Viewpoints by numerous writers on the First World War

High School ・Political Science ・MLA ・4 Sources

For any person taking a course in political science or who wants to expand their knowledge of history, political science, and even international affairs, these authors' works are certainly the smartest choices. These pieces of study record the inherent economic upheavals, civil strife, and political turmoil of around half a century. These works are candid to an ultimate degree and undoubtedly by the time every viewer is done reading it, the absolute suffering the soldiers suffered will leave them sick at the heart. Different actors have the same opinions on art. However, their way of expressing the effects of war might make it subtle for individuals to understand their main agenda in the books. Different authors might have various points of on the cause of war; however, their depiction of the effects and purposes of the world was might be different.

Winks and Adams, 'Europe, 1890-1945: Crisis and Conflict'

Winks and Adams documented one of the most murderous decades in history, especially to the European continent. Events documented herein have come to be referred by many people to as “half a century from hell.” Themes are explicit, and definitely, one won’t miss deciphering the point of view of the authors of the First World War. It is evident throughout the books that the war was perpetrated by the desire to have more control of the world resources and economy rather than freedom. "Great Britain was the first nation to suffer from the ills of postindustrial development" and that "people in the French colonies of Algeria, Senegal, and Indochina demanded home rule or independence" (p.207). This is a useful insight to the fact that the Great Britain’s motivation to indulge in the Second World War was motivated its attempt to restore its economic status as the most industrialized nation in the world. At this time, other countries such as Germany, France, and the United States were continually developing at a faster pace than the Great Britain. The authors’ point of view on this war was the quest for world dominion for economic benefits rather than freedom of its citizens was the primary motivator to indulge in this war. Clearly, the author brings to life the events surrounding the war and brings to life the deplorable conditions the soldiers were undergoing. It is evident from the book that even though victims of war suffered unspeakable horror, soldiers were not better. It is apparent that no good ever comes from any war; however, soldiers had no choice, and this was their job to do, fight for their country.
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism by Vladimir Lenin.
Lenin documents these events and uses some kind of rhetoric that is effective to an ultimate degree. Even though the author does not directly explain the causes of the First World War, he posits that the different strives and struggles that nations underwent in a bid to globalize and develop their corporations ultimately set the stage for the war. It is evident in the book that before the First World War, that many economies in the world were turning towards capitalism. Due to this, financial capital was harnessed to generate lucrative profits from colonialism, and due to this, the capitalists served the vital function of ensuring that nations got even higher profits. One of the tools that were harnessed during this time was the imperial colonialism; it was seen as a tool that would open the stage for new age and civilization. Lenin’s point of view on the first world is that the war was "an annexationist, predatory, plunderous war" (p.8). Just like Winks and Adams, Lenin brings this idea of economic motivation for the war by reflecting on the fact that for the newly born economies, capitalism, to make more money for the capitalist and cartels. Many financial decisions and institutions pointed towards their quest for economic gains by exploitation of resources and investment in underdeveloped nations. Such actions were the key drivers to the division of the world among the multinational corporations and superpower nations. Due to the annexation of weak countries and economic exploitation inherent in such actions, strife caused by abject poverty from the colonized and the struggle by other nations is what eventually made nations fight. This was hastened by the fact that most businesses done during the time were not genuine since it involved bribery of native politicians hailing from the annexed nations. The bribed politicians sold their nations to these great powers; this made the competition between the great powers to acquire even more colonies in order to expand their markets. In the midst of such stiff competition, other nations and heads of state saw war as one of the things that they could be used to weaken their enemies economically.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Unlike all the other works were written earlier, this work stands out, and it depicts the life of Paul Bäumer, a 20-year-old German soldier. It is candid in a way that exposes the mind of the antagonist using the first point narration. The author writes about the agony and melancholy that this 20-year-old soldier is going through, "Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing anymore. I am so alone and so without hope that I can confront them without fear" (chapter 12). The fact that at such a tender age an individual could have joined the military and experienced the horror inherent with combats depicts the devastating that the teenagers of that generation underwent. Such horrors are brought about by a death of friends and other chilling war memories. In this scenario, soldiers feel abandoned in the battlefield to die carelessly, but when they come home, they feel lonely as well. It depicts the life of a generation, “the lost generation” whose main activity was war. It depicts the devastation that the soldiers went through and even though some survived it, they were destroyed by it. This “lost generation” had eight million individuals dying in a battle that left over twenty million individuals injured and other six and half million noncombat civilians dead. After all is through, Bäumer and his friends find themselves asking why? The author’s rhetoric in this book is crystal clear and is effective to an ultimate degree; definitely, it pulls the strings of hearts. After soldiers come home from war, all they think about is their “comrades” who are not coming back and the devastation on their families. Rather than focusing on the motivation of the war unlike all the other writers, Remarque documents the destruction that not only the victims of war but also the soldiers went through as a result. The only hope available in this book are the different ideas of comradeship among the soldiers in the face of death. This book encompasses the beauty of nature as the only healer and him in the face of bleak hopelessness.

The Face of Battle by John Keegan

The face of the battle by John Keegan is yet another eye-opening book that documents what the foot soldiers and frontline combat military personnel go through. Definitely, there is some motivation for war. The author tries to decode the reason why any individual would be motivated to go to war. Similar to the lost generation by, John Keegan it seeks to understand both the psychological and emotional trauma that not only the soldiers but also the victims of war go through. His point of view on war is definite; he attests that there is no real victory or success of the war, it all boils down to what one achieves. In most circumstances, individuals are mandated to fight for their countries, however, after they are back home from war, they do not feel satisfied with it. He uses candid descriptions of the combat to bring about the effects of war on soldiers and victims rather than focusing on its causes. The author examines such aspects as mechanics and logistics and how they can affect the motivation of individual soldiers. He documented some of the critical moments during combat and the effects it had not on the generals but on the very individuals that came face to face with the enemy. It depicts the fact that even though soldiers and generals might claim that they won the battle, the suffering and trauma it has on the foot soldier are unspeakable. Pretty much, it is evident from the book that he attests that even though technology and weaponry have changed with time, the position of the ordinary soldier has not changed. He takes a different angle of view on war unlike all the other authors; he views war from the devastation it causes on the ordinary soldiers and the victims. His rhetoric is effective since he uses a personal account of the events surrounding the battle "a personal attempt to catch a glimpse of the face of battle" (p. 77).


The authors document series of events surrounding the period before the First World War. Annexation of different territories was one of the most common things at this time, and it is evident by the fact that individuals and the world powers saw it as a way to make enormous profits and find markets for their produce. Definitely, he perceives this war not as a war for freedom but as a core economic strive and dominion over the world in the quest for higher profits. Some of them achieve the very summit of battle victory; however, their success would be haunted by the devastation that their opponents went through as well as the destruction of friends that are not coming back. Evidently, all soldiers, regardless of the ranks find themselves asking the same question, why? It is blatant that after reading the book, war does not leave anyone a victor or looser but leaves everyone haunted by the unspeakable horror and in inhumanity inherent in them. Points of view on war by different authors might differ considerably; however, effects of the war on low ranking military personnel and victims are unspeakable and devastating to the core.

Works Cited

Keegan, John. The face of battle: a study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme. Random House, 2011.
Lenin, Vladimir Ilʹich. Imperialism: The highest stage of capitalism. Resistance Books, 1999.
Remarque, Erich Maria. All quiet on the western front. Vol. 68. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2004.
Winks, Robin W., and Ralph James Q. Adams. Europe, 1890-1945: crisis and conflict. Oxford University Press, USA, 2003.

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