The World War I brought with it numerous fatalities and destruction to those involved in the conflict. The German invasion of Belgium is one of the most notable moments where humanities worst characteristics were brought to the fore. The German's -who were the aggressors in the conflict- decided to deal with the inhabitants of Louvain brutally. Consequently, there was massive loss of lives. This essay highlights the first-hand experiences of a soldier and a mother who were caught up in the 1914 destruction of Belgium.
From my perspective as a soldier, we had to get stamp our authority as the most influential military in the world. The uprising from the Belgians was threatening this authority, of which we could not allow. The provocation from the Belgians took place as we were moving across their town. It was a sudden ambush characterized by gunfire, to which we responded in kind. We had anticipated such confrontation with the Belgians. In as much as Louvain was comprised predominantly of women and children, we had to execute our mission and provide an example to the world of how ruthless we were in dealing with our enemies. The villagers had to suffer for the mistakes made by the Belgian authorities. In other words, they were collateral damage in the conflict. Personally, I was proud to be representing my country in one of the most decisive moments in its history. I knew that this was the only way through which Germany could claim its spot as a world superpower. In other words, it was a military necessity towards attaining authority.
As a woman and mother, the events of August 1914 were not only shocking but also heartbreaking. The Germans had invaded our land sending panic all over the villagers; we were prepared for the worst. Reports had indicated how two days earlier the Germans had attacked Dinant village where 647 people lost their lives. In respect of this, we knew that the Germans would have attacked with the slightest provocation. The only solution was to stay indoors. However, the hope for calm and peace was short-lived. On the fateful day, I was preparing a meal when I heard cries of fire. When I went outside, I saw the villagers running out of their houses. The German soldiers had surrounded the entire vicinity; our University was on fire and gunfire was renting the air. I immediately realized that we were in grave danger. My escape was however not successful as I was shot in the stomach. I was later to learn that many of the villagers were killed during the attack. In addition to that, Louvain was burnt down with the library and the university being turned into ruins. I learned from the media that the Germans accused the villagers of having attacked its soldiers. This claim was the most absurd news I have ever heard. Having heard of how German soldiers attacked Dinant village earlier no villager with a sane mind would have wished the same to befall them. Therefore the accusation that the villagers of Louvain were being punished for attacking the soldiers was misplaced.
From the above-highlighted experiences, it is evident that the two individuals had a different perspective regarding the attack. The Belgian mother, for instance, believed that the attack was carried out with malicious objectives while the soldier thought it was the right way to show to the world the ruthlessness of the German military. This assertion is reflected in the individuals' perception of Louvain's destruction; the Belgian woman thought it was the most significant loss whereas the German soldier perceived it as defining a moment in their quest of becoming a superpower.
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