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A letter from the German Trenches

Raemaekers, Louis, 1916, Chromolithograph
A letter from the German Trenches
A letter from the German Trenches
A letter from the German Trenches
Library Item
Item no
A letter from the German Trenches
"We have gained a good hit: our cemeteries now extend as far as the sea."

"The unceasing efforts of the Allies and the Germans to outflank one another northwards, after the deadlock of the battle of the Aisne, led to the battle line being extended, by the middle of October 1914, to the sea. In tow striking articles, 'Littérature de Guerre,' published in the 'Journal de Geneve,' 19 April and 14 June 1915, M. Romain Rolland showed that the young German intellectuals were far from sharing in the frenetic bellicosity of their elders. And he cites the following fragments of a verse drama by the young poet, Fritz von Unruh, a lieutenant of Uhlans on the western front:

'The two scenes reproduced by the "Neue Zurcher Zeitung" depict a muddy blood-stained trench where German soldiers, like beasts in slaughter-house, are dying or about to die with bitter words, and the officers, who are getting drunk on champagne round a 42 degree cannon, laughing and stupefying themselves till they fall down overcome with fatigue and sleep. From the first scene I extract these terrible words from one of the men who sit waiting in the trench under the shrapnel, 'a man of 30': 'At home they laugh, - they drink to every victory. - They send us to have our throats cut like butchered beasts, and they say - 'It's war!' When it's all over, they will have no feeling, - they will fete us for a year or two, but the first disabled man going grey and they will be mocking his white hairs....."
Artist / maker
34.6 x 25.8 cm
Art and Design Library
Louis Raemaekaers' drawings are reproduced by kind permission of the Louis Raemaekers Foundation.