To most people WWI is a just a series of statistics or a list of famous battles. Perhaps you can remember names of a few high ranking officers. It is the men in the trenches (and the women in the hospitals) who should be first in our thoughts. They died and suffered in great numbers.
“In the Somme valley, the back of language broke. It could no longer carry its former meanings. World War I changed the life of words and images in art, radically and forever. It brought our culture into the age of mass-produced, industrialized death. This, at first, was indescribable.”
This quotation by Robert Hughes, in The Shock of the New, expresses the unnatural, grim reality that came crashing down on those serving in Europe during World War I. Not only was it a new experience by those directly participating, but in the age of improved photography and motion pictures, man’s inhumanity was captured and widely shared. Continue reading