“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. ” This famous quote from Mohandas Gandhi demonstrates the destructive consequences of vengeance. In addition to Gandhi’s quote, World War one is a case demonstrating the corruption of vengeance. This war took place in Europe and began with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand from Austria-Hungary. Gavril Princip, a Serbian, was responsible for the assassination, leading to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. His motivation was due to Serbia being oppressed by AustriaHungary.
More countries joined this war either out of hunger for power or emotion. Power craving countries wanted to expand their territory and gain access to resources. Other countries such as Russia wanted to protect Serbia because they both came from the same ethnicity and France wanted revenge against Germany for their past actions. Individual’s motivation to join the world war was driven by strong sense of nationalism being commercialized at the time and peer pressure from authority figure such as parents and teachers.
The book All Quiet on the Western Front written by Erich Maria Remarque covers the topic of how the misinterpretation of war impacted and destroyed the life of soldiers. The effects of World War resulted in the short term substantial loss of life towards soldiers and undergoing dehumanization which acquired Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and in the long term the war created economic difficulty, especially for Germany due to the Treaty of Versailles, besides the death of its workforce and implanted a fascist government system for countries.
Many believed that becoming a soldier in WWI would be a righteous service, however they soon discovered the negative consequences of death and the risk of losing sense of life which is dehumanization and leads to the cause of PTSD. Death on the battlefields in war can be a gruesome and painful experience. Remarque displays a really visual sense of what death is like on the battlefield, “We see men living with their skulls blown open; we see soldiers run with their two feet cut off [… ] we find one man who has held the artery of his arm in his teeth for two hours in order not to bleed to death.
The sun goes down, night comes, the shells whine, life is at an end. “( Remarque 134). The men that are alive yet their skulls are blown open is an interesting juxtaposition Remarque uses on how something alive can also have its skull blown open which conveys death. The author really transports you to the scene of the action, one can just imagine how painful it must be to hold the artery of his or her arm with its teeth for a long period of time, and all the pain ironically is to live.
The mood presented in this quote is not a positive one, it brings pain, death, and darkness especially when the sun goes down which brings darkness and an end to the beautiful gift of life. World War One’s impact on soldiers is not just dying but living through the experience in the battle field which can dehumanize a person leaving them with no hope for anything. As a soldier, Remarque shows how when a person is dehumanized, they lose themselves into a state of mind with the one track mind of survival “At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, [… By the animal instinct that is awakened in us we are led and protected. [… ] One cannot explain it. A man is walking along with thought or heed; — suddenly he throws himself down on the ground and a storm of fragments flies harmlessly over him; —yet he cannot remember either to have heard the shell coming or to have thought of flinging himself down. [… ] It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how”(Remarque 56).
This proves the dehumanization of soldiers, how they might have thought and be logical for a moment but in the next something else, an illogical survival mode instinct, takes over. One can see the effects of this becoming an even greater problem when this instinct dominates the person over what they thought was a threat when in reality it could be a sound or sight we listen or see every day,”After I have been startled a couple of times in the street by the screaming of the tramcars, which resembles the shriek of a shell coming straight for one, somebody taps me on the shoulder. (Remarque 165). This quote from the book is the perfect example to explain how PTSD affects soldiers, the instinct takes over when the resemblance of a sound that could have been death back on the battlefield when in reality, in Paul’s case, was the screaming of the tramcars. What started of as a nationalist virtuous intention of joining the war ended up causing great damage to the soldiers bringing painful death or a painful life of dehumanization and PTSD.
While the individual soldiers and citizens faced loss of life and PTSD as a cause of the war, in a longer term the economic difficulty, especially to Germany when they signed the treaty of Versaille, leading to a larger consequence of a fascist government also had a huge impact. The challenges the economy in some countries faced were crucial because of the destruction caused by the war, however the one with most debt was Germany because of the Treaty of Versailles.
This treaty made by the Allies, consisting of mainly Britain, France, and the U. S. , stated that that Germany was responsible for all the destruction and that they must financially pay a huge price. Germany paid for the war primarily by borrowing money, this debt combined with reparation payments to the Allies after the war and German banks overprinting paper money led to extreme levels of inflation during the 1920s in Germany” (Consequences of World War | Document A Set). According to this evidence, Germany’s impact from the war made them suffer a great loss, in trying to fix it they made it worse by causing inflation.
Many people came to be poor and generations after would be affected in the same effect of economic unstability. Adolf Hitler, a nationalist corporal, took advantage of this weakness and as his Nazi group seemed efficient, he was appointed chancellor and later became dictator. In his plans to improve Germany and remove the debt, he turned the government system into a fascist state, “Above all, Fascism… believes neither in the possibility nor the usefulness of perpetual peace. [… ] War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts a stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to mee it[… fascism sees the state as an absolute”(Consequences of World War I Document B Set). It is clear that fascism is violent and nationalistic, it does not encourage the goal for peace and the people are worthless without contributing to the state.
Whoever controls the state controls the people and a fascist leader promotes war, it is obvious that a fascist government can cause future trouble since the people are blinded and the leader is power hungry. Under these morals Hitler was to govern, striving for Germany to be economica ically stable again, and this government system caused World War II. We can conclude that the economic hardship of countries created a massive impact, specially towards Germany since they ended up doing more harm trying to fix the problem by establishing a fascist government. As mentioned, the implications of WWI in the short term was death amongst soldiers, dehumanization, and PTSD; in the long term, the effects of WWI include economic crises and a fascist foundation for countries, mostly Germany because of the Treaty of Versailles.
The resolution of the war left a scar in history and a trigger for other problems, such as fascism which lead to the rise of Hitler, an evil dictator. The romantic views of war and becoming a hero of the nation before the actual experience of war, resulted being hell for soldiers since it caused death, pain, dehumanization, and PTSD. On a larger scale the war impacted countries economically and due to the Treaty of Versaille, Germany was in most debt and their attempt to fix this lead to the birth of fascism. World War one definitely had negative short and long term impacts, would Ghandi have approved?