They Shall Not Grow Old

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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01 February 2019 11:44
 

They Shall Not Grow Old (trailer)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcgceA64aAI 

Documentary.  Archival WW1 footage brought to life with new technology.  Lip readers studied newsreels so we can even hear what they were saying.

Beside the carnage caused by modern weapons, what else were doctors and nurses coping with in the field hospitals?  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862337/

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.

[ Edited: 02 February 2019 10:48 by unsmoked]
 
 
Ola
 
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Ola
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08 February 2019 13:45
 

This is such a riveting film! Horrific and fascinating.

But I had to turn it off when they were talking about the rats eating bodies and I’m scared to turn it back on again until I’m ready for more horror.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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25 February 2019 17:28
 

Last November 11th marked the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I, a day once known as Armistice Day. That date passed without much fanfare here in the United States; it’s a shame, the shortness of our collective memory. One hundred years is not a long time. I have a friend who is 92 years old. She’s only a few years short of the century mark and represents, in my mind, how World War One is just one very long lifetime away — only one.

It is understandably easy to watch the grainy, jumpy, scratched and out-of-sync film footage that we are used to seeing in documentaries about the First World War, and to dismiss it offhand as being “long ago and far away.” This decaying celluloid too easily removes us from the humanity of these young, naive soldiers going to war. These young men were expecting war to be a noble, romantic and even gentlemanly enterprise. After all, mounted cavalry with swords were being used at the beginning of the war. What they actually experienced was the dawning of industrial and technological mass murder carried out on a grand scale never seen before by human beings. 

Peter Jackson has performed a feat of magic in They Shall Not Grow Old. He’s taken this decrepit black and white footage and has used digital technology to breath life into it. The beginning of the film — which shows young men willingly signing up to become soldiers, being trained and outfitted, and then being shipped off to France — is shown in black and white. When they arrive at the front, the film becomes colorized and the emotional atmosphere changes completely. The young men on film come alive. You sense how vulnerable they are, maneuvering through a wasteland of trenches, dead stick-trees, decaying corpses, churned-up earth, shell craters, barbed wire and mud.

Surprisingly, the men being filmed are mainly seen smiling for the camera. There, in the yawning jaws of hell, they grin like school boys. I suppose that’s exactly what many of them were.

In the voice overs at the beginning of the film, WWI veterans recorded in the 50s and 60s, tell how the war was an enriching experience for them; how they became men because of it; how they wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I’ve read one article that criticized Jackson for selecting these particular narrations, accusing him of romanticizing war. Perhaps. Jackson is obviously a war buff. But then again, maybe these veterans had experienced something akin to transcendence. They had been removed from the ordinary and mundane, and placed in a heightened reality where death could come at any second. I’ve read that, paradoxically, people often feel most alive when they are closest to death. 

Regardless, by the end of the film, one gets a sense of the toll the war took out on these young veterans through alienation and unsettled, disrupted lives.

At the very end Jackson addresses the audience. He advises us to question older relatives for tales that they’ve heard from their fathers or grandfathers who were in the Great War, so that these memories will not be lost.

I recall my mother telling me that her uncle Burt was killed in The Battle of Belleau Wood. He died from inhaling mustard gas. It was a horrible way to die.

Does anyone have relatives who fought in World War I? Any stories passed down that you would like to share?

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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25 February 2019 17:45
 

No stories, although relatives on my father’s side fought in WWI.  But to your point about forgetting “the Great War”, have you ever seen the WWI memorial on the Washington, D.C. Mall?  It’s pathetic. It’s stuck behind some trees and very small.  WWII has a fantastic and relatively new memorial, Vietnam has its Wall and Korea has those spooky statues.  But WWI looks like an afterthought.

Looks like there are plans to build a proper one in Pershing Park.

 
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26 February 2019 00:42
 

No, I’ve never been to Washington D.C., so I haven’t seen the memorial you are mentioning. It sounds pretty sad from the way you describe it.

I think there was a lot of resistance in America about getting involved in World War One at the time. A lot of people didn’t see why America should get involved in a war that didn’t really concern them, a war that they considered Europe’s problem. They may have been right. Perhaps this has something to do with the palsity of memorials to WWI.

I know of only one WWI memorial in Los Angeles county and it’s in Pasadena near the Norton Simon Museum. There’s also Pershing Square near downtown L.A., named after the WWI general, but I don’t remember if there is a memorial of some kind there or not.

[ Edited: 26 February 2019 00:48 by Cheshire Cat]
 
 
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26 February 2019 16:38
 
Ola - 08 February 2019 01:45 PM

This is such a riveting film! Horrific and fascinating.

But I had to turn it off when they were talking about the rats eating bodies and I’m scared to turn it back on again until I’m ready for more horror.

Yeah, it’s amazing that humans lived through such horror. It’s gritty and difficult to watch in parts.

 
 
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26 February 2019 16:42
 
unsmoked - 01 February 2019 11:44 AM

They Shall Not Grow Old (trailer)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcgceA64aAI 

Documentary.  Archival WW1 footage brought to life with new technology.  Lip readers studied newsreels so we can even hear what they were saying.

Beside the carnage caused by modern weapons, what else were doctors and nurses coping with in the field hospitals?  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862337/

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.

Thanks for the trailer link Unsmoked. It captures the essence of the documentary pretty well.

You saw part of World War II firsthand as a child, if I remember correctly. Did you have any relatives in WWI?

What happened with this thread? Everything is out of sequence. Strange.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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27 February 2019 06:35
 

Please pardon the delay Mr. Cat.  Two threads bearing the same title and topic have been merged.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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27 February 2019 09:45
 
LadyJane - 27 February 2019 06:35 AM

Please pardon the delay Mr. Cat.  Two threads bearing the same title and topic have been merged.

Yes, I get it now; Unsmoked and I posted the same title about the same topic.

I wonder if this has ever happened before?

 
 
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27 February 2019 12:35
 
Cheshire Cat - 26 February 2019 04:42 PM
unsmoked - 01 February 2019 11:44 AM

They Shall Not Grow Old (trailer)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcgceA64aAI 

Documentary.  Archival WW1 footage brought to life with new technology.  Lip readers studied newsreels so we can even hear what they were saying.

Beside the carnage caused by modern weapons, what else were doctors and nurses coping with in the field hospitals?  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862337/

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.

Thanks for the trailer link Unsmoked. It captures the essence of the documentary pretty well.

You saw part of World War II firsthand as a child, if I remember correctly. Did you have any relatives in WWI?

What happened with this thread? Everything is out of sequence. Strange.

My father was 12 in 1914.  Two of his older brothers, Uncle John and Uncle Andrew went to the trenches.  Uncle John lies in some mass grave in France. 

During the Battle of Britain in WW2, when the Luftwaffe was bombing the shipyards down the road from us, my sister and I were sent to stay at Uncle Andrew’s.  He and Aunt M. lived in a village away from the Blitz.  (many U.K. children who had no relatives living in the countryside went to stay with strangers).  I remember photos of Uncle Andrew in his WW1 uniform.  He didn’t talk about his WW1 experience, and I was too young to ask questions.  At that time, Uncle Andrew’s oldest son, my cousin Andrew, was in the RAF stationed in Australia.  My sister and I were too young to realize how Uncle and Aunt must have worried about every letter from Australia.  In that pleasant village, and at our home near the Clydebank shipyards, we saw ashen-faced neighbors who had just gotten a terrible telegram, or a visit from unsmiling older men in uniform. 

Maybe around 1944, back at Uncle Andrews, my sister and I looked out the second floor bay window to watch an endless convoy of military lorries, tanks, field artillery, and endless columns of marching soldiers.  Our cousin T, a few years older, said, “Look!  Those are Americans!”  Aunt M. made up a basket of sandwiches and sent my sister down with it to stand beside the road holding it up.  Once soldier, wearing a different kind of helmet, with different insignia on his jacket, took one and dropped a chocolate bar in the basket.  To this day, my sister talks about that Hershey bar and what he said - “Thank’s Sweetie.”

 
 
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27 February 2019 17:54
 
unsmoked - 27 February 2019 12:35 PM

My father was 12 in 1914.  Two of his older brothers, Uncle John and Uncle Andrew went to the trenches.  Uncle John lies in some mass grave in France. 

During the Battle of Britain in WW2, when the Luftwaffe was bombing the shipyards down the road from us, my sister and I were sent to stay at Uncle Andrew’s.  He and Aunt M. lived in a village away from the Blitz.  (many U.K. children who had no relatives living in the countryside went to stay with strangers).  I remember photos of Uncle Andrew in his WW1 uniform.  He didn’t talk about his WW1 experience, and I was too young to ask questions.  At that time, Uncle Andrew’s oldest son, my cousin Andrew, was in the RAF stationed in Australia.  My sister and I were too young to realize how Uncle and Aunt must have worried about every letter from Australia.  In that pleasant village, and at our home near the Clydebank shipyards, we saw ashen-faced neighbors who had just gotten a terrible telegram, or a visit from unsmiling older men in uniform. 

Maybe around 1944, back at Uncle Andrews, my sister and I looked out the second floor bay window to watch an endless convoy of military lorries, tanks, field artillery, and endless columns of marching soldiers.  Our cousin T, a few years older, said, “Look!  Those are Americans!”  Aunt M. made up a basket of sandwiches and sent my sister down with it to stand beside the road holding it up.  Once soldier, wearing a different kind of helmet, with different insignia on his jacket, took one and dropped a chocolate bar in the basket.  To this day, my sister talks about that Hershey bar and what he said - “Thank’s Sweetie.”

Interesting. Thanks for sharing those memories.