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Causes of war in Generals Die in Bed - Essay Example

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In his effort to tell the truth about war, the author delivers his anti-war message via the book’s central theme which is the brutalizing consequence of war. From…
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Causes of war in Generals Die in Bed
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Causes of war in Generals Die in Bed

From this perspective, this essay will discuss how the causes of war are presented in Generals Die in Bed.
The narrator says “We have learned who our enemies are – the lice, some of our officers, and Death” (Harrison 69). From where the officers are categorized they are by no means casual enemies of peace and, more importantly, not only within the military rankings. This is an implication that war has its original roots in political ideals and trickles down into the military for execution. For instance, the soldiers are given the controversial story about the sinking of the hospital ship Llandovery Castle by German soldiers, which court proceedings later proved otherwise. However, the controversy of the story politicized it, misleading the soldiers into thinking they were on a revenge mission. Further, when the narrator was sent to Britain after being wounded, a hospital orderly told him “that was bloody murder, brother. Our officers oughta be shot for that. She was carryin’ supplies and war material” (Harrison 48).
Two aspects of the novel portray generals and, by extension politicians, as the perpetrators of war. The most notable one is the book’s title. Then, there is the ending where the narrator says “and when the war is done and youth stone dead, I’d toddle safely home and die - in bed” (Harrison 152). The implication here is that while generals strategize and send soldiers to war (ideally to war against the strategies of opposing generals and effectively the opposing young soldiers), they remain in the comfort of their homes. It is the soldiers who die in the trenches supposedly in a display of patriotism. However, the book’s titles as well as the ending are a statement that the war is in fact protecting the ideals of politicians through the military generals. This notion can still be viewed from the perspective of bureaucracy from the first chapter one day before ... Read More
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