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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewJohn Keegan

The English Officer - The Innocents
John Keegan
"The English officer class came to the war as innocents.

"They'd been brought up on high-minded Greek and Roman poetry and prose, and it was a frightful shock to them to discover that their imagination of war, which had been fed by the classical literature of war, was incorrect.

"People died in squalid ways.

"The war wasn't brave and heroic, it was pretty horrible and nasty and dirty, and you were more concerned about keeping dry and keeping warm than you were about closing with the enemy. And people got killed all the time without ever seeing the enemy. People were frightened. People were cowardly. This was a very, very great shock to this over-educated officer class."

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