Ernist Junger explores various experiences he underwent during World War One in his book The Storm of Steel. Junger’s book, written in form of a personal memoir, highlights how thousands of individuals were affected by the horrors of World War One.
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When the Storm of Steel was published, it became a favorite in Germany since it adored the greatness of war and the huge sacrifices made by the Germany warriors to end the war victoriously. Junger believes he was lucky to participate in such a great war that will undoubtedly enter Germany’s history.
Despite the fact that Junger’s book is very detailed, it is easy to follow since it is divided into chapters regarding various times spent at different locations during the war. Also, the language used in the book is not limited to those in the military, and hence, any reader who understands English can easily read through the book.
In addition, the book explores the extent to which soldiers disregard life while at war and the various approaches they use in adapting to the deadly environment. Though the book glorifies the greatness of World War One, it also covers some subtle anti-war elements (Junger, 1996).
Accordingly, the book is in depth with several parts that are informative and interesting. For instance, Junger writes that he found so much pleasure when he adventured into war. This situation sounds unrealistic considering the consequences that war presents. In 1912, his father managed to retrieve him from the French Foreign Legion where he had joined voluntarily.
However, Junger’s father failed to contain him when he voluntarily joined another war that started in 1914 believing that trench fights would glorify his true nature. Here, it is crucial to emphasize that it is unfamiliar for someone to volunteer into war. By the fact that Junger willingly volunteered himself, a sense of concern is developed. Apparently, Junger was sane when he made his decision.
Besides, he believed that Germany soldiers had all the strength needed to win in that war. Even after he underwent the battle of Somme, Junger believed he needed to fight on alongside his friends who fought to death beside him (Junger, 1996).
This part of Junger’s book informs us of the determination that Germany soldiers had during World War One. Besides, it is so interesting and absurd at the same time that some soldiers like Junger fought on even after losing some of their friends to war.
Moreover, the manner in which Junger interprets duty must have undoubtedly influenced him during the war. When he explains why he did not run away from war at terrifying times, he says that deep inside his soul there was some strange voice that kept on besieging him to stay, and that specific voice was the power of Duty and Honor.
This can be interpreted that Germany soldiers were kept in the trenches of France and Flanders fighting because they were performing their duty. In fact, it was this duty that determined their relative performance in World War One, and relative performance was directly proportional to the honor that they were awarded.
Another very informative part of Junger’s work regarding duty and honor is apparent when he writes on the urge to quit fighting. He asserts that leaving was not optional as it would have displayed him as a wretch and a coward. Since it was Junger’s priority to gain respect and honor, he persistently and patiently waited until the last day of war.
However, the writer admits that the element of fulfilling duty needed a lot of sacrifice during the war. Junger goes ahead to inform us how far the Germany soldiers were willing to go in pursuit of performing their duty.
Furthermore, it is interesting to learn the kind of language used by Germany soldiers during World War One. In fact, Junger constantly uses the words “fell” or “fallen” instead of “killed” and “dead.” This implies that the Germany soldiers respected those of them who died while fighting. Again, this language is believed to lessen the grief that death usually presents.
For example, Junger calls death “glorious” when he writes about his friend who was departed by the fighting spirits and subsequently succumbed to a “glorious” death. He proceeds to write that “glorious” or “heroic” death in war is imminent and cannot be avoided by whatever means.
Here, the writer focuses on the do or die attitude soldiers hold once they are in the battle field. For the soldiers who survived in World War One, they witnessed the rebirth of a new country, but for those who fell, their names were held in glory.Throughout the book, Junger uses several of such passages and even sometimes talks of death without fanfare (Junger, 1996).
In addition, Storm of Steel is so informative regarding the extent of patriotism the Germany Army had for their country during the war.It is not by surprise that Junger’s patriotism earned him the nationalist right besides attending the Nazi Party (Junger, 1996). Fittingly, it needed more than love of the nation and duty for the Germany soldiers to make the sacrifices they made during World War One.
Factually, Junger’s argument regarding patriotism is very correct considering the fact that not all men in Germany volunteered to fight for their country. Therefore, it is credit for those soldiers who persevered through World War One. Junger proceeds to point out that men on either side of the battle went into war because they put the interest of their countries first.
He concludes by saying they fought and gave their lives for free to Germany unlike their enemies who fell for nothing. Indeed, the spirit of patriotism cannot go beyond what the Germany soldiers did for their country during World War One.
Overall, Junger’s book presents mixed messages in the most informative manner regarding World War One. Similar to other soldiers who were involved in the war, Junger went into it aiming to adventure but quickly got disillusioned.
The Germany soldiers did not give up the fight despite the great challenges that they met. Instead, they depended on the call of duty and honor coupled with the spirit of patriotism to come out of the war as heroes. This book is of great importance to different cadres of people especially historians since it supplies them with personal accounts of an individual who experienced the war in person.
Also, most of the events that happened in World War One are illustrated systematically in an interesting manner. The Storm of Steel remains the most popular book because the writer adopts a clear and open way of expressing the experience of soldiers in No Man’s Land.
Junger, E. (1996). The Storm of Steel. New York: Howard Fertig.