As many of you know, another school year has started for me – which means less time for genealogy and family history activities. This semester I am taking a really cool class called “War & The Human Experience”. When I registered for the class, I was worried that it was going to be incredibly depressing and boring class with an old professor that has a monotone voice that seems to go on and on and on and on…
Luckily for me, this has turned out to be an incredibly interesting and fascinating class. My professor is passionate, vibrant, and a total history geek. The class analyzes how the attitudes of war has changed over the centuries and in turn, how that attitude is shown in art and literature. Best part? Instead of buying an overpriced textbook, we just have to buy 4 novels that were all under $10 (used).
This class has helped me understand how war has changed, not only through the advancement of weapons, but how war went from some the two sides getting in straight lines to war becoming “total war” where entire cities and countries were bombed. It is also fascinating to watch how war has influenced art & literature. Prior to World War I, art and literature depicted war as an exaggerated honorable and “glamorized” event. For example, the art might depict everyone in uniforms and riding white horses – when in fact, most of the fighters were wearing whatever they owned and very few had horses, especially white horses. World War I brought about literature and art that depicted a more somber, frightening, and truthful side of war (just read All Quiet on the Western Front).
Over the next few weeks, get ready to hear more about how war has shaped our ancestors – and I hope you find it to be as interesting as I do.