Subject: Re: Tolkien and the Great War (was Re: [gurps]
Role Playing Plagues)

On Tue, 2005-11-22 at 00:05 -0800, Michael P Hopcroft wrote:

> There is no doubt that Tolkien was GREATLY influenced by his wartime
> experiences, which included service in the trenches and being exposed to
> German gas weapons. But keep in mind that in 1918 psychiatry as a
> discipline was in its infancy and there was very little understanding of
> the long-term effects of stress on the human mind. It was something that
> simply wasn't talked about, and if you had cracked under the strain
> people thought you were a weak-willed person unworthy of respect. So
> Tolkien didn't talk openly about the war very often.

Another thing to remember is that at that time there was still a culture
of silence about the horrors of war, especially in fora where women and
children might run across it. Returning soldiers tended to follow that
code of silence, partly because it was the norm and partly because there
was little point trying to talk about it those who hadn't been there
(and those who had already knew). This is one reason why books like _All
Quiet on the Western Front_ made such an impact.

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