Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Second Battle of Ypres and the Poem "In Flander's Field"

       There were many artists and writers that wound up fighting on the Western Front during World War I, but probably the most famous poem from the war was "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. The poem reads:

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 was part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) that first saw serious action in the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 2015. This battle saw the first wide scale use of poison gas. McCrae wrote the poem in honor of a friend of his killed during the battle.

        The Great War channel on YouTube has a good video on the main part of the battle, which I have embedded below.


          At about the 8:30 mark, the host begins to discuss the overall bravery exhibited by the troops, even when sent to certain death, and notes that the bravest and the best were also the first to have died in the War. The reason this sticks out to me is that World War I introduced great changes, many not for the best, such as pulling women from the home to work in factories, women's suffrage, and a general post-war decadence, and greatly advancing the cause of socialism and communism. From an r/K perspective, the war had so greatly depleted the K-selected individuals, it was inevitable that r would be ascendant.

No comments:

Post a Comment