The Great War (1914-1918) - Episode 5: Mutiny

·Siegfried Sassoon – recovering from bullet wound in England in 1917 questions aim of war.
·1916: Jutland, Verdun, Somme. Lord Kitchner dies in the North Sea after mine explosion.
·1917 – soldiers ask why are they fighting for.
·Shell shock.
·Craiglockhart. The "talking cure". Freud's psychoterapy.
·Sassoon's brother dies in Gallipoli. Robert Graves.
·Sassoon wounded – April 1917.
·July 31st, 1917 – Sassoon's letter to his CO published in The Times.
·August 23rd, 1917 – Sassoon sent to Craiglockhart. Sassoon and Owen meet.
·Mutiny in the French army. Louis Barthas. Robert Nivelle.
·April 16th, Chemin des Dames, near Soissons.
·Mutiny on the Western Front. Nivelle replaced by Philippe Pétain.
·Russia and the Eastern Front.
·Shortages of bread in Russia.
·Revolution. 24th February 1917. Abdication of the Tsar.
·The Women's Battalion.
·Lenin. The October Revolution. December 1917: Russian's Armistice with the Central Powers.
·Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, March 1918.

First of all, the poems and the episode are related to the dichotomy of wanting to go back home and the doubts the soldiers had about how would be England like when they were there again, as we can see in the soldiers' song 'I want to go home' and F. W. Harvey's 'If We Return (Rondeau)', this one showing the fact that being in a war makes somebody different from who he was.

Then we move on to the poliedric visions about war: the persistence of mud as a characteristic of being in the trenches (as in Ivor Gurney's 'Blighty'), the still pro-patriotic vision of war from a false-feminist view (as in 'War Girls' by Jessie Pope), questions about the futility of war (as in Geoffrey Faber's 'Home Service': "It isn't only actual war that's hell,/I'll say. It's spending youth and hope alone/Among pretences that have ceased to deceive"), the touch of doubt that accompanies the survivor's question and his lack of security and comfort in 'The Survivor Comes Home' by Robert Graves, the question of the Blighty in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Sick Leave' (where Sassoonn pictures the noiseless dead who seek him out reproaching him for not being back at the front with his Battalion), the remorses of those at home as in Richard Aldington's 'Reserve', the feminine point of view of how official letters to relatives of soldiers fighting at the front were received in Robert Frost's 'Not to Keep', the change in soldiers' minds asking themselves if war is dishonourable as in Siegfried Sassoon's 'Blighters', the religious and domestic vision of war in 'The Admonition: To Betsey' by Helen Parry Eden, the experience of war so close to home in 'Zeppelins' by Nancy Cunard, the domestic and private life in nancy Cunard's 'Education' and Jessie Pope's 'Socks' confronted to war, or the revolution that watching war in cinemas ment to civilians so brilliantly expressed in 'A War Film' by Theresa Hooley or in 'The War Films' by Sir Henry Newbolt, the father who has drowned himself on learning of the death of his soldier son in 'Epitaphs: A Son' and 'I looked up from my writing' by Thomas Hardy, the fight against pain even at an absurd point as in 'Picnic' by Rose Macaulay, the satirical contrast of the moral improvement to British soldiers promised by a Bishop with the physical damage and moral degradation that they actually experience in 'They' by Siegfried Sassoon, the Blighty wounds in 'Portrait of a Coward' by Ivor Gurney, the effects of war in teenagers and how wounded soldiers helped each others in 'In A Soldiers' Hospital I: Pluck' and 'In A Soldiers' Hospital II: Gramophone Tunes' by Eva Dobell, or the ironical response to a pro-patriotic picture published in London that showed three wounded soldiers smiling in 'Smile Smile Smile' by Wilfred Owen.

The last poems of the section are the most shocking from the vital and the poetic points of view. Margaret Postgate Cole final line in 'The Veteran' show how was actually war fought: by young people that will end up with a life broken by war. The completely brilliant comparison of the black, white, brown and green spines of his books to his once straight-backed comrades marching off to their deaths (Blighty theme again) in 'Repression of War Experience' by Siegfried Sassoon. The particular obsessions of soldiers in the front, as in 'A Child's Nightmare' by Robert Graves. The incomparable description of soldiers who have suffered mental disorders because of war in Wilfred Owen's 'Mental Cases' (that we can see in the episode). And how a text can personify war and death at the same time, as 'The Death-Bed' by Siegfried Sassoon'.

However, I've missed any poem in relation to The October Revolution, an event that wouldn't have happened without WWI.

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