Tag: Great War

An imagined letter: Battle of Verdun

Dear Mother and Father,

Humanity is mad! This is the truth that my experiences at war have taught me. We attribute such noble qualities as valor, patriotism, justice and morality with motivations for war. But whatever may be the ends of war, the means through which it is accomplished is highly questionable. During combat fellow human beings are turned into mere targets to be struck down. It strikes me as absurd that I am obliged to kill my German brethren merely because they were wearing a different uniform. After all, the differences between the troops in combat are nearly all superficial.
Tell me, what is it that separates us and German soldiers? They too were nurtured, schooled and raised with civil values that we provide our children. When they grow into adults, they show the same chivalry toward women that our young men do. They embrace the institution of marriage and take up family responsibilities like our men do. But the mere fact of being born on the other side . . . Read More

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History of Art through its major exponents: Matisse, Wassily Kandinsy, Otto Dix, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst

1. BBC Matisse
Matisse was an artist who followed a rigorous work ethic. This is true even toward the fag-end of his career, when he conceived and created his monumental chapel. It is ironic that his architecture should garner such popularity, when for most part of his career he gained fame as a painter. He was not a believer in Christianity, or any other religion, for that matter. Yet, as a token of gratitude for a Christian nun who took care of him during his convalescence, Matisse set upon this final artistic work. The chapel he built was unconventional in many ways. Symbolic scultures were preferred over regular iconography. Instead of murals and frescos, huge translucent sheets of window panes were chosen as mediums of art. In these, using brilliant combination of colors and patterns, Matisse was able to invoke an atmosphere of optimism and regeneration within the enclosed space.

2. Wassily . . . Read More

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America and the Great War

There are many causes that led to the First World War, but the assassination of the monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) acted as a trigger in destabilizing what was then a delicate state of European political balance.  A combination of unfortunate timing of the assassination alongside the growing internal tension among European powers gave vent in the form of a war on a massive scale.  Alongside these factors, the rise of nationalistic fervor in some European nations, with the attendant tendencies toward imperialism and militarism had made the outbreak of the war inevitable. (Stubbs, 2002)

The rise of Pan-Slavism, which is a form of ethno-nationalism, in Eastern European countries had also precipitated the war.  The strong diplomatic, economic and strategic interests in neighboring countries induced a cascade effect in terms of drawing reluctant participants to the war.  The Great War was characterized by the long periods spent by the armed . . . Read More

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A Fraternity of Arms – American & France in the Great War

The First World War, also called the Great War would shake-up then existing power equations within Europe and prime the region for the Second World War two decades later.  While America’s participation in the latter was more substantial than the former, it nevertheless played a crucial supportive role to its conventional allies.  It’s support to the French cause would prove to be a major factor in the eventual outcome of the war.  Robert Bruce’s book titled The Fraternity of Arms: America and France in the Great War traces this alliance and places it in the historical, political, ideological and imperialist contexts.  (Thesis) Carefully researched and meticulously documented, the book offers new insights into officially recognized events and behind-the-scene realpolitik manoeuvrings during the war.  More importantly, it is unique in terms of its historiography, adding new dimensions to the study of history.

Where the book diverges from other . . . Read More

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