orders. Many went home.
Mutinies broke out, also in France.

In October 1918, even the Germans had had it.
Sailors and soldiers rebelled and Kaiser Wilhelm was dethroned.
The party was over.