Imperial War Museum Visit

Very soon one will be able to see an ocean of red poppies pinned to peoples attire, as November 11th is just around the corner, an English national day of grief and sorrow for all that didn’t return from war. A red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for all the lives lost  in the war.  In commemoration to that, the Imperial War Museum is hosting an exhibit about the people that took part in the war, both soldiers and peaceful citizens.

The exhibit has truly touched me, as there are many human stories to tell that are very personal that an ordinary person wouldn’t even think of.  For example the description of a Christmas when the English and German troops declared peace, and exchanged gifts, as if they’d forgotten that each other is a foe that they must shoot.  Or when innocent eight year old children wrote letters to the premier minister asking him to send them to war to fight for their country.  Another instance was when the whole country gathered donations for Christmas presents for the soldiers and the nurses, the gifts were split into three categories, soldiers who smoked got a pipe and tobacco, those who didn’t received paper and a pencil, the nurses were gifted chocolate. I find it unimaginable that these small things were taken into consideration, that each gift was special.

I also really liked the organisation of the exhibit, which was set in a chronological order, starting with soldiers who were dressed in bright red attire with big feathered hats while carrying swords, and as it moved along it showed the progression of ammunition, military and weapons (such as gas bombs). It is unbelievable that for the first time in the history of wars, died by hundreds of thousands at a time.  For instance the Somme Battlefield, where by official records, England has suffered 419,654 casualties, followed by the French with 202,567 casualties, the estimated casualties for the germans were over 500,000. Another example Battle of Jutland, which lasted over 72 hours, with a loss of 14 British ships (6,094 men) and 11 German ships (2,551 men). This truly made me understand how much all of us have lost.

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