War – a very undemocratic affair
The Western Front: An anonymous young French soldier sends to his mother what will prove to be his last letter:
“Dear beloved Mother – it is mid-day, and we are at the forward position, in readiness. I send you my whole love. Whatever comes to pass, life has had its beauty.”
[Letters of a Soldier, 1914-1915]
The Eastern Front: Tsar Nicholas of Russia is travelling behind the Eastern Front (in what is now Poland) and writes home to his wife, the Tsarina:
“To-day the weather is really delightfully warm. We had a fairly long walk in the fields and got into an evil-smelling swamp. Some amusing scenes occurred here, especially when Grabbe, having tucked tip his skirts, tried with all his might to pull himself out of the deep mud. You can imagine in what a charming condition we returned I Well, my love, my little bird, I must finish; it is time to dispatch the courier. We are all going to the cinematograph.”
The (English) Home Front: Following the King’s recent commitment for the Royal Household to abstain from alcohol until the war is over, some senior statesmen are struggling to follow the example set. A diarist reports “I never saw K [Kitchener, the Secrtary of State for War] so depressed. Neither the retreat at the beginning of the war or Neuve Chapelle affected his spirits as badly as 3 days on lemonade”.