The Horrors of War

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The Horrors of War

R C Sherriff, the author of ‘Journey’s End’ was himself an officer in the East Surrey Regiment. His play is based upon his real-life experiences during the war, mirroring the way he and his comrades lived and fought and in a way re-living some of the war’s fantastic atmosphere of constant fear and incidents. Some very strong, positive characters and a hint of humor make this play successfully dramatic.

In 1913, Europe was dominated by two power blocks. The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria and Italy and in the Triple Entente were Britain, France and Russia. The event which sparked off World War One was the war was the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia. As Austria declared war on Serbia, Russia got its armies together to support Serbia. Germany, supporting Austria, then declared war on Russia and France.

When Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, the mood in Britain was one of heroic optimism. Many, young and even under aged, men responded to the government to enlist in the army. However, far from it all ending quickly, World War One lasted four bitter years. The consequences were tragic. By the end of 1918, millions of casualties were dug into trenches in France on either side of no-man’s land.

‘Journey’s End’ was set in 1918, when the German army was preparing for a massive attack against the allies once again. Preparations for, and discussion of, an attack form the backbone of the play. Stanhope, the leader of the group, is the hero figure. He is someone the audience can empathize with until the book unfolds an ugly truth about him. Life in the front line had affected him, as his only way to cope with it is with alcohol. This shows a clear picture of how stressful the war can get and a few ways in which you can help yourself. It is not a rare occasion where a young man, with a lot on his mind uses alcohol to relieve stress.

Early in the play he and his...
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