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when they return home what will out war veterans think of the

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when they return home what will out war veterans think of the American who babbles about some vague new order, while dabbling in the sand of shoal water? From his weak folly they who have lived through the spectacle will recall the vast new No Man's Land of Europe reeking with murder and the lust of rapine, aflame with the fires of revolution

A fragment comparing the WWI soldiers' terrifying experience of trench warfare with the idealism of those who stayed at home (e.g. Wilson's utopian ideal of a League of Nations and the various labor and socialist movements following WWI).

A view of "No Man's Land"--Flanders Field, France in 1919. "Flanders Fields" was a generic term that referred to the wide swath of the medieval county of Flanders destroyed by trench warfare.

The desolation of vast areas of France and the high human cost of the battles fought there were expressed by the Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) in a famous poem:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae, who died of pneumonia on the front, is believed to have written the poem in May 3, 1915 after seeing a friend die in the trenches.


Information Source:

Image Sources:
1. "No Mans Land, Flanders Field, France, 1919". Taken by W. L. King. Library of Congress Photo Stream.

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