2.2 Horror and Hope



    WWI literature deals with the first-hand experience of soldiers on active service and

    the hopes and sorrows of those who remained at the home front.


    The vocabulary below may give you a glimpse of the reality of war.


    1. The Soldiers

    a recruit (a person who has joined the armed forces)

    a commanding officer (is in charge of common soldiers)

    a general (a military officer of very high rank)

    to be wounded

    to go missing

    to become a prisoner of war

    to be killed in action


    2. The Battlefield

    a trench (a deep, narrow hole in the ground

    where the soldiers lived day and night)

    barbed wire (used to protect the trenches)

    no man's land (the area which

    soldiers crossed when attacking the other side)       

    the wet, the mud, the cold

    rats and lice


    3. The Fighting

    The Allies (Entente) in WWI (the French Republic,

    the British Empire and the Russian Empire etc.)

    The Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary etc.)

    to attack or retreat

    to occupy enemy territory

    to defeat the enemy or be defeated

    to sacrifice someone or something


    4. Weaponry

    a cannon

    a machine gun

    a flamethrower

    a tank

    a shell (a large-calibre projectile containing explosives)

    a submarine

    an airplane or zeppelin


    5. Modern Warfare

    a gas attack

    a large-scale use of chemical weapons

    weapons of mass destruction

    an air raid shelter

    casualties (soldiers who were killed or wounded)

    futile (useless, ineffective)



    6. After the Battle

    to recover (from one's injuries)

    to be maimed (after having lost an arm or leg)

    to be haunted by nightmares

    to be shell-shocked (traumatised)

    the aftermath of the war

    empires collapsed, borders were redrawn

    suffrage (the right to vote)


    7. Peace

    peace negotiations/ treaties

    an armistice (end of combat)

    a pacifist, peace campaigner

    a civilian

    to reconcile

    a veteran

    to commemorate





    Lucca Oberhößel and Christian Becker (Year 12, Goetheschule Essen), WWI Diorama  

    Netherlands:  Photos from Ypres taken by students matched with interpretations of WWI poetry displayed in the school hall: