The Great War and Modern Memory

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The Great War and Modern Memory

From Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory, I've gained sympathetic knowledge about life in the trenches as well as the general backgrounds of the Great War soldiers. Though I’ve always known about the general life in the trenches. Fussell explains the trench system and the daily routines very well by including many details most books do not mention. “The British trenches were wet, cold, smelly, and thoroughly squalid. Compared with the precise and thorough German works, they were decidedly amateur, reflecting a complacency about the British genius for improvisation.” (42) Fussell also changed how I perceived the war’s outcome. I had no knowledge of the great technological impact the Great War had on modern society and the things that were invented for the war that continues to benefit the world today Fussell documents how World War I gave us the standardized form, the watch (315), daylight savings time, civilian control and governmental euphemism-and for the first time, despair that technology was driving civilization into perpetual war. Fussell brought light to my previous idea that the effects World War I brought to the home front was long over and no longer being used today. Fussell refers to the example of war that “resides everywhere just below the surface of modern experience”(189). He was denoting the many terms that came from WWI. The common phrases that came from military talk were first used during WWI. It spawned some other things too, not just words. Fussell “Popular discussion of economics relies heavily on terms like sector ("The public vs. the private sector"), and the conduct of industry policy would be very different without the fighting slang (like rank and file) which it took from the war. (189) I’ve never taken into account the life of the soldiers outside the trenches. Fussell speaks of soldiers trenches located so close to the residential towns and cities they could fight in the morning and...
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