The Horrors of War In Regeneration And All Quiet On The Western Front

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This mindboggling piece of work talks about the siege of Leningrad mobilized by German and Finnish forces. The siege lasted for 872 days (from September 1941 to January 1944). The aftermath of the siege war very devastating. It is claimed that roughly 2 million people lost their lives, other contacted various illnesses, and others were maimed for life. It basically was a sad state of affairs.

Some of the physical and psychological trauma the people underwent include; starvation caused by the lack of food. The military operation caused essential suppliers such as food and water to be cut of the town of Leningrad. The diary of Berta Zlotnikova a young teenager clearly depicts his sentiments. He wrote, “I am becoming an animal. There is no worse feeling than when all your thoughts are on food.” This depicts the extent to which starvation had ravaged masses. There was also the lack of water. Some people succumbed to death because they were unable to quench their thirst.

Secondly, people became physically impaired as a result of the siege. Some people became permanently maimed. Some diarists wrote on their shock of seeing how bodies of Leningraders had become emaciated when they saw them in the local bathrooms. An excerpt from Ivan Savinkov a factory worker denotes the extent of how the bodies of the locals were deformed. He wrote, “Horrible, only skeletons not people. What will become of us?”

According to Aleksandra Liubovskaia men and women had become so identical. “Everyone is shriveled, their breasts sunken in, their stomachs enormous, and instead of arms and legs just bones poke out through wrinkles.” Such sentiments depict the pain and despair the siege had brought about.

The siege also cause the breakout of various diseases that spread quickly like wildfire. People acquired many diverse ailments that caused their death. Since, the town had been isolated from the outside world, there was shortage of medical supplies that could have been used to treat the masses.

Death is also another element that was brought about by the siege. We are told that the siege resulted in the death of roughly 2 million people with about 40% (800,000) of this number being locals. The effects of death are include; separation of families, children becoming orphans, anger and emotional numbness.

The siege also caused a lot of people to fall into depression. People were basically going mad. The scars of the siege were unbearable. People preferred to die rather than live. According to 13 year old Dima Afanas’ev, “Mama said that sometimes (especially at night) she thinks that we are the last people on earth and that we will live out our last hour in this empty, frozen city.” This clearly depicts how she was at the brink of insanity.

It also caused some people to acquire mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What they had seen had been engraved in their minds. They could not unseen what they had seen. They were constantly haunted by the ghosts of Leningrad. It was hard for them to move on from this tragedy.

In my opinion, I do not think that there is any heroic from these accounts. Lives were lost people underwent untold suffering. It could all have been stopped before it began. Yes, the siege came to an end but there simply is nothing to be celebrated from the siege.

There exist a lot of similarities between the narrations that exist in the book 'The War Within: Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad,' by Alexis Peri and the film The Horrors of War in Regeneration and All Quiet on the Western Front. They include; physical and psychological damage of the victims. In both, many people were physically and emotionally damaged. In both, narrations condemn any form of war. In both there is loss of lives. There are also different types of diseases exhibited in both stories. The only difference between the two is that one was a war whereas the other was a siege characterized by a military operation that prevented the town from being accessed by outside parties.

December 12, 2023

Literature War


Books World War I

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Literature Review

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