First World Wars and What We Can Learn From Them
Continuous Assessment Paper for Olden Days Studies
Gaius Julius Caesar II
Throughout human history there have been many wars but only two have been fought in the world. These are called World War One and World War Two respectively. It is generally agreed that World War One came first so that one is known as the First World War.
The First World War was based on a novel by Sebastian Faulks and most people think the book was better than the war. The war started when Gavrilo Princip, a Serb with a silly name, shot Franz Ferdinand, a well-connected toff with a silly moustache. Franz Ferdinand was not named after the rock band, as many people think, but thought of the name himself, although he forgot to copyright it.
Ferdinand’s supporters decided to have a war with Princip’s supporters. They tried to arrange the dates so as not to clash with the Bolshevik Revolution since many people wanted to attend both events. The French, as they were called in those days, offered their country for the war since they had lots of muddy fields used only by farmers and nothing much planned for 1914 to 1918. Belgium wanted to get in on the act too since it wasn’t as famous as France and needed the publicity. The organisers let the Belgians host Ypres but ruled that most of the events should be in France since it was bigger and had asked first.
The organisers dug two parallel trenches a hundred miles long. Everybody who supported Ferdinand got into one trench and all the assassin’s supporters got in the other. The poets all supported Princip, the murderer, and many English people, mistaking Siegfried Sassoon for Vidal Sassoon, joined up too in the hope of free haircare products. This side became known as The English. The Ferdinands had Adolf Hitler who was there to get some ideas for the Second World War. He pretended not to be the Fuhrer and wouldn’t allow any Nazi salutes because of restricted space in the trench. Many German people recognised him and tagged along, so Ferdinand’s side became known as The Germans. So what started out as a war for everybody became England vs. Germany.
At first nobody was sure what to do since there hadn’t been a world war before, and for a long time nothing much happened. Then, at Christmas, they had the idea of settling things with a game of football. That didn’t work because hardly anybody could see the game and when the Germans said they’d won, nobody believed them. The Generals said there shouldn’t be any more games because football and fighting didn’t mix, which makes me wonder if they’d ever been to a football match.
Then came the condiment phase of the war where both sides took to throwing foodstuffs at each other. Many soldiers on both sides suffered the effects of pickle fumes and mustard gas. Finally the guns and shells arrived and the war settled down to the slaughter we have come to know and love from films and Blackadder documentaries.
There were some people who didn’t want to join in the fun. They were called conscientious objectors. These included most soldiers above the rank of Major, who kept well away from the fighting. The ones who stayed in England wrote posters saying ‘Your country needs you, so don’t go abroad and get shot’. This annoyed the King, who swore he was George V but was secretly a German called Herr Saxe Coburg Gotha, although nobody guessed it at the time. His accomplices advised him that his name was a dead giveaway and he should change it. He chose the name Windsor because he had a castle there so it would be easy to remember.
The lessons we can learn from First World Wars include the writing of better slogans. ‘The War To End All Wars’ was not at all popular with arms manufacturers. ‘The War To End This War’ would have been far better and much more accurate. We also learned that bullets kill poets as well as soldiers.