The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 1: Explosion

·Germany: militaristic and volatile.
·Kaiser Wilhelm II: embodiment of Germanic tensions and figure head of German imperial ambitions.
·Otto von Bismarck.
·Class struggle.
·Suffragettes. Emily Wilding Davison. Sylvia Pankhurst.
·Growing of Socialism. Jean Jaurès.
·Tsar Nicholas II.
·Ludwig Meidner.
·The Black Hand. 28th June, 1914. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
·Set stage: Austria-Hungary vs Serbia. Austria vs Russia. Russia vs Germany. Germany vs France.
·29th July, 1914: Austria attacks Serbia. – Russian mobilization-German mobilization.
·4th August, 1914: Germany invades France through Belgium – mobilization of Britain (WWI was born).
·Thought of citizens: just and defensive war. Patriotism. Suffragettes support war.

This first episode is absolutely essential to understand the social mentality and the policy in Europe to know how leaders make Europe go into a war of such dimension. The first descriptions of life in the trenches give us the tone of the BBC series, which is perfectly summarized in that line taken from Wilfred Owen's "Preface" to his poems: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."
The poem that opens the Anthology of World War Poetry is perfectly chosen to warn us that war is to come. 'On the idle hill of summer' by A. E. Housman, the classical scholar and lyrical poet who appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, gives us a rural setting that is menaced by drums, bugles and fifes. These instruments are associated with military music, which contrasts with the flow of streams that has taken the I voice in the poem into sleep. We can also see the first vision of war, a patriotic happy one, as we can read: 'Gay the files of scarlet follow'. However, as what we are talking about is war, we should underline the two realistic visions in the poem: 'Soldiers marching, all to die', and 'None that go return again'.

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