Trenches, Tanks and the odd Sub

Each individual war has generated numerous movies. And every war has its aficionados and this for very good reasons, because every war has its own topics and themes that are very specific for this special war and for this one only. Some of these topics are directly linked to historical facts (there will always only be one D-Day. Gallipoli stands for WWI and there was  no more Gettysburg since the Civil War etc.).  So if you are interested in one or the other of  these events, then, obviously,  you will be more into one or the other movie portraying that war. But there are of course themes beyond the historical details, facts, dates and battles….

The trenches, although still know in WWII, are essentially a theme of WWI. Hence the name “war of the trenches”, of course.  Submarines are linked to WWII. Jungle combat mostly took place during the Vietnam war (and to a lesser extent during WWII in the Pacific). Road blocks and suicide bombings  are typical for the Iraq war. Close range firing is a trait of the Civil War and other pre-technological wars.

I was always fascinated and horrified by the WWI trenches. To imagine that all the soldiers saw for days was just the heaven above them… The naming and characteristics of all those different trenches. Apparently English trenches were rather muddy whereas the French saw to their kitchen areas and the Germans managed to have theirs  equipped like comfortable houses (Paul Fussels book “The Great War and Modern Memory” gives some astounding accounts).

One of my very favourite movies, Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noel) is a fine example of a WWI movie located to a large extent in the trenches. Sure, this movie goes far beyond the depiction of the life in the trenches. I will write about this at a later date.

But what was especially horrifying was the way those young soldiers had to get out of the trenches and run towards extinction on the field in front of them. They ran and fell and died, row after, row after row. Nowhere was this more drastically shown as in Gallipoli.

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