From Glory to Gangrene: A Shift in Rhetoric in the Great War

Glory

A generation of poets greeted the Great War with many fine words, most of them capitalized: Honor, Glory, and England!  This capitalization, and all it implied, would not survive the trenches.

Modern progress had been disorienting up to that point, with its rapid industrialization, changes in science, shifts in philosophy and nearly incomprehensible art, but there was still the feeling, before the war, that civilization was marching onward and upward.  The word “progress” itself implies such an upward movement, and few, if any, questioned progress.  That idealistic view of technological advance was gassed in the fox holes.

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