No Man's Land

The Great War

The year is 1918. For four years Europe has been locked in the throes of the Great War, the most devastating conflict in history. Technical innovations in artillery, air power, chemical warfare, and automatic weapons have changed the face of battle. When industrial mass production, universal conscription, and staunch adherence to Napoleonic Era military theory were added to the mix, they created the Western Front: a Hell on Earth where literally millions of soldiers have fed the war's hunger for blood. Far more died on the fields of the Western Front than men: a world was ending. The scale of this new War, and its barbarity, are staggering; at the battle of the Somme, which raged from July to November 1916, the British lost 60,000 soldiers in the first day, and total casualties for the offensive ran over a million men. As historian A.J.P. Taylor put it, "The war ceased to have a purpose and went on for its own sake, as a contest of endurance."

The arrogant optimism that had inflamed the West following the industrial revolution, the idea that progress, technology, and enlightenment had raised Man (white man in particular) to the mastery of the world and a state of near divinity is dead, gassed and shelled into oblivion. The cream of Europe's youth learned first hand just how far civilization could fall.

Moderator: CrackheadC.

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