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Soldiers Describe Combat I: Eduard Schmieder (1914-1915)

The ebullient emotions in the opening months of the war quickly gave way to a longing for home. The constant fear of death plagued soldiers on the front lines. This soldier’s account of his dream is a graphic reminder of the emotional and psychological turmoil that soldiers suffered.

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Eduard Schmieder, Student of Administration, Freiburg in Breslau
Born October 10, 1890, Freiburg in Breslau
Died near Lievin, May 8, 1916

Framonville, August 23, 1914
I smoked cigars as we lay under shrapnel fire while providing artillery cover. And in those very moments I once more deeply felt all the beauty of the earth and all the happiness that I have ever experienced.

In war, one learns how beautiful, how rich, our life is, despite adversities both great and small. One is glad for every new morning, even when one knows that it also brings new troubles. After each battle, one thanks God that one is still alive; one values life so much. But we would all, all of us, sacrifice our lives gladly for our beautiful Fatherland.

La Bassee, November 2, 1914
I should like to catch a glimpse of my dear homeland at the moment when victory is being celebrated – in my joy, I would find compensation for a few days in the trenches. I can imagine how lovely it is when the sun struggles through the thick autumn mist, stretching a blue tent above our dear mountains, and the whole of nature glows once more in color and beauty before it dies. There is blissful joy in every victory won for the sake of this beautiful German land.

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