In the Trenches, On the Screen
World War I on Film
1. Origins to 1928
Published Online: 13 NOV 2011
Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film
How to Cite
Kelly, A. 2011. In the Trenches, On the Screen. The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film.
- Published Online: 13 NOV 2011
With 8.5 million dead and 20 million injured, there was nothing great about the Great War except the scale of destruction and despair. The defeat of Germany led only to bitter memories, dead and injured relatives and friends, promises betrayed, and, above all else, disillusion. Disillusion is part of what Samuel Hynes calls the “Myth of the War” — “not a falsification of reality, but an imaginative version of it, the story of the war that has evolved, and has come to be expected as true.” This “generation of innocent young men,” heads full of lofty ideals about “Honor, Glory, and England, went off to war to make the world safe for democracy.” He added that “They were slaughtered in stupid battles planned by stupid generals. Those who survived were shocked, disillusioned and embittered by their war experiences, and saw that their real enemies were not the Germans, but the old men at home who had lied to them,” and concluded: “They rejected the values of the society that had sent them to war, and in doing so separated their own generation from the past and from their cultural inheritance” (1992, x).
- cinema and the great war;
- all quiet on the western front