Jungers memoir also gives insights into the relationships between the soldiers and the civilians. For instance, he narrates how he went for a haircut with a fellow soldier to a local barber in the French Countryside, and the barber tells him in French to slit the throat of the German soldiers. Junger responded fluently in French and told him that he would not do it, but rather he would spare them for the barber to have the pleasure of slitting their throat. Apart from the humor, the book provides the reader with insights into the interaction between the German soldiers and the local population. After conquering a village, the Germans would do whatever necessary to keep their soldiers alive while building positive relationships with the locals. In particular, the soldiers were encouraged to engage in conversations with the locals and help grow their economy by buying from their stores and businesses.
Additionally, the author shows the reader what period the events took place by describing simple things in his life that were commonplace yet vital. For instance, ambulances were wagons pulled by horses while beddings were straws laid on the floor. Most of the things and tools used were made of wood. While the reader might find this as common knowledge, the authors descriptions demonstrate how the people at that time interacted with objects that people consider obsolete and old-fashioned in the modern day.
Although Junger provides significant insights into the context of the war, he, however, fails to demonstrate the political and social emotions to the war. Instead, he intentionally omits these occurrences from his descriptions perhaps to focus the readers attention on the sole narrative of the ordinary soldiers daily life in a war in as much as he could. Despite his narrations appearing emotionless, some emotions can be read in between the lines. For instance, the absence of his reaction after the death of his comrades could be interpreted that he is genuinely hurt or he has become accustomed to that life and embraced death as part of his life which he may soon encounter. This tendency is shared by the soldiers. They are enthusiastic and ready to fight for their motherland but frightened by the idea of death. It is only after seeing so much death that they get used to it and embrace it as part of their daily routine.
In conclusion, Jungers book Storm of Steel depicts the life of an average soldier in detail during the World War I. Although the author omits political intentions and emotions, he accurately narrates the horrors of war and the ordinary life of a German soldier on the Western Front. These descriptions not only illuminate the reader of the tactics of battle, operations of the militaries, and the life of a soldier but also provide historians with a deeper understanding of the different aspects of war.
Goldsworthy, Terry. Valhalla's Warriors: A History of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945. 96-98. Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing, 2007.
Junger, Ernst, and Michael Hofmann. Storm of Steel. 1-320. New York : Penguin Books, 2016.
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