I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons. — Will Rogers

Great War - Journal #12

Death of Poilu

The Moment of Death

This image--thought to be a still from a German film about the Battle of Verdun--captures a French soldier being thrown back by the force of a bullet. He was just one of over 500,000 French casualties of the battle.

What is your first name?

What is your last name?


It has been said that during war, the difference between a hero and a fool is one well-placed bullet. What does this mean to you?
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Guy Chapman, A Passionate Prodigality: Fragments of Autobiography (1933)

One morning, while I was inspecting the rifles of the sentries on duty, I was startled, not to say alarmed, by three whizz-bangs bursting as it seemed all round my head. I heard one coming very close, caught a glimpse of it out of the tail of my eye, and at that moment slipped. I picked myself up, but before I could reach my full height, the minnie burst. A furious hot whirlwind rushed down, seized me and flung me violently back against the earth. I lay half-stunned while a rain of earth and offal pattered down on me, followed by something which whizzed viciously and stuck quivering in the trench wall; it was a piece of jagged steel eighteen inches long.

  • What was Guy Chapman doing in the front line?
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  • What is a whizz-bang? What is a minnie?
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  • Describe the artillery attack.
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